Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Summer Side of Life
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
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Lightfoot Reaches His Peak
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 12/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As Gordon Lightfoot's fame grew, his music evolved and gradually reached its peak with Summer Side of Life and its follow-up smash, Don Quixote. This is one of his most country albums, not Nashville country, but a refreshingly different sound that is infused with a Canadian perspective. Lightfoot's ballads definitely do not reek of urban sensibilities but speak to that which is inbred in many of us who are most alive when in a natural setting. Back in the 60s and 70s many free spirits hitch-hiked around the continent so we can relate to songs like Cabaret and 10 Degrees and Getting Colder. You can hear Lightfoot's love of nature in Redwood Hill, you can hear his concern for his fellows in Miguel and concern for his country in Nous Vivons Ensemble. His romantic side and his knack for wordplay are apparent in Talking in Your Sleep and Love and Maple Syrup. A mild chauvinism springs forth in Go My Way and finally, he shows a different side to country music on Same Old Loverman and Cotton Jenny. As balladeers go, Lightfoot has few peers. Every song will spark a frisson of delight as you listen to his masterful lyrics spin tale after tale. No Lightfoot "desert island" compilation would be complete without this one right near the top of the list."
One of the best of the best
Kurt Harding | 06/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every year from 1970 through 1976, Gordon Lightfoot released a string of superlative albums. This is one of the best of them, as well as being one of the most unusual.For a start, it was recorded in Nashville. Along with his always-excellent touring musicians Red Shea (lead guitar) and Rick Haynes (bass), Lightfoot is joined by many of the top Nashville musicians from that era. Thus, all of the songs have a much different sound that what you may be accustomed to.Additionally, this album features some unusually-structured compositions for Lightfoot, as well as some chord movements that don't often crop up elsewhere in his (considerable) body of work.Produced by Joe Wissert and released in 1971, Summer Side of Life is filled to the brim with great songs. It starts off with "10 Degrees and Getting Colder," and you may think "Well, this is pretty much what I expected from Lightfoot," in terms of the arrangement. But suddenly the haunting story-song "Miguel" begins, and you realize you're into a whole new area. Filled with some nifty chord changes and some exquisite lead guitar work courtesy of Red Shea, the song is among the (many) unsung Lightfoot classics. The title track is a brilliant study of the young men being drawn into the vortex of Vietnam, with instrumentation and choral work you won't find on any other Lightfoot recording. The perennial favorite "Cotton Jenny" makes its debut on the album; other highlights include "Nous Vivons Ensemble" (half of which is sung in French), the somewhat Elvis-y "Same Old Loverman" (the album doesn't detail individual credits for the musicians, but I would assume that's Junior Husky supplying the fabulous acoustic bass work on the track), "Love and Maple Syrup" (again an unusual arrangement), and one of my favorite Lightfoot tracks of all: "Cabaret." This song is actual two songs put together--at first listen you may not think they have much to do with one another. But the two songs actually are thematically connected: From "sounds of laughter on ladies gay" in the misty past(bringing to mind Tolouse La-Trec posters) to the stark realism of the present ("sitting in a roadside diner"), the song cleverly presents a different twist on the hackneyed phrase "life is cabaret."Summer Side of Life represents Gordon Lightfoot at the height of his powers. Don't miss this one."
An overlooked album in the Lightfoot catalog
Kurt Harding | 07/28/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Released shortly after "If You Could Read My Mind," "Summer Side of Life" produced no hits of the caliber of that record's title song. But there are gems here, like "10 Degrees and Getting Colder" and "Go My Way," both of which have been covered by other artists; "Cotton Jenny," a fan favorite at his live shows; and the strange but haunting "Cabaret," which sounds like two songs that meld into one effortless whole. However, the record's narrative masterstroke is "Miguel," which, without preaching or politicizing, encapsulates the terrible dilemma of an illegal alien who finds himself in trouble with the law. "Summer Side of Life" is the work of a mature and gifted songwriter, and if you are a Lightfoot fan and have never heard it, you are missing a small gem in your CD collection."