Songbook [Box Set]

Songbook [Box Set]

5.0 4
by Gordon Lightfoot
"A Painter Passing Through" is the title of the last and most recently recorded track on this retrospective of Gordon Lightfoot's career. And this lavish four-disc set makes the point again and again over 66 tracks: His is the work of a musician with a painter's eye for both detail and scope. The roughly chronological collection opens with two early '60s cuts on which


"A Painter Passing Through" is the title of the last and most recently recorded track on this retrospective of Gordon Lightfoot's career. And this lavish four-disc set makes the point again and again over 66 tracks: His is the work of a musician with a painter's eye for both detail and scope. The roughly chronological collection opens with two early '60s cuts on which Lightfoot sounds like a cross between Jim Reeves and Marty Robbins. He joined the folk revival soon after (under the influence of Ian & Sylvia and Bob Dylan), and hits including "Early Morning Rain," "Steel Rail Blues," and "For Lovin' Me" are here, blending history and human emotion, especially on the epic "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." Disc two examines Lightfoot's main themes: love gone wrong in "If You Could Read My Mind," observations of a traveler in "Ten Degrees and Getting Colder," the working life in "Cotton Jenny," the natural world in "Ode to Big Blue," and his native Canada's landscape in "Alberta Bound." At the height of his popular success, Lightfoot achieved a sinuous blend of the personal with folkier themes in songs like 1974's masterful description of sexual tension and infidelity, "Sundown"; "Carefree Highway," a song which combines the traveling life and unrequited love; and the evocative vignette of love and landscape "Seven Island Suite." His later work couldn't match their popularity, but his happier perspectives on love ("I'll Prove My Love," "Romance") and changes in life ("East of Midnight," "Morning Glory"), and that wonderful painter's view, show that Lightfoot's indispensable catalogue is still growing.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Gordon Lightfoot's Songbook is a career-spanning, four-CD, 88-song box set with a pretty chronologically even balance of material from the mid-'60s through 1998. It also has 15 previously unreleased cuts, as well as his 1962 debut single, "(Remember Me) I'm the One"/"It's Too Late, He Wins" (which is lame MOR Nashville country). One could quibble with the song selection ("Black Day in July" is missing, for instance) and the relatively light attention to his 1960s work (which is limited to disc one); an opportunity was also missed to include a rarity by excluding his mid-'60s single of Bob Dylan's "Just Like Tom Thumb Blues." But generally it's a representative sampling of his most meaningful, or commercially successful, recordings. As for the previously unreleased songs, it's a tribute to Lightfoot's consistency that these don't sound out of step with the rest of the program, but also true that none of these are particularly exceptional or interesting. The following is true of so many box sets of this type that it feels like a cliché to point this out once again, but by giving equal space to various phases of his career, the music starts to go downhill steeply at around the middle of disc three, marking Lightfoot's descent (more graceful than some) into adult contemporary office music. There are extensive liner notes in the enclosed hardbound book, along with comments on each song by Lightfoot himself. Unless you're a Lightfoot obsessive, though, The United Artists Collection (with the bulk of his 1960s recordings) and Gord's Gold will cover just about everything you would want.

Product Details

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Disc 1

  1. (Remember Me) I'm the One
  2. It's Too Late, He Wins
  3. For Lovin' Me
  4. Early Morning Rain
  5. The Way I Feel
  6. Steel Rail Blues
  7. A Message to the Wind
  8. Song for a Winter's Night
  9. Canadian Railroad Trilogy
  10. Go-Go Round
  11. Crossroads
  12. You'll Still Be Needing Me
  13. The Mountains and Maryann
  14. The Last Time I Saw Her
  15. Did She Mention My Name
  16. Pussywillows, Cat-Tails
  17. Boss Man
  18. Something Very Special
  19. Bitter Green
  20. Affair on 8th Avenue
  21. Medley: I'm Not Sayin'/Ribbon of Darkness
  22. Softly
  23. Mama Said
  24. Station Master

Disc 2

  1. Sit Down Young Stranger
  2. If You Could Read My Mind
  3. Poor Little Allison
  4. The Pony Man
  5. Cobwebs & Dust
  6. Too Much to Lose
  7. Summer Side of Life
  8. Cotton Jenny
  9. 10 Degrees & Getting Colder
  10. Nous Vivons Ensemble
  11. Same Old Loverman
  12. Heaven Don't Deserve Me
  13. Don Quixote
  14. Alberta Bound
  15. Beautiful
  16. Ode to Big Blue
  17. Stone Cold Sober
  18. Old Dan's Records
  19. That Same Old Obsession
  20. Lazy Mornin'
  21. Hi'way Songs
  22. Can't Depend on Love

Disc 3

  1. Sundown
  2. Carefree Highway
  3. Seven Island Suite
  4. Borderstone
  5. Cold on the Shoulder
  6. Now and Then
  7. Rainy Day People
  8. Fine as Fine Can Be
  9. All the Lovely Ladies
  10. Summertime Dream
  11. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
  12. Never Too Close
  13. Betty Called Me In
  14. Endless Wire
  15. The Circle Is Small
  16. Sea of Tranquility
  17. Make Way for the Lady
  18. Dream Street Rose
  19. Ghosts of Cape Horn
  20. Keepin' on Yearnin'
  21. Canary Yellow Canoe

Disc 4

  1. Shadows
  2. She's Not the Same
  3. 14 Karat Gold
  4. Baby Step Back
  5. In My Fashion
  6. Never Say Trust Me
  7. Why Should I Feel Blue
  8. Someone to Believe In
  9. Romance
  10. Broken Dreams
  11. Always on the Bright Side
  12. Forgive Me Lord
  13. Lifeline
  14. East of Midnight
  15. Morning Glory
  16. A Lesson in Love
  17. A Passing Ship
  18. Waiting for You
  19. Drink Yer Glasses Empty
  20. I'll Prove My Love
  21. A Painter Passing Through

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gordon Lightfoot   Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Floyd Cramer   Piano
David Rea   Guitar
Ry Cooder   Mandolin
Van Dyke Parks   Harmonium
Vesta   Background Vocals
Victor Feldman   Percussion
James Newton Howard   Synthesizer,Keyboards
David Foster   Keyboards
Grady Martin   Guitar
Doug Riley   Piano,Keyboards,Electric Piano
Jim Gordon   Percussion,Drums
Anita Kerr Singers   Background Vocals
Bruce Bromberg   Autoharp
Robbie Buchanan   Synthesizer
Kenny Buttrey   Percussion,Drums
Lenny Castro   Percussion
Pee Wee Charles   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar
Chip Young   Guitar
Mitchell Clarke   Bassoon
Vassar Clements   Fiddle
Terry Clements   Guitar
Nick DeCaro   Piano,Accordion,Concertina
Bill Dillon   Guitar
Bob Doidge   Percussion,Background Vocals
Vern Dorge   Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Michael Francis   Guitar
Bob Glaub   Bass
Bruce Good   Autoharp
Larry Good   Banjo
Buddy Harman   Drums
Hoyt Hawkins   Background Vocals
Hadley Hockensmith   Bass
Mike Heffernan   Piano,Keyboards,Electric Piano
Milt Holland   Percussion
Roy M. "Junior" Husky   Bass
Jim Isbell   Drums
Sheree Jeacocke   Background Vocals
Barry Keane   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Hand Drums
Millie Kirkham   Background Vocals
Michael Landau   Guitar
Bruce Langhorne   Guitar
Daniel Lanois   Guitar
Bill Lee   Bass
Herb Lovelle   Drums
Bob Mann   Guitar
Gene Martynec   Moog Synthesizer
Richard Marx   Background Vocals
Neal Matthews   Background Vocals
Hugh McCracken   Guitar
Suzie McCune   Background Vocals
Laverna Moore   Background Vocals
Farrell Morris   Percussion
Michael Omartian   Synthesizer,Accordion,fender rhodes
Dean Parks   Guitar
Herb Pedersen   Banjo,Background Vocals
Dennis Pendrith   Bass
Lou Pomanti   Organ
Norbert Putnam   Bass
Hargus "Pig" Robbins   Piano
James Rolleston   Bass
Red Shea   Guitar
Jerry Shook   Guitar
Catherine Smith   Background Vocals
John Stockfish   Bass
Gordon Stoker   Background Vocals
Henry Strzelecki   Bass
Tom Szczesniak   Bass,Keyboards
Jackie Ward   Background Vocals
Jack Zaza   Harmonica,Bass Clarinet,Alto Flute,Harmonium,English Horn,Recorder,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Gayle Levant   Harp
Charlie McCoy   Organ,Guitar,Harmonica,Celeste,Bells
Wendell Ferguson   Guitar
Ray C. Walker   Background Vocals
Doug Johnson   Pedal Steel Guitar
Rick Haynes   Bass
John Lewis   Guitar
David Brown   Percussion
Lisa Winn   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Gordon Lightfoot   Producer
Doug Riley   String Arrangements
John Simon   Producer,String Arrangements
John Court   Producer
Nick DeCaro   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Bob Doidge   Producer
Elliot Mazer   Producer
Dean Parks   String Arrangements
Russ Titelman   Producer
Lenny Waronker   Producer
Joseph Wissert   Producer
Bob Thompson   String Arrangements
Nicholas Jennings   Liner Notes
Thane Tierney   Liner Notes

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Songbook [Box Set] 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not be happier that I added this cd to my collection of
Gordon Lightfoot music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first picked up the Songbook box set, my expectations were not high. It appeared to duplicate most of the selections from ''Gord's Gold'' and other ''best of'' albums, and I doubted whether the more obscure songs would be any good. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The ''duplicate'' songs were actually earlier original versions of those that had been re-recorded for ''Gord's Gold'' and, in my estimation, these were MUCH better. Original cuts of Did She Mention My Name, Steel Rail Blues, For Lovin' Me, etc. are great and fun to listen to. Furthermore, the more obscure songs are EXCELLENT! I love Go Go Round, Seven Island Suite, Station Master (prev. unreleased), Boss Man, and many more. Unlike with other artists' box sets, I'm never inclined to skip a track. The liner notes, booklet and photos are very enjoyable as well. My only disappointments: the set did not include Movin', a song Gord wrote for the Canadian National Railroad historical documentary, and Race Among the Ruins (the Edmund Fitzgerald B-side). Oh well, can't have it all... If you could wear out a CD by over-playing it, I'd have worn out this box set by now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first heard Gordon Lightfoot while serving with the U S Army at Can Tho, Viet Nam, on the Mecong River in December, 1971. His work is like eating lotus: powerful, addicting, can not get enough. The melodies, rhythms, and lyrics virtually always produce images for the listener, (like poetry), the sum of which unleashes the imagination and is therapeutic for the troubled. Plus, his 12-string guitar is always in tune. Tom Bauer, Hutchinson, Kansas
Anonymous More than 1 year ago