I was surfing on Amazon the other day and hit a documentary on Gordon Lightfoot.
When I hear songs and lyrics, and learn what they were about and why they were written, they stick. And this dude has many over a very long career.
Boss Man Boss Man what do ya say
I gotta get you alone in the mine some day
Boss Man Boss Man turn it around
If you don’t look away how can I sit down
Look at this load upon my back
Gotta get this wheel back on the track
I can’t hold on but I can’t let go
And I can’t say yes I can’t say ‘no’…
Boss Man, Boss Man what do ya say
If you can’t lend a hand then get outta my way
It’ll be murder in the first degree
If you ever lay your hands on me
Boss Man Boss Man pay my rent
A dollar I’ve earned is a dollar I’ve spent
The company plan takes all my check
For breakin’ my back and riskin’ my neck…
Wow. I can’t find any live video of that. But the song is amazing and sings to my Irish roots.
This song is about leaving his wife.
If you could read my mind, love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie
‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
You know that ghost is me
And I will never be set free
As long as I am a ghost, you can’t see
If I could read your mind, love
What a tale your thoughts could tell
Just like a paperback novel
The kind the drugstore sells
When you reach the part where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
But heroes often fail
And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s just too hard to take
The kids today could drink soy lattes until they float and never come up with lyrics like that. Think about it. How many today would understand being flogged at work and having to support a family? How many could articulate the hurt of the tingles in a relationship going missing?
Can the lightweight woke idiots today even craft lyrics like this?
Can they even have the thoughts in their thick heads to start?
I loved seeing the cool old guitars. They showed all the stars aping his songs back in the day. Glen Campbell and some other dude were using Ovation Hollow body electric guitars. I’ve never seen one in the wild. And they were singing his tunes doing it.
At some point they showed him in his lair, and he added water to a humidifier for the guitars – He wants to hear the wood, not the steel – so true. They are living. When they dry out they get twangy. I have sponge type devices for mine. I’ve had more than one go weird and steely. And his look ancient and priceless.
To be fair, he has some very old cool guitars. You have to take care of them, they aren’t made like that whatsoever any more.
Another cool thing, he was watching an old video of him and thinks…Wow! he played great, can’t do it now. I’m that way too. My shoulder barks, my fingers are stiff. I don’t play anywhere near as good as I used to.
I downloaded a few songs from his last live album. Dude was like 70 something. His voice has lost it’s deep timbre and it’s a little tinny. For whatever reason, that adds to his ballads immeasurably. And in the associated live video, He’s picking a 12-string. Old as he is, his hands must be like rocks. Grip like a beast. As a dude that builds and fixes guitars, I can tell you a 12 string has nearly double the tension on the strings. It’s immensely tough to finger pick them. Yet, here’s my man, at 70+ making that 12 string Gibson Hummingbird absolutely sing. I don’t think you can even find one of those guitars any more at any price.
On the special, Dude drives out to show everyone around. He’s driving a Chevy Monte Carlo. Wow. The other car in the background is a Corolla. True, he has a coterie of hangers on he funds. He admitted as such. Mostly ex- wives, god bless’im.
Homey was chatting on the video and took a drag on a butt. He’s 80 in the video and still going. Some of his songs like Sundown and If you could read my mind where him vocalizing his pain. Brings tears to my eyes listening now. Sundown was written over a heartless gold digging groupie that screwed him. Same woman shot a speedball into John Belushi and kilt him.
I’m American. I’ve enjoyed his tunes here and there, but knew nothing of the whole story, not being Canadian. Apparently, he’s an icon. FFS, he had Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of RUSH singing his praises.
Very cool stuff. If you are an Amazon fool like me, you need to see this documentary.