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Rhino Hi-Five: Gordon Lightfoot - EP

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With only an acoustic guitar, an earnest rhythm section, and a cocksure baritone, Gordon Lightfoot sounded manlier than any leather-clad rocker toting a Les Paul and Marshall Stack combo. His 1974 household hit “Sundown” opens this Rhino Hi-Five EP. Once you get under its catchiness, this song's brilliance thrives in the contrast between its playful, sing-along melody and shadowy lyrics (which purportedly mused on Lightfoot’s ex-girlfriend). “If You Could Read My Mind," with a subtly lush string accompaniment, follows and swells under Lightfoot’s emotional restraint. The similarly arranged “Beautiful” is lighter; without succumbing to building pedestals or other clichéd fawning, Lightfoot’s lyrics touch on what it’s really like to fall in love with a friend. “Carefree Highway” is another distinguished hit, where Lightfoot ingeniously personifies the road with lyrics meditating on an old flame as he digs through old memories to find some semblance of closure. The EP closes with “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” a folky epic that Lightfoot champions as his best work.


Born: 17 November 1938 in Orillia, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the leading singer/songwriters of the 1960s and '70s, Gordon Lightfoot was Canada's most successful contemporary folk artist, establishing himself as an important songwriter in the mid-'60s and going on to become a major international recording star in the following decade. Lightfoot's songs are literate but down to earth, and deal with personal matters as well as global issues in a manner that's poetic yet accessible, and his rich, strong voice is a superb vehicle for his material, though...
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