11 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Initially released as Sit Down Young Stranger, this album was re-titled when “If You Could Read My Mind” became a sizable radio hit. Lightfoot’s presence as a Canadian folk-singing songwriter was well known in musical circles, but this album began the subtle transition into one of the biggest stars of the ‘70s soft-rock era. Lightfoot takes on Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” with notably less histrionics than Janis Joplin. “Minstrel of the Dawn,” with a string arrangement from Randy Newman, is an elegant and stately classic. The country flow of “Saturday Clothes” and the simple elliptical folk sway of “Cobwebs & Dust” are easily overlooked, sandwiched in between the better-known works. Much of the album is recorded as a simple trio, augmented in strategic spots by Ry Cooder on mandolin, John Sebastian on autoharp and Van Dyke Parks on harmonium. Like James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James, Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, Carole King’s Tapestry and Joni Mitchell’s Blue, If You Could Read My Mind belongs to and transcends its time and place to become an ageless classic.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Initially released as Sit Down Young Stranger, this album was re-titled when “If You Could Read My Mind” became a sizable radio hit. Lightfoot’s presence as a Canadian folk-singing songwriter was well known in musical circles, but this album began the subtle transition into one of the biggest stars of the ‘70s soft-rock era. Lightfoot takes on Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” with notably less histrionics than Janis Joplin. “Minstrel of the Dawn,” with a string arrangement from Randy Newman, is an elegant and stately classic. The country flow of “Saturday Clothes” and the simple elliptical folk sway of “Cobwebs & Dust” are easily overlooked, sandwiched in between the better-known works. Much of the album is recorded as a simple trio, augmented in strategic spots by Ry Cooder on mandolin, John Sebastian on autoharp and Van Dyke Parks on harmonium. Like James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James, Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, Carole King’s Tapestry and Joni Mitchell’s Blue, If You Could Read My Mind belongs to and transcends its time and place to become an ageless classic.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
47 Ratings
47 Ratings
Kennatt ,

In My Veins

I have listened to this album since I was 11 years old. I am near 60 now. This music is in my veins, so I am probably not the most objective reviewer. The sentiments are simple, but the songs are powerful, even after all these years. Gord has the best version of Me and Bobby McGee here, next to K. K.'s, of course.

Abintuc and Loggie ,

Hauntingly beautiful

The same song on YouTube has a much more enhanced string arrangement and harmony brought out in the mix.
Not sure which has been doctored up.
Still one of the most heart wrenching works from the best era in music ever.
Even better when the string section is more pronounced.

Nashville Steam ,

If You Could Read My Mind Album

Such a wonderful collection of terrific songs. 'Your Loves Return' is so beautifully romantic, as is 'If You Could Read My Mind'. The entire album is so wonderful. Songs as this are hard pressed to find these days, so soak them up and enjoy!

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