Gordon Lightfoot

Something weird happened in my head over a quiet weekend. I put on the radio hoping to get news or weather, instead got Gordon Lightfoot singing “Black Day in July”.

You can find a version of the lyrics here.

This particular sentence touched a nerve: why can’t we live in peace
But the hands of the the have-nots keep falling out of reach

So, back in 1968 Lightfoot understood about the 99 percent and the one percent, or one-tenth of a percent, and inequality.

This is the same Lightfoot that brought us the Canadian Railroad Trilogy. I heard this a very long time ago, in Yorkdale, when there were coffee shops and cheap lodgings in that area. It was in Riverboat, a basement-of-house location, a small room. With Lightfood were, as I recall, Red Shea and I think ?Brian? Stockfish. (I feel really dumb not being sure of this, as the latter’s grandfather actually gave me a couple of guitar lessons. I should remember the name, eh?)

Apparently the Trilogy was commissioned. I heard it for the first time live. I was particularly impressed by the neatness of its conclusion. Lightfoot owned the room.

So, hats off to Gordon Lightfoot: championing the creation of Canada, and about two years later, lamenting the destructive elements eating away at North American society. And that’s just two of his songs.

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