Album Reviews


Gordon Lightfoot

Endless Wire

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As a rock star. Gordon Lightfoot has always been a cross between an Ambassador Scotch ad and Martin Mull without humor. Even on his interesting early albums, you feel he doesn't really know why he's singing because his music has no urgency. At his best. Lightfoot's a stodgy romantic, and his perfectly modulated baritone, while invariably pleasant, isn't exactly the most expressive vocal tool in the world. The man is just too tasteful ever to be passionate.

Endless Wire. Lightfoot's latest LP, lacks even the minor virtues that used to make him bearable. If there's nothing here as portentous as the interminable "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," there's also not a single song as catchy as "Sundown" or as inventive as "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." The title cut does build up some tension, but most of the other songs sound curiously lackluster and perfunctory. The melodies recycle old Lightfoot tunes that were never very interesting to begin with, and Lightfoot himself has never sung with less conviction.

It's as if he realized he didn't have a single worthwhile idea, but went ahead and cranked out an album anyway. The playing is dull, as only impeccable session playing can be dull, and when the musicians try to get raunchy ("Hangdog Hotel Room"), they just seem anemic. Lightfoot, stuck with lyrics like "But the kinda gig I can really dig," sounds like nothing more than an accountant on a binge.

Gordon Lightfoot's central problem remains an inability to dramatize emotions convincingly on record. He's got sensibilities but can't express them. That doesn't matter so much when he manages to be entertaining. This time he doesn't. (RS 260)


(Posted: Mar 9, 1978) Icon Photo Add to   digg Photo DiggThis  




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