Artist – Gordon Lightfoot
Album – Sundown
Released – February 1974
Label – Reprise
Producer – Lenny Waronker
Lightfoot made number 1 with the Sundown single but the album is where he really shines.
Gordon Lightfoot’s magic lies in his ability to take folk music elements to push into the popular music charts. Sundown, his most commercially successful album is an excellent piece of work in that each song is easy to listen to yet have such a deep purpose.
Lightfoot’s voice takes away the importance of the lyrics, he sings with a creamy smoothness that you wonder if he really is worried in ‘Sundown.’ His talent with the guitar creates interesting listening and again, takes away the meaning of some of the songs. Yet, even though this may be incidental, it is the genius of Lightfoot, as some audiences will simply like the music where others will appreciate the story behind.
From the start of the album, Lightfoot sets the tone appropriately with ‘Somewhere In U.S.A’ and ‘High and Dry’ with instant appeal they are snappy tunes that are on level with the title song.
Lightfoot mellows it down with ‘Seven Island Suite’ and ‘Circle of Steel’ both tracks share an impassioned Lightfoot bringing forward more meaningful song writing.
The second side of the LP is where Lightfoot really excels, ‘The Watchman’s Gone’ is an underestimated track with rugged texture. ‘Sundown’ and ‘Carefree Highway’ follow, the foundation of the album and the two highlight songs. Both of which show Lightfoot’s expertise in turning folk into pop.
The gem of the album is the closing track ‘Too Late For Prayin” with its melancholic theme it sparks contemplation and is a graceful, poetic way to finish.
Today, not many opt for the 12-string acoustic like Lightfoot has, although not present on all songs, it serves as a reminder what beautiful sound can be achieved. This album serves as lesson to all musicians to be versatile with the instruments that you use and be able to use them in many ways. That way, there is the possibility create a sound unique to yourself just like Lightfoot has done. To the everyday listener, Sundown is a great album to listen to on the couch, in the car or wherever you like to relax.
- Somewhere U.S.A
- High and Dry
- Seven Island Suite
- Circle of Steel
- Is There Anyone Home
- The Watchman’s Gone
- Carefree Highway
- The List
- Too Late for Prayin’