13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly Good
Before buying the UA Collection, I had owned and appreciated "Sundown" and "Summertime Dream" for years. I was also familiar with "Gord's Gold," but had given up on pursuing Gordon Lightfoot any further when a couple of his later albums turned out to be duds.
But this collection has been something of a revelation for me. The first disc, in particular, is shockingly...
Published on March 3 2003 by Greg Cleary
3.0 out of 5 stars too bad about the sound
I love the selection and most of the songs. However, a few at the end of Disc 2 suffer from repetitive melody lines and are therefore less interesting. An informative booklet is included, which stresses the artist's Canadian-ness and yet somehow manages to misspell Ottawa! I am a big admirer of the fact that he enunciates so well, so the listener can enjoy his lyrics...
Published on April 23 2010 by Janet Mary Hilton
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly Good,
This review is from: The United Artists Collection (Audio CD)Before buying the UA Collection, I had owned and appreciated "Sundown" and "Summertime Dream" for years. I was also familiar with "Gord's Gold," but had given up on pursuing Gordon Lightfoot any further when a couple of his later albums turned out to be duds.
But this collection has been something of a revelation for me. The first disc, in particular, is shockingly good. The songs that were later re-recorded for "Gord's Gold" sound even better here, without the orchestral arrangements.
Lightfoot is a populist at heart. He has always had a good idea of which songs his fans like best, and has been willing to play them live and to include the right songs on compilations like "Gord's Gold." But no compilation can do justice to the wealth of excellent material on his first four albums, which are all included here in their entirety.
After the acoustic guitar bliss of the first disc, it is almost jarring to hear the fuller arrangements on the "Did She Mention My Name" album, which begins disc two. However, this album does come into its own after a few listens. "Black Day in July," which is about the Detroit riots of 1967, suffers a bit from its negative use of the word "black" in the title, which now sounds outdated in the context of a song about race riots. But allowing for that, the song still has an urgency and power that make it one of Lightfoot's more memorable songs. And the use of orchestration on this album seems to have inspired Lightfoot--always one of the most melodic folk singers--to take his melodies to new places. "Does Your Mother Know," in particular, sounds almost as if it would have fit in on "Sundown."
The fourth album included in the UA Collection, "Back Here on Earth," is a return to the simpler arrangements of the first two. According to the liner notes, the songs on this album were written and recorded quickly, and perhaps for that reason they are somewhat lacking in variety, but they are still solid. "Long Thin Dawn," "The Circle Is Small," and "The Gypsy" are favorites of mine.
Because these four albums fill up two discs so neatly, there are no "bonus" tracks, which is great. I, for one, have been bonus tracked to death, and I'm glad not to have any here.
The booklet is very good. It includes some photos, an essay that summarizes this part of Lightfoot's career, and summaries of all four albums, including the instrumental credits and small pictures of the album covers.
What is there not to like about this collection? I suppose Gord can be a little corny at times, with his descriptions of the great Canadian wilderness and the occasional "cute" song like "Go-Go Round" or "May I." But this goes with the territory, and songs that sound corny at first sometimes turn out to be favorites.
If you are a Lightfoot fan, you owe it to yourself to buy this first-rate collection, and if you're just getting interested in Lightfoot, this would be an excellent place to start.
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect birthday gift!,
This review is from: The United Artists Collection (Audio CD)Got this album for one of my close friend's birthday after a lot of hunting. She loved it!! Thanks Amazon for carrying this collection. Its been a pleasure doing business with you folks..!
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Album,
This review is from: The United Artists Collection (Audio CD)Very good collection of his songs. I saw him in concert not long ago, and although he is still good, his voice is not as strong as it used to be. Is nice to hear all these old songs.
5.0 out of 5 stars This CD is a reminder of how great he truly was as a beautiful singer and amazing songwriter!,
This review is from: The United Artists Collection (Audio CD)When you listen to this CD you realize he wrote and recorded so many brilliant songs that got lost or forgotten over time by the attention paid only to his singles . It's a double-edged sword: sometimes by putting the spotlight on a few singles, the inference is that the others on the album were not good enough which, in Lightfoot's case, simply wasn't true. EVERY cut on each of the albums this CD draws from could have been a hit by anyone's standards, but they would have had to release EVERY song as a single in the '60's, and they didn't do that with even the Beatles albums [tho they came close!] In other words, if you didn't know Lightfoot's early work very well, by the quality of each of these songs, you'd swear this was a huge "best of" CD, but it isn't - EVERY song here is a genuine work of art! And to think, in those days, he used to write a song a day, but we only got to hear what HE thought was his best! It would have been great to be a fly on his wall back then when he was writing, judging by the calibre of these masterpieces!
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Day at UA,
This review is from: The United Artists Collection (Audio CD)This was a very welcome addition to Lightfoot's CD selection as it contains all of his 5 LP's for United Artists between 1966 and 1969, something that was much needed in my collection. But why oh why didn't they include two of his UA 45 RPM hits "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" and "Spin, Spin"? CD's get bonus tracks all the time. In my experience most are a waste of time but these actually were hits, in Canada at least. I don't get it.
5.0 out of 5 stars the best work ever recorded by Gordon Lightfoot,
This review is from: The United Artists Collection (Audio CD)This is a terrific collection of Gordon Lightfoot. To me, the wonderful guitar work and songs make this the best work of his career (along with "If You Could Read My Mind"). These early recordings have a very special, almost magical quality about them.
There are a few songs (mainly on the second CD) that are a little weaker than the others; so it is not totally consistent. But there is a lot of music here (4 albums) and overall it is very, very good.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best songsmith ever,
This review is from: The United Artists Collection (Audio CD)My musical tastes have changed alot over the years but I have always apreciated great songs. You could spend a fortune and not have a better compilation of songs than this two cd set. This is early Lightfoot,with bare recording techniques that strip away the layers of pop overproduction and leave just a Man and his wonderful music. Lightfoot was obviously younger here and his songs reflect that. from lost loves to social injustice, boredom and restlessness, Lightfoots songwriting skills combined with beautiful guitar work and his rich baritone create a listening experience I have never equalled on any cd. Just listen. What a treasure, and what an underappreciated musical talent.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC AND SURPRISING,
This review is from: The United Artists Collection (Audio CD)I've been a Gordon Lightfoot since 1970 when his company released "If You Could Read My Mind." I was amazed at the lyrics, the singing and the tune. Naturally, since then, I have bought nearly all of his recordings both on LP and CD as well as cassette. When this 2-CD set came along, I bought it even though I know most of the songs. Well, I was so pleasantly surprised! In addition to the songs I know, which are gems, there are several songs which were not familiar to me such as "Poor Man's Spiritual," The Pride of Man" and "Oh, Linda" that are wonderful! And the 2nd version of "The Way I Feel," with its rich instrumentation, is a revelation. Naturally, being as prolific a singer-songwriter as he is, not all of Gordon's songs are in ths compilation; such gems as "Approaching Lavender," "Ballad of Yarmouth Castle," "If You Could Read My Mind" and "Poor Little Alison" are not included - I believe they were released under another label, as was "Beautiful," "Brave Mountaineers," "Don Quixote," "Miguel," "On Susan's Floor," "Same Old Obsession," "Second Cup of Coffee" and
"Talking in Your Sleep"or these songs came later. No matter; I can only think we have something more to look forward to. I think Gordon is the only artist who can release old songs repeatedly and still have them sound as fresh as the day they were released initially.
If the definition of a classic (song in this case) is something you can listen to repeatedly and still hear something new and/or still derive intense pleasure from it, then this CD fits the bill. I never tire of hearing my favorites, "Something Very Special," "Does Your Mother Know" and the quintessential classic, "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." If Gordon gives a concert without singing that song, then it's almost as if he didn't sing at all. Maybe "Edmund Fitzgerald" was his greatest (most well-known, most popular) song and it is a magnificent achievement but, to me, it doesn't hold a candle to "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." And much of his later work cannot compare to the songs he did when he was first starting out. I'm so glad he has decided to re-release these songs. This 2 CD set is an absolute must for anyone who loves Gordon Lightfoot or who wants a pleasant (and clean) alternative to the JUNK being put out today.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Heaven!,
This review is from: The United Artists Collection (Audio CD)I just recently started getting into more of Gordon Lightfoot's music, beyond his songs that got airplay in the 70's and 80's. I purchased this CD set at the suggestion of many reviewers here on Amazon.com and received it a couple of weeks ago. I'm just sorry I wasn't aware of its existence before now.
Along with what I'm sure were several million other people, my first exposure to Gordon's music was "If You Could Read My Mind", a song I have always loved. I was totally unprepared for the treasure trove of songs in this collection. A few that I particularly like (so far) include a beautifully simple (and simply beautiful) cover of Phil Ochs' "Changes", "Softly", "I'm Not Sayin'", "For Lovin' Me", "Walls", "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" (a much better original version than what was re-recorded for the "Gord's Gold" album) -- I could go on forever. My VERY favorite (and one of the best songs ever written by anyone) is "The Last Time I Saw Her". What a masterpiece! The incredible combination of Gordon's beautiful voice, lyrics and accompanying instruments on that particular song is unparalleled. (It also reduces me to a weepy pile of mush!)
Speaking of Gordon's voice, I was pleasantly shocked to discover how good it was in the 60's. I never realized that he had such a strong, rich baritone voice in his youth because it had probably started deteriorating in the 70's, due to the ravages of time and other contributing factors. What a shame.
To sum it up, I would say run, don't walk, to buy this collection. If the ratings system allowed more than five stars, I would grant them in a heartbeat!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is it: Gordon at his best,
By A Customer
This review is from: The United Artists Collection (Audio CD)I own all of Gordon Lightfoot's albums except the two "Gord's Gold" collections. As far as I am concerned, he is one of the best songwriters ever, but he did his best work early in his career. This two-CD set compiles his first four United Artists albums. I picked this up at a record store a few years ago, for twice the price for which it's offered here. What a steal to have all this music for only $12.00. The songs in this collection have been repackaged at least a dozen times over the years; some of those compilations are available here at amazon.com. But they are not complete; they contain only a few songs from the first four albums. Here, you get them all. And if you listen to all of them in one sitting (2 1/2 hours!), you will hear one of the most stunning collections of contemporary songs you'll find in one place. Where to begin to describe the effect of listening to this music? The acoustic material that opens disc one includes performances of stark beauty: his covers of Phil Ochs' "Changes" and Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" come quickly to mind. Then there are early classics like "Canadian Railroad Trilogy," "Softly,", and "Song for a Winter's Night." (The first time I heard that one was on the radio on Christmas Eve!) Disc two begins with the "Did She Mention My Name?" album. Lightfoot performs with full orchestration on these songs, and the results will send chills down your spine. If you have never heard "The Last Time I Saw Her," one of the greatest songs he has ever written, and can relate at all to its story of love lost, by the end of its five minutes you will be reduced to a helpless mass of tears. Lightfoot's early career comes full circle on the second half of disc two, when he returns to acoustic music for the album "Back Here on Earth." If you don't know Gordon Lightfoot, this is as good a place to start learning about his music as any. If you do, and somehow don't own this yet, for heaven's sake buy it before they wise up and raise the price. I've seen Gordon in concert several times and nothing pleases me more than when he performs one of these early songs. Each is a small gem; the effect of hearing all of them in succession is staggering. Gordon Lightfoot: great songwriter and international treasure. Five stars.
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