on April 4, 2003
There has been a lot of complaining about many of the songs on this re-recorded versions of earlier hits. I cannot say that I particularly care that much. As a novice Lightfoot listener, I can only say that to me the songs are still engaging and most enjoyable. For those who only know Lightfoot via 2 or 3 hit songs, this is a good exposure to his work.
Purists will quibble about the newer version, but they need to remember that an artist is entitled to re-interpret his own work. It is not as though this music is engraved in stone, for crying out lot. My own field of expertise is classical music, and could cite more examples than one could stand of artists re-recording works more than once. Adrian Boult, for example, premiered Gustav Holst's work "The Planets," and first recorded portions of the work in 1917. He then proceeded to record "The Planets" at least another 6 times over the next 60 years, the last recording coming in 1978 when Boult was nearing 90. The result is a wonderfully nuanced recording reflecting a lifetime's experience.
What is the point of this rambling digression? Music is not static. An artist should not be castigated for re-exploring earlier works, just because that is what you remember from when you were younger. Enjoy the earlier recordings for what they are, but enjoy the newer recordings on their own merits. Since I am not intimately familiar with Lightfoot's recordings, I am not burdened by preconceived notions of how the various songs should sound.
Just enjoy the CD for what it is.
on July 22, 2001
Although many highlights of his 80's albums are in their original versions and has a great song called "If It Should Please You" available nowhere else, everything else, including "Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald" is all re-recorded and the remakes are not good at that. You are better off getting the "Songbook" boxed set or the original albums for what you would be buying this for. If It weren't for the highlights of the 80's albums and the new track, this would rate 1 star, but since the 1980's original recordings are well chosen and "If It Should Please You" is a decent song, I give it 2 stars.
"Gord's Gold Volume II" is one of those second collections of hits that invariably suffers in comparison to the original. There are almost as many songs (18 to 21), but the "hits" are certainly fewer in comparison--"I'm Not Supposed to Care," "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald," and "Race Among the Ruins"-- and they all come from one album, "Summertime Dream." But then you stop, take a deep breath, and remember that Gordon Lightfoot's music was not about commercial success. I still remember him in concert telling the audience he would do the singing and they should just listen (this always made me think of an audience at a poetry reading reciting the "hit" poems along with the author; you see the point). The key thing is that Gordon Lightfoot is a singer-songwriter whose body of work is more impressive the deeper you go into his repertoire. Consequently, you should simply think of this album as his suggestions as to which of his songs you should have been listening to on his later albums. The idea that this album contains new basic tracks, new performances and live vocals (forswearing re-mixes of earlier masters) is really not surprising given Lightfoot's devotion to his craft. So even if you have most of his recordings and there there are not any "new" songs to be heard on this album, you still get to experience the nuances of these new recordings.
on December 29, 2000
Gord's Gold 2 suffers in reputation because a buyer only finds out after opening the package that it's mostly materials re-recorded live in the studio. The big disappointment to ears expecting the original version of "Edmund Fitzgerald," is that the re-done version loses the eerie power of the reverb-enhanced studio track. Another problem is that Gord's voice, frankly, aged poorly between the making of the originals and these newer versions. That said, GG2 includes some fine songs. The opening track, "If It Should Please You," is a concert opener available nowhere else. And the final one is from an LP not yet released on CD. Because the latter, as well as the last four or five tracks on GG2, are un-retouched from the initial album versions, I suspect that this project suffered from confusion or a lack of focus. Perhaps Gord and friends had second thoughts about the "redo the originals" approach; perhaps the project began as a "Gord and band live in the studio" effort, and got waylaid into something the record company could label as a followup to one of the most successful anthologies ever. The result is that GG2 is mis-named and poorly assembled. It is neither the disaster some call it, nor is it one of his best. Most of GG2 is a footnote for Gord fans starved for a live (albeit in the studio) document of a maturing Gord and Band, playing competently and enjoyably. A real one-disc followup to Gord's Gold I has yet to be issued.
on July 31, 2000
As an avid Lightfoot fan, I didn't need much convincing to buy this CD. I forgive the producers what I consider to be merely rank commercialism after the success of Gord'd Gold #1. After all, the original Gord's Gold was released in 1975. If it had been their intention to include album cuts from Dream Street Rose, Shadows, Old Dan's Records, and Salute, why not just make a compilation of the newer material? As it is, Gord and Co. recorded 1 new track (If It Should Please You), and rerecoded 13 others. The new recordings are well-done, but I was slightly less impressed with Gord's 12-string guitar proficiency. To my ears it sounded as though he took shortcuts with some chords, making them easier to play, but somehow less complex and satisfying to the hearing (Any of you guitarists ever tried to duplicate his original chord fingerings? Wow.). As for If It Should Please You, for me this is a favorite, Edmund Fitzgerald is disonant, and It's Worth Believin' a lovely send-off. An album valuable to anyone who loves Gordon Lightfoot's music, regardless of when he plays it.
on January 27, 1999
Gordon Lightfoot, as any fan knows, likes to rerecord when he puts together a "greatest hits" album. For his first, Gord's Gold, he rerecorded all the songs from early in his career. Because the original recordings were on United Artists, before Lightfoot's emergence as a top recording artist in the US, the Gord's Gold version of the songs is often the first - even only - version that the listener has heard.
But it is different with the songs he rerecorded for Gord's Gold Volume II. Here, all the songs were heard first by most people in the original version. Lightfoot went back into to the studio to rerecord them, to create recordings with the feel (or sound, rather) of a live performance. He has undoubtedly achieved that here, but many fans still prefer the original studio recording over the new one, especially if the original was the one they fell in love with. Where it really hits home is in the recording of the big song here "Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald".
Now, don't get me wrong. The Gord's Gold Volume II recording of Wreck is a masterpiece. In this version, Lightfoot is backed up by the band with which he still tours today: Terry Clements (lead guitar), Rick Haynes (bass), Barry Keane (drums) and Mike Heffernan (keyboards). The moving performance on Gord's Gold Volume II is very much like every passionate performance of Wreck that he and the band performed in 1998. Magnificent, and gripping live. But if you want to hear Wreck the way it sounded in 1976 on the radio, then you must have the original recording which luckily is also available today (on the Summertime Dream album). On that recording, Pee Wee Charles, playing steel guitar, was still in the Lightfoot band. The world has two outstanding recordings of an incredible song.
The rest of the songs on this album are also truly great songs. None of the others achieved the prominence that they deserved, for many of them are easily in the class of his earlier hits. Songs like Race Among The Ruins, Cherokee Bend, Shadows and Triangle are - in my opinion - among the very finest in his impressive catalog. There is one new song here, not available elsewhere (If It Should Please You) and there are also four other songs that Lightfoot did not rerecord. The most magnificent of these are It's Worth Believin' (from Old Dan's Records) and Ghosts Of Cape Horn (from Dream Street Rose), neither of which is available on any other CD at this time because four of his original albums have never been rereleased on CD.
The Gord's Gold Volume II album is a fine album with some of Lightfoot's best songs from the 70s and 80s. It is good listening for any Lightfoot fan, and contains quite a few songs that - because they are from albums not yet on CD - are not available elsewhere (this includes one of my favorites, Triangle). You might, however, want to buy both this one and, where available, the album with the original recording too!
This album is not one of my very favorite Lightfoot albums because, although he achieves a sound reminiscent of a live performance, it doesn't match the passion of a Lightfoot concert. Perhaps that is the weakness here. He could reproduce the sound of a live performance in a studio, but not the inspiration he draws from his audience. I guess we'll all just have to go see him in concert to get both.
on July 27, 2001
Recorded live on the floor, this is a fine album from Lightfoot and the long-time members of the Lightfoot band. Yes, the tracks do sound different than the studio versions fans have come to love over the years. But, if you enjoy the original version of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald that much, why not buy Summertime Dream? It's one of the best albums Lightfoot has produced in his career. Since Gord has but one live album to his credit, Sunday Concert from more than 30 years ago, I like to think of Volume II as my opportunity to listen to Gord as if he's performing on stage. Unfortunately, there's no tracks from a few of his latter albums including Salute ('Whispers of the North' is a contender) and East of Midnight ('I'll Tag Along' and the title track are both strong cuts). 'If it Should Please You' is a nice treat, but another one or two new tracks wouldn't have hurt. Regardless, here's a chance to hear some of Gord's songs in a different way. Check it out.
on October 15, 1998
I have been a Lightfoot fan since the late 60's and I was quite dissapointed with this album. Unlike GG Vol.1 these re-recorded versions do not measure up to the originals much less surpass them. They may be technically superior but the overall performance is poor. Most are wooden and flat lacking the vitality that they had on their first go round. They all share the same background "echo" which I suppose is intended to make them sound "live" but only serves to make them sound "hollow". I did like the quieter version of Edmond Fitzgerald.
I am sorry to say that I must agree with others that GL has not aged well. His lyrics and performance have both declined since the early 1980's. Stick with the original albums.
on November 10, 2000
Well, I bought the tape "Gord's Gold II" for the song "wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and discovered as someone else did who reviewed the album found it to be an alternate version of the song which left me disappointed and glad I didnt soak more money into the cd. Now I like Gordon Lightfoot, but there is alot of music on this effort of his that I just dont recognize. Give me a Greatest hits comp with "sundown", "carefree highway", "wreck" and the like and we could talk. Like most here hough, I have to give a thumbs down. I give this cd 1 star and it hurts to do that.
on February 13, 2001
Wish I'd seen the excellent earlier review before buying. I thought I was getting the ORIGINAL Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald; this remake sounds as though Gordon was bored and just going through the motions. Maybe he'd sung it a few thousand times too many. At any rate, I was initially disappointed, but I listened to the album several times anyway. Guess what? Some of the songs "grew" on me. I especially like Pony Man, If It Should Please You, and Christian Island. I still wince when track 6 (Wreck) comes on, but all in all, I'd call it an enjoyable, but not great album.