on May 25, 2004
There is a theme developing in these reviews: of all the great folk/pop singer/songwriters, including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Dan Fogelberg, Jackson Browne, and go ahead and add to this list, there is one man who stands out from the pack: Gordon Lightfoot. This album, along with all the others, contain songs not well-known to the public, and yet they serve to demonstrate the extraordinary range and depth of Lightfoot's songwriting, playing, and arrangements. You listen to something like "The List," just one of a number of terrific songs on "Sundown," and you hear an arrangement that is as fresh and modern and up to date as anything you'll hear - and it's even better than that. I'll go ahead and say "Cold on the Shoulder," song for song may be his best, but ANYTHING by Gordon is worth listening to - and his lyrics - and that terrific voice are timeless. Bob Dylan was recently quoted as saying when he listens to a Gordon Lightfoot song he wishes it would never end.
Doesn't that say it all? There isn't anything this man couldn't write. And the DVD, "Live from Reno," is worth getting just to watch and hear among the greatest songs EVER written. He's beyond a living legend. He's one of the greatest songwriters in the history of music. Even that isn't saying enough.
on August 5, 2000
I laughed when I saw one of the earlier reviewers had referred to this album is good but not terrific. While I strongly disagree with that estimation of the effort here, what occurred to me was the simple fact that over a fifteen period, Gordon Lightfoot produced so many superior albums populated by such uniformly outstanding songs that we've become inured to the fact that he is such a singular, talented and singular talent. Every single song on the album is extremely well executed, and the arrangements are stunning, from the opening "Somewhere USA" into the upbeat "High And Dry" on into "Seven Island Suite, a captivating, poetically versed, and thoughtfully complex song one had to hear in its entirety to truly appreciate. "Circle Of Steel" uses a deceptively simple and lovely melody to take a sympathetic and compassionate look at the social issues of the day, and the ways in which our ordinary troubles complicate themselves, continuing from one generation to the next. A number of popular hits are here, including "Sundown" and "Carefree Highway', as is his lovely and pensive "Too Late For Praying". Gordon is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter who is in the process of leaving us dozens of terrific albums for our continuing entertainment and edification. This is certainly one oif the best of them. Enjoy!
on June 14, 1999
Personally, this is my favorite Gordon Lightfoot LP. He was still making excellent albums at this point, though he did falter in the late 70's and beyond. His voice was still strong before it went into a kind of nasal crooning! This seems to be the most introspective of all his albums, as though he was trying to really make sense of life-there is much more of a sense of struggle here than in other albums. There is only one or two songs that I have anything to quibble about-but that is probably a matter of taste. There is a lyrical depth that goes beyond even the usual Lightfoot level. The melodies are fantastic, there is a subtle sophistication to the arrangements, and Gordon's voice is strong.(as mentioned earlier.) The string arrangements fit perfectly, especially in "The Watchman's Gone" and "Too Late For Prayin." The tone is very serious, but it never feels like he is wallowing in self-pity. When I finally picked up this album on CD, I hadn't listened to the album in several years. Without question, it retained its power. Gordon Lightfoot amazes me in that he essentially writes the same kind of melodies, but darn if somehow he doesn't make them all seem unique. This was one of his most commercially successful albums, and deservedly so.
on December 22, 1998
An extraordinary album, yet no one has reviewed it yet? And, down there at 12-13000 in sales ranking at Amazon? Why is everyone missing this wonderful album? Perhaps because no one has reviewed it yet? So I will put pen to paper (rather fingers to keyboard) and fix that today.
Sundown, originally released in 1974, was Lightfoot's most successful album on the billboard charts. It went to number 1, in the US and Canada simultaneously, and the single of the title song topped both charts at the same time too. A second song from the album, Carefree Highway, also charted well, reaching number 10 late that year. Then why aren't people buying this album? Is it because both of these songs (as well as a third song, Circle Of Steel) are on Gord's Gold too?
Well, if that is the reason, people are missing a lot of excellent music. The two hit songs are not the only great songs on the album; in fact, many Lightfoot fans would argue that they are not the best songs on the album. Probably more so than almost any other album, every song here is a classic, full of beautiful lyrics, haunting melodies, inventive guitar playing and arrangements, and exquisite vocals. (Of course to fully appreciate the guitar, you will have to look for the MFSL half-speed mastered album, on vinyl and out of print, but this CD will make a fine substitute and plays better in your car).
Most of the songs are personal songs, but interspersed are songs of the sea, wandering and social commentary, also familiar Lightfoot themes. My favorite songs, from the "other seven" are Somewhere USA, High And Dry (which is also on Gord's Gold Volume 2), Seven Island Suite, The Watchman's Gone (which, in addition to the two hits, he still performs in concert today) and The List. If you do have Gord's Gold, you are still getting seven additional Lightfoot treasures, plus the haunting "whole" that he achieves with all of his albums, rather than - as is so common - simply a collection of songs.
Altogether this disk is a 10; well, in the rating system here, a 5. Enjoy!
on June 6, 2001
I bought the disk this evening, and to my surprise I knew every song on it. I must have owned the 8 track of it in the mid 70's. I am a little biased because I am a guitar player but the guitar work by Red Shea on Sundown is classic. A guitar solo should tell a story within the context of the song. Red's solo does this and much more. This has got to be among the most recognizable solos of all time. Easily among my 10 favorite guitar solos. Brilliant. The lyrics are very, very cool, and so is the music. The rest of the disk is great listening. The Lyrics tell a story and take you into someone else's world. The music supports the storylines and makes for some very laid back and enjoyable music. It is time to learn the guitar solo note for note. Long live Powers Run, Pgh PA.
on August 24, 2001
I had always heard a few of Gord's tunes on the radio and always enjoyed them. On a whim I went out and picked this cd up, since my wife and I began to listen to "Gord's Gold" on a pretty frequent basis. It was time to expand the collection a bit. The first time I heard this cd in it's entirity, I remember thinking how unbelievable it was, and still is. There is not one bad song on this cd. Among my favorites are "Seven Island Suite" and "Circle of Steel". Really, not one bad tune in the bunch. If you enjoy music in general, this is a good choice. Great sound, great performance. It doesn't get much better than that.
on February 3, 2000
I first bought Sundown when it was hot of the presses in 1974. Many of the albums that I bought in that same time frame has been collecting dust for a good number of years. Sundown has not. I believe Sundown to be the enduring work of one of the greatest folk artists of our time. I have collected many of Gordon Lightfoot's records, however,Sundown is the one that I continue today. It captured the sense of my wanderlust when I was 19 and allows me to recall joyous events of my youth with Sundown playing in the backround. The music is simply ageless.
on October 29, 2000
I was born after this album was released and was raised to it playing in the background. I have great memories of these melodies playing throughout my childhood and I am still making new memories to the likes of Sundown and Bitter Green. What better way to grow up than to the sounds of soft passion? I rate this album as one of the best of all time. Always good to calm the spirit and enlighten the soul
on October 15, 1999
This album is simply the best Gordon Lightfoot has put out. The second half, which you can't sample, is his best. "The Watchman's Gone," "Sundown," and "Carefree Highway" are three of his best. "Somewhere U.S.A." is also classic Gordon. Buy this and you won't regret it.
on February 6, 2000
I was turned on to this album by a great friend in college way back in 1978. Whenever I listen to the album these days, I am always taken back by the freshness of the music. Gordon Lightfoot knows how to sing, play a guitar and write classic music. Thank you Gordon and thank you Mary.