Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Righting a wrong

That previous posting (about the divine Judy Collins and her version of Someday Soon) failed to correct one of Malcolm's long-time misconceptions.

One of his less-favoured folk acts was Ian and Sylvia. They came out of the Toronto scene and produced a couple of albums in the early Sixties: workmanlike stuff, but pretty anodyne. Harmless. Christopher Guest's A Mighty Wind skewered them and their type pretty well as "Mitch and Mickey".

An aside: mainly for Zach's benefit

The act deserves credit for introducing the songs of Gordon Lightfoot. OK, OK -- expect a blast of derision from Colorado -- but Lightfoot needs to be acknowledged. If You Could Read my Mind was good enough for Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell. Many might propose Canadian Railroad Trilogy as Lightfoot's greatest contribution (though it owes a lot to the model of Bob Gibson and Hamilton Camp's Civil War Trilogy):

Others might come up with Early Morning Rain:

For Malcolm, though, his acme was The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, memorialising the sinking of an ore-carrier, with the loss of all 29 of the crew, in Lake Superior in November 1975:
Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the words turn the minutes to hours ...
Back to Ian Tyson

Tyson is not in the same league as Lightfoot, but he has contributed two good ballads to the tradition: Someday Soon and Four Strong Winds (another one good enough for Johnny Cash). Despite the social conscience of the latter song, for Malcolm the greater of those two is the former:
There's a young man that I know,
Whose age is twenty one.
He comes from down in southern Colorado.
Just out of the service, he's looking for his fun:
Someday soon, going with him, someday soon.
Memory nudge

As the synapses slacken, Malcolm needs to be prompted to these recollections and redresses.

This one came from the visit to the Irish Club he noted in today's post on Malcolm Redfellow's Home Service. There, hanging in the smaller of the first-floor reception rooms, is a portrait of Lord Edward Fitzgerald. It is, like all the other pictures hanging in the Club, hardly a great original. But neither (Malcolm believes) is the one in the National Portrait Gallery:

Nor is the vessel in Lightfoot's song named for the executed Fenian: it took to the bottom the name of a far lesser being, a Milwaukee banker.

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yourcousin said...

No derision from here tonight. Mainly because I'm just too tired to talk any shit. Except to my middle aged friend who bought a BMW motorcycle, now I always have to give shit for things like that. Also I've got a Lightfoot, best of somewhere. Not that he's that good but certainly not bad and I would rate the Railroad Trilogy as something solid. The ballad of the Edmund Fitsgerald was also what drew me in and it is a first rate ballad.

As for Glen Campbell, well Paul McCartney was good enough for him, so for what it's worth he doesn't know how to pick Beatles. I can't argue with Cash though.

I like you would prefer Someday Soon to Four Strong Winds. Mainly for Colorado centric reasons, but still.

On a side note, you've been putting up some solid posts lately. Keep up the good work as I've been enjoying them. Had I only read your blog before I went to Europe I might have been able to find some good pubs, but such is life. I got a wife out of the trip though so no real harm done.

yourcousin said...

And on the coat tails of the tired and exhausted remark. We have already started our reading lessons. My wife is reading Hungarian fairy tales to him while I'm reading The Rights of Man.

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