Dear readers, I have an awful lot on my plate tonight, so I am going to beg off writing anything creative and instead just share with you some good music from my growing-up years at the Manse. I am prompted to do this by having been reminded this afternoon by North Country Public Radio that your friend and mine Gordon Lightfoot has just (on Sunday, Nov. 17) turned 75 years old. And that in turn reminded me that another Canadian musical icon, Joni Mitchell, turned 70 a short while ago (on Nov. 7, to be exact). Good lord, where do the years go? (As I expect Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell are both asking themselves.)
Anyway, both of these supremely talented humans contributed large chunks to the soundtrack of my youth at the Manse in Queensborough, Ont. My family didn’t have a lot of Lightfoot records – we didn’t have a lot of records, period; we didn’t have a lot of money for such frills – but we did have (ordered through some record-club deal, I think) his Don Quixote, released in 1972, which was played approximately a million times on our old stereo. And I was lucky enough to find that album at a yard sale last year, so it’s back at the Manse. Looking through the track list just now brought back so many memories; I could sing you every word of every song, I think. Since I couldn’t decide which I like best, I chose two; the title track, atop this post (in a recording made a long time after the song and album were new), and this lovely and perhaps lesser-known one, a great Ontario song, here recorded at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland in 1977:
And as for the eternal Joni (whom I have already written about here and here), well: where to start? While I love hundreds of her songs, I had to be true to the “Manse soundtrack” rule, so chose one that I used to like on the radio (CJBQ, Belleville and Trenton) back in the day. Enjoy – and take note of the bass work by the brilliant (and, sadly, late) Jaco Pastorius:
I hope these songs bring you as much cheer as they did me tonight.