I have been a fan of Gordon Lightfoot and his music for most of my life, probably since I first heard “If You Could Read My Mind.” I first saw him in concert in March 1975, at Western Michigan University. I’d already been listening to his music for several years and was excited. So close! My other half (of now 41 years) was much less enamored of him and didn’t want to go, so a girlfriend and I made the trip. Newly expecting my first child, I was finally feeling less exhausted and was thrilled beyond thrilled to get out and see a concert. On the drive to Kalamazoo, the fickle late winter weather turned even more wintry and snow started swirling. Not to be deterred, we forged on. I wish I could remember more about that concert, other than how excited I was to see the man, whose songs I so loved, live on stage. What songs did he sing? This was pre-“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” because the ship was still 8 months away from sinking. I’m sure it was a lot of those early songs that were in his repertoire, the ones that first lifted the Canadian troubadour out of obscurity and sent him on tour across America.
I saw Gordon Lightfoot in concert several more times over the years, twice within the last three years. I think he likes to play in Michigan. I’ll see him again when he stops in Grand Rapids as part of his “50 Years on the Carefree Highway Tour” on May 6. As a tribute to the man and his music, and to reminisce a bit, I’m going to post a few lines from 50 songs, one song on each of the 50 days leading up to that date. Some well-known, some a little less known but no less loved by his legion of fans. So here’s today’s pick, perhaps one he sang at that concert in March 1975.
“In the early mornin’ rain, with a dollar in my hand
With an achin’ in my heart, and my pockets full of sand
I’m a long way from home, and I miss my loved ones so
In the early mornin’ rain, with no place to go.”
Early Morning Rain by Gordon Lightfoot