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Classic Album Review: Various Artists | Beautiful: A Tribute To Gordon Lightfoot

The folk icon gets his long-overdue due from fellow Canadians in this swell tribute.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


If you needed more proof that we undervalue our cultural heritage here in Canada, here it is: Every two-bit British and American songwriter has been the subject of a tribute album, but it’s taken us until now to honour national treasure and eternal folk icon Gordon Lightfoot.

Oh well, better late than never, eh? And thankfully, the producers of the 15-song Beautfiful do a fair job of it, enlisting Canadian contemporaries and a roster of roots artists to cover Gordo’s back catalogue. Cowboy Junkies infuse The Way I Feel with their typical narcoleptic languor; Jesse Winchester spotlights the funky sting hiding in the shadows of Sundown; Bruce Cockburn drifts along the Ribbon Of Darkness; Blue Rodeo jingle all the way through Go Go Round; Connie Kaldor gets inside your head with an intimate reading of If You Could Read My Mind; The Tragically Hip crank up Black Day In July; and Winnipeggers get in the act on James Keelaghan’s locally recorded version of the epic Canadian Railroad Trilogy. A few more rockers wouldn’t have hurt here — wouldn’t you love to hear what Danko Jones could do with Bitter Green? — but on the whole, Beautiful gives Gordon his long-overdue due.


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