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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Same Old Loverman, 4 Mar. 2011
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Summer Side of Life (Audio CD)
Oh, I see. Until another Lightfooted reviewer joins me, I appear to have this page to myself. Strange indeed, especially since this is one of Gord`s best, up there with Sundown, If You Could Read My Mind & Old Dan`s Records. In fact, this is like one of those old Beatles albums where every song sounds like a hit single.
The trouble with reviewing GL is that, on most of his albums, it`s hard to pick out
standout tracks when all of them are as wonderful as each other. That`s certainly the case here. I first had this on LP and `Side One` is simply one amazing song after another. One of Gord`s `road` songs, 10 Degrees & Getting Colder, opens the set in an energetic, fairly uptempo manner. Next - ah, next is a splendid jewel in the many-jewelled crown of Gord`s songwriting career, the tragic story of Miguel, a Mexican who has designs on the US/Mexican border, whose tale is told via one of GL`s most inventive tunes, one you won`t ever be able to get out of your head. In the first refrain of this lovely song, Miguel`s girl is telling him:

Oh my sweet Miguel, I will never tell,
No-one will ever know, what I know too well

Then comes one of the most wondrous melodies of Lightfoot`s oeuvre, as the narrator of the verses momentarily takes over:

And he`d smile, and lay his head on her breast,
And he`d say `I have no fear`...

...and Miguel himself is speaking, reassuring his love. In verse 2 we meet his mother, understandably worried about her beloved son:

But his mother loved him dearly, and she would take him yearly
To the great cathedral in Saint Augustine -
Oh, my young Miguel, listen to the bell...

Things don`t go well for Miguel, as he falls foul of the law. The last verse is in the past tense:

So the story is told, of his true love `cross the line...

...as Miguel`s lover vainly tells him:

I`m waiting for you - to cross the border, to swim the river,
`cos you`ve done that before...

I`m listening to the song as I type this and I can hardly manage it for the tears welling up. What makes this song so unforgettable is the dispassionate (not, of course, the opposite of passionate) way GL sings this bitter, archetypal tale, its denouement not so much a twist as an all too inevitable tragedy. By concentrating down on one `ordinary` trio of people - mother, son, lover - he illuminates a whole world.
Can Gord capitalise on such an immaculate song? You bet he can. Next up is one of his catchiest. He usually includes at least one - on SSOL we have three! - catchy, uptempo romp on his albums, and the first of these is Go My Way, a simple love song.
I love the way he sings the word "Go" as he moves into the final chorus.
The title track is a lazy, hazy song with a chorus of make & female voices behind him and goodness knows what else going on. An expansive, gorgeous song.
Next up is the mid-tempo Cotton Jenny, another impossibly catchy number with a childlike, nursery rhyme feel to it. Great tune yet again.
Talking In Your Sleep is heavenly, if terribly sad...

I heard you talking in your sleep, is there anything that I can do?
I don`t believe we`ve had a word all day, about anything at all

Nous Vivons Ensemble (GL comes from a country with an established French population, after all) opens `Side 2` in haunting style, guitar & piano introducing Gord`s typically sturdy vocal - what a fine, warm voice the man has -leading to a break in a minor key and then the whole song changes as he sings the rest in French, fading out surprisingly quickly. Musically intriguing, yet another example of GL`s way with a song.
Same Old Loverman, again with choral backing to the fore, is a rather stately song, with a terrific, pensive vocal from GL.
Redwood Hill is the third `catchy` track. Swift, brief, jaunty - with a country fiddle to boot - this is Lightfoot in light mood, though the message is an ecological one. A superb song.
Love & Maple Syrup is another melodically rich song, with a French feel to it, as if
it came from the pen of someone like Brel or Aznavour.
Cabaret closes this marvellous disc in grand style, a song that shape-shifts as it progresses - there`s a heartstopping moment after the first verse when the opening of a bottle is heard and Gord takes an audible swig, after which the song changes tack completely until it reaches its decisive finish.
You`ll have gathered that I love Gordon Lightfoot, and that I consider this to be one of his very best albums. You`d be right.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canadian folk rock music at it's best., 10 May 2012
This review is from: Summer Side of Life (Audio CD)
Well, only other reviewer, you FINALLY have company! I too am a Gordon Lightfoot fan and have been for years. His music has a timelessness to it that cannot be beat. I am 58 years old and I love SUMMER SIDE OF LIFE as much today as I did in 1971 at the age of 17 when I first purchased it in vinyl at a music store in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

I had the privilege of first seeing Gordon Lightfoot in concert in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States in 1994. I was single then and ended up enjoying the concert all by my lonesome. Two years ago I took my now husband of ten years to the concert in Savannah, Georgia. He wasn't as familiar with Gordon Lightoot's music as I was and there were some songs that were not played during the concert. I don't know why I didn't think SUMMER SIDE OF LIFE did not exist in some form in Amazon but when I found you could still not only get in CD but it still existed in vinyl I was ectastic! This was one of the first records I EVER bought.

Some of my favortes that were not sung at the concert were 10 DEGREES & COLDER, MIGUEL, TALKING IN YOUR SLEEP, NOUS VIVONS ENSEMBLE , SAME OLD LOVERMAN and CABARET all on this CD. Luckily the SUMMER SIDE OF LIFE, also on this tape, was sung at the concert.

10 DEGREES & COLDER is a song about a hitchiker, a road musician in Boulder, Colorado, standing in the freezing cold trying to come home to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It reminds one of days in the 1970s where hitchikers with signs were much more of a common sight than what you see today.

MIGUEL is a sad, tender song about geographically seperated lovers and their tragic parting. Miguel, a young man born in Mexico who accidentally kills a lawman resulting in his fleeing for his life and his true love who bears his child while he is sent to his death. "Oh my sweet Miguel, listen to the bell. No one will ever know what I know too well. I have no fear. I am waiting for you, cross the border, swim the river, because you've done that before, to see your true love's smiling face a hundred times or more. Oh my sweet Miguel, I love you till I die." Such sweet lyrics and the way that they are sung--really touches you deep inside.

TALKING IN YOUR SLEEP along with MIGUEL are probably my favorites songs on this tape. In the former tape a man learns of his woman's implied infidelity. "I heard you softly whisper. I reached out to hold you near me. Then from your lips came that secret I was not supposed to know..." I especially love the guitar in this song.

NOUS VIVONS ENSEMBLE sung partially in French about "staying together". "If you need me and I need you there is nothing else worth saying."

THE SAME OLD LOVERMAN is about the man was "born to believe" that he "never could deceive."

The last song on the tape, CABARET, has special meaning for me, a displaced northerner (my husband works for the Army at Fort Stewart), living in the deep south. After all I was born and raised in suburban Detroit in the north country. Most of my relatives lived in or near Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Therefore the words in this song "still I like to tell her that I miss her so, North Ontario" truly express how I really feel.

The heartfelt way in which Gordon Lightfoot sings these songs make them really special. You find yourself singing along with them while driving in a car or being a passenger in it. In fact listening to them now has a way of making one feel young again! Thanks Gordon for reliving those feelings in me. Anytime I want to feel that way again all I have to do is to play this CD and I am back!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-affirmingly good - maybe the best of Lightfoot's 70s Warner Bros./Reprise records, 11 Jun. 2014
By 
Andrew Sutherland "Sutho" (Surrey outposts) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Summer Side of Life (Audio CD)
I'm pretty new to Gordon Lightfoot, but it's not taken long for me to become a total convert - what a happy accident it was that I chanced upon a goose bump-inducing Eric Clapton cover of 'Looking At The Rain' (left off Slowhand in favour of Wonderful Tonight!). I remember being immediately and profoundly struck by that song's enduring loveliness and wasted no time in tracking down the original by Lightfoot on his 'Don Quixote' album (from 1972), which I fell head-over-heels for and right away set about amassing the rest of the albums he put out on Warner Bros./Reprise in the 70s: an uncommonly consistent run of LPs that really established him as a singer/songwriter, starting with the rightly celebrated 'If You Could Read My Mind', then this one ('Summer Side of Life', from 1971), the aforesaid 'Don Quixote', 'Old Dan's Records' (also from 1972), 'Sundown'(1974)... I haven't got further yet (but 'Cold on the Shoulder' 'Summertime Dream' and 'Endless Wire' are next on my hitlist). Each of these 70s Lightfoot albums have really resonated with me and had the net effect of getting me really rather excited in a school-boyish kind of way about discovering someone new (to me) whose songs just seem to strike a rare chord... but, so far, it's 'Summer Side of Life' that's *really* blown my socks off - it's got such a beautiful, delicate, life-affirming buoyancy to it; I really can't fail to be uplifted. It's magical. The whole album soars but six of the eleven tracks in particular just take it to the next level for me: the third and fourth songs, 'Go My Way' and the title track, 'Summer Side of Life', both of which have a real kick-up-your-heels quality. They remind me of Mickey Newbury a little, and have the peculiar result of making me want to hop in the car and drive along some sundrenched country lane with the windows down and Lightfoot blasting out of the stereo. It's that kind of vibe. Then there's the gentler countrified bustle of 'Cotton Jenny' (which reminds me a bit of early Tim Hardin) and the more plaintive, piano-led 'Nous Bivons Ensemble' (shades of David Ackles). Finally, the waltzy 'Same Old Loverman' and maybe my favourite, 'Love and Maple Syrup', which has the most instantaneously amiable melodies I've heard in forever and culminates in the most joyful guitar/humming sequence than leaves me grinning ear-to-ear. And I'm normally a miserable git. I genuinely don't recall taking an album to my bosom this quickly and this completely in an awfully long time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful!, 21 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Summer Side of Life (Audio CD)
Gordon Lightfoot is, in my humble opinion, the most consistently great song-writer out there! I've never heard a song of his that I don't like. Bob Dylan is a huge fan, and so am I. This album only received lukewarm reviews from some music critics back in 1971, when it was first released, but it is a 'grower' and I would call it a classic, by a master songwriter-poet. All eleven songs on this album are of a high quality, with strong melodies and well-composed lyrics, many of which read well as poetry. Recorded in Nashville, Lightfoot is in fine voice on this album, ably backed by a fine array of musicians. This is a five-star album all the way in my book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A listen to must for all Gordon Lightfoot fans, 19 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Summer Side of Life (Audio CD)
Reading the reviews on Amazon I just had to purchase this cd. I ordered it along with a few other Gordon Lightfoot cd's for my father in-law. He was extremely pleased with all the items purchased. In his own words a musical genius. In my words a lyricist on a level of his own-fantastic! Hence now another 5 star review.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 1 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Summer Side of Life (Audio CD)
some of his best ever songs on this album a good buy!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Possibly his best, 8 Feb. 2013
By 
Dr. J. Crawford "jc" (Ely, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Summer Side of Life (Audio CD)
I bought this album for "Ten Degrees and Getting Colder". It's not on any of his collections as fa as I can see. It's a really good album. Takes me back to student days. Gord probably isn't going to gain many new fans but he was probably an underrated songwriter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 16 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Summer Side of Life (Audio CD)
excellent
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Summer Side of Life
Summer Side of Life by Gordon Lightfoot (Audio CD - 1994)
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