We had a great time meeting our radio hero Hugh Hewitt for lunch on Saturday in suburban Minneapolis. The lunch produced a full turnout of Northern Alliance bloggers over whom Hugh presides as Commissioner of the Northern Alliance of blogs — the Northern Alliance being the Minnesota-based blogs whose success Hugh has devoted himself to promoting. Hugh was in town to broadcast from the St. Paul Winter Carnival and got a full dose of serious Minnesota winter.
Upon his return to southern California on Sunday, Hugh characterized each of the Northern Alliance bloggers who turned out for the lunch via a pop music alter ego. He designated Rocket Man Gordon Lightfoot, which elicited a groan on Rocket Man’s part. I’m sure Rocket Man was thinking of someone more along the lines of Alan Jackson or George Strait if not Toby Keith.
The assignment of Gordon Lightfoot, however, is a great compliment. The guy is a brilliant songwriter, an old-fashioned carouser who is also an incurable romantic, and a thoughtful kind of man’s man. Who could ask for anything more?
In 1999 Rhino issued a four-disc boxed set of Lightfoot’s work: “Songbook.” It covers roughly thirty years and eighty songs. When I went to the cashier to pay for it at the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis — a store that specializes in music way cooler than Lightfoot — the cashier started singing “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” to give me grief. He knew nothing!
The boxed set is a revelation. Lightfoot was still writing great songs into the ’90s. Take a look at the first verse and chorus of “Shadows,” a song with a haunting melody from his last Warner Brothers album:
Let me reach out love and touch you,
Let me hold you for awhile.