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Writing Gordon Lightfoot: The Man, the Music, and the World in 1972

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  77 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
From acclaimed musician and author Dave Bidini comes a brilliantly original look at a folk-rock legend and the momentous week in 1972 that culminated in the Mariposa Folk Festival.

July, 1972. As musicians across Canada prepare for the nation's biggest folk festival, held on Toronto Island, a series of events unfold that will transform the country politically, psychological
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by McClelland & Stewart (first published January 1st 2011)
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Mar 25, 2012 Amy rated it did not like it
Bizarre book, ostensibly about Gordon Lightfoot and one week of a music festival. But I got whiplash from the topic and style changes: one moment, stories of some folks who bust out of prison, and the next, incomprehensible free-form verse about ... drugs maybe? Hard to tell. You ask, um, where's Gordon? Where's the music festival? Excellent questions.
Beverly Akerman
Nov 17, 2011 Beverly Akerman rated it it was amazing
A GREAT book: I just finished reading the Dave Bidini book about Gordon Lightfoot...amazing! a good writer holds your attention by telling you stories about subjects you're keen on. but a GREAT writer pulls you into things you didn't even know you were interested in! Dave Bidini is a great writer. and that week of the Mariposa folk festival in july 1972 is a period you need to know better. (Dylan & Prine were at the fest & are featured in the book; also Joni Mitchell, Murray Maclachlan, ...more
Paula Dembeck
Jun 25, 2013 Paula Dembeck rated it it was ok
This is a look at Gordon Lightfoot and the folk rock scene in Toronto in the week leading up to the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1972. The author addresses Lightfoot through a series of letters. Some of this is fiction and some of it is not, but the author is clear as to which is and which isn’t. Until he gets to the latter part of the book, it is more about the Canadian music and cultural scene at the time. A different sort of book. I expected something different.
Jul 26, 2011 Clare rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot. The letters worked better in some places than in others, and I'll admit that for me it was the chapters in between that shone. If you know me you know how important music is to me, and Gordon Lightfoot provided much of the soundtrack to my growing up. The scenes from Mariposa are wonderful, and especially cool is to hear commentary from people who were there in 1972, including a very young Colin Linden! Highly recommended.
Zameer Andani
Dec 25, 2012 Zameer Andani rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn about the impact of Canadian Music
This book transported me onto Centre Island in Toronto in 1972. Pioneer 10 just crossed the asteroid belt, the Stones' Exile from Main Street tour was taking place in downtown and on a little island in Toronto Harbour a folk festival was taking place that featured Neil Young, Joni Mitchel, Bruce Cockburn and Gordon Lighftoot. Bob Dylan could also be found on that island.

What a great read!
Mar 21, 2012 Dianne rated it really liked it
This was a great book for reminiscing about the sixties and seventies. The central theme is the Mariposa Folk Festival on Toronto Island in July, 1972. But it also discusses Gordon Lightfoot in the context of Canada's maturation in the world of music. We went from Bobby Gimby to "American Woman". Not only does it mention songs, groups, places and performers, but also mentions events going on in the world at that time - the Fischer - Spassky chess game, the prison break at Millhaven Penitentiary, ...more
Feb 03, 2013 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
1972 was an incredible year and the week leading up to the Mariposa Folk Festival was a unbelievable week full of surprises and fascinating history. I did not attend but I did see the Stones in Minneapolis on their 1972 tour. (See page 206). Of course I know Gordon Lightfoot's music and have been listening to him since the 70's. A wonderful reflection of the enigma that is Lightfoot. Perhaps one day there will be a biography but it would have to be with his participation. This is a marvellous at ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Anthony rated it it was amazing
This book is a 40% Gordon Lightfoot and 60% the world musically, politically, the social consciousness unfolding or collapsing in 1972. It's a year in a week. July 1972. I loved this book so much. I think it's Dave's best writing to date.

Upon reading other reviews, I agree, the letters to Gord were a little awkward, but I think that's what made them personal. At some points I feel like, Dave, you're full of shit on that... but he's making it up, so that's kind of a given.

Page 206 is the best pa
Feb 02, 2015 Jill rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the author's conversational writing style and stories in the book (whether they were true or not), but they were so disjointed. One minute the author is writing about a prison break, then a chess match, then Mariposa, and I couldn't keep track of all the characters. Nor in the end could I understand how they were all connected, other than they were all occurring in 1972. Disappointing.
Nov 14, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
The real meat in this book, surrounding the Festival, could have taken up more of the content. I LOVED reading about the music scene in Toronto around that time and the history of Mariposa. The letters to Lightfoot felt awkward, and lacked, for me, something heartfelt or sincere. Fun to read and the photos are great!
Heather Lockman
Apr 10, 2013 Heather Lockman rated it liked it
Liked it. Enjoyed seeing Lightfoot treated as a significant songwriter and cultural influence, even liked the "You wouldn't talk to me, Gord, so I had to make some stuff up" conceit. Some bits worked better than others, but all in all a grand ramble through the music scene of the early 1970s.
Kevin R
May 01, 2012 Kevin R rated it liked it

An ok book... Maybe it is Mr. Bidini's style but I found he rambled a bit. His choice of language was hmmm... interesting. All in all a good snapshot of the time.
Duncan Morgan
May 06, 2013 Duncan Morgan rated it it was amazing
Great concept. Great atonement. Great writer. Great slice of Canadian history. Dave is a Canadian asset
Jan 02, 2013 Linda rated it liked it
I liked this book, but it's probably of most interest to people who were around in '72 - in other words, really old now!
Jan 28, 2012 Nicole is currently reading it
This is my first Dave Bidini book I have read and so far I love it. I really enjoy the way he writes and his style. I feel like he is having a conversation with you and not just lecturing you.
Kingston WritersFest
May 05, 2014 Kingston WritersFest rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kwf-2011
Dave Bidini joined us at Kingston WritersFest 2010 and 2011. You can read more about Dave and the Festival here:
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DAVE BIDINI is the author of nine books. His play, "The Five Hole Stories," was performed by One Yellow Rabbit and toured Canada in winter, 2009, and his two "hockumentaries," The Hockey Nomad and The Hockey Nomad Goes To Russia were Gemini-nominated films, and The Hockey Nomad won for Best Documentary.

Bidini is the recipient of numerous National Magazine Awards, and is a weekly columnist in The N
More about Dave Bidini...

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