Friday, July 13, 2007

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

I was driving home from somewhere listening to The Point as usual, and on came a cool old maritime song that sounded very vaguely familiar... so vaguely that I was not certain I'd ever heard it before... but wondered. Trying to piece together the lyrics as I drove, I could tell it was something about a shipwreck, but assumed it was probably about an old, perhaps legendary, sailing shipwreck from long ago and far away.

I liked the song, so I hurried home so I could log on to the station website and see who was singing it, and lo and behold, it was Gordon Lightfoot! Ah!! Of course. Gordon Lightfoot is one of those musicians I've always known I'd like based on the very few songs regularly played on the radio, but never really looked into it. I did some searching around, and wow, I never realized he did so many maritime songs! Cool! Nor did I realize how many songs of his I DID know, but were more famously covered by others.

Well, this song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald turned out not to be about an old sailing ship at all... as most of you already probably knew... but hey, I didn't know, ok! A chill ran down my spine as I found that it is not about something long ago and far away, but is about a 729-foot-long cargo ship that hauled iron ore for the car manufacturers on the Great Lakes, that went down in a storm in November 1975. That's in my lifetime (albeit barely). Many of the wives and friends and most, if not all, of the children of the 29 men who died that November night are still very much alive today. This is a huge ship (for a lake) equipped with radar and radio, presumably met all coast guard requirements, and isn't even ocean-going, and the wind and waves of Lake Superior took it down. Hearing the song for the first time (that I remember) after my relatively minor sailing incident the day before, I took it as a not-so-subtle reminder that the water demands great respect... perhaps more than I've been giving it.

Without further ado, here is Gordon Lightfoot, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, courtesy of my otherwise-mostly-unused myspace page. You can view the lyrics here.

You can also listen to five other representative Lightfoot songs in their entirety, and for free, between his two myspace pages (I assume one is legit and one is not. Not really sure which is which.) Most will be familiar from radio-listening. A couple of them might not be.
Gordon Lightfoot Myspace Page #1
Gordon Lightfoot Myspace Page #2

By the way, I emailed The Point to thank them for edumicating me, and the next day they wrote me back a short but custom-written reply, which I thought was really neat: "That was Carrie Henry's own pick... great song. Thanks for your kind words... and thanks for listening! --Zeb


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh WOW!! I love this song. It was a part of our music curriculum when I was in the 6th grade. Practically mandatory for a Michigan school! Someday I'm going to go to the museum they have erected and pay homage.

Monday, July 23, 2007  
Anonymous Walter Smith said...

You were talking about memorizing scritpure..I was reading yout memory psalm..and immediatetly the psalm tone we used this morning came to mind..since you are a musician and organist obviously I don;t know what faith tradition you are part of, we Lutherans sing the psalms wonder if that would make it easier for you to remember them...the last time I played for a Methodist Church that began using the psalms with a sung response..yet actually sining them to a song tone might help too, if you don't have access to same I can probably send you some if you want to send me an actual email address,
Walt Smith

Sunday, October 28, 2007  
Blogger AndyOfVermont said...

I hold no tradition sacred. I think the idea of putting music to Psalms is a great one! I have an email address "encoded" on the "contact" link on my front page, but I'll send you my regular gmail.

Monday, October 29, 2007  

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