Canadian folk legend Gordon Lightfoot has amassed an army of followers over the years including the king of folk himself Bob Dylan. And with a career that stretches back to the 1950's several generations have been touched by his cerebral ditties. Unfortunately for us his Christmas material is as thin as the snow cover on the Sahara in the middle of summer but there are chinks of light. Although it was written on a stormy July evening 'Song For A Winter’s Night' certainly has Christmas connotations no matter how many times Lightfoot argues in interviews that it is not about the season at all. The song first emerged on his 1967 album 'The Way I Feel' and again on his compilation 'Gord’s Gold' in 1975 as a slightly altered version. With Lightfoot’s vocals initially sounding like Elvis the quiet dynamics quickly work their magic and the distant sleigh bell effects seal the deal on a perfectly realised song about cosy winter nights. 'Song For A Winter’s Night' was most successfully covered by Sarah McLachlan for the soundtrack to the remake of the Christmas movie 'Miracle on 34th Street' which came out in 1994. It would later appear on McLachlan's 'Wintersong' festive album in 2006.
Lightfoot’s flute laden ‘Circle of Steel’ also deserves a mention in Christmas dispatches with lines like 'Deck The Halls was the song they played, in the flat next door where they shout all day' and ‘Christmas dawns and the snow lets up, And the sun hits the handle of her heirloom cup’ certainly giving it perfect context. What has held it back from entering the festive catalogue is probably the fact that it doesn’t sound particular Christmassy, although that has not held back Joni Mitchell’s ‘The River’. ‘Circle of Steel’ was released in 1974 on Lightfoot’s number one ‘Sundown’ LP but wasn’t chosen as a single.Author: Kevin