Real Gone Music's 2019 compilation The Complete Singles 1970-1980
fills a gap in the Gordon Lightfoot catalog, a gap that wasn't immediately apparent. For years, the 1975 double-LP compilation Gord's Gold
seemed to be the standard bearer for Lightfoot compilations, containing most of his biggest hits among its 22 tracks, with the smash "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" -- a Top Ten hit from 1976 -- conspicuously absent. "The Wreck" showed up on Gord's Gold, Vol.2
-- a sequel delivered a mere 13 years later -- and Rhino's comprehensive 2002 set Complete Greatest Hits
seemed to solve the problem by offering 20 of Lightfoot staples, beginning with "Early Morning Rain" and ending with "Restless." The latter song was pulled from 1993's Waiting for You
, an album that falls outside of the scope of The Complete Singles 1970-1980
, which focuses squarely on the decade in which Lightfoot was an adult contemporary hitmaker in addition to being a sturdy, stout troubadour. It's a subtle difference but an important one, one that is driven home by the B-sides -- songs that were often not much more than deep album cuts -- but in the context of this set, they add depth to the smoother, softer side of Lightfoot. As such, The Complete Singles 1970-1980
may be the choice compilation for listeners who are as infatuated with how Lightfoot seamlessly blended folk, pop, and rock into a distinctive aural blend, as they are by his expert songcraft.