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If You Could Read My Mind

Something for the weekend.  If You Could Read My Mind, by the unforgettable Gordon Lightfoot,  one of the few musical bright spots in the wasteland that was the music of the Seventies.

If you could read my mind, love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie,
‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well.
In a castle dark or a fortress strong,
With chains upon my feet.
You know that ghost is me.
And I will never be set free
As long as I’m a ghost that you can’t see.

If I could read your mind, love,
What a tale your thoughts could tell.
Just like a paperback novel,
The kind the drugstores sell.
Then you reached the part where the heartaches come,
The hero would be me.
But heroes often fail,
And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s just too hard to take!

I’d walk away like a movie star
Who gets burned in a three way script.
Enter number two:
A movie queen to play the scene
Of bringing all the good things out in me.
But for now, love, let’s be real;
I never thought I could  feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it.
I don’t know where we went wrong,
But the feeling’s gone
And I just can’t get it back.

If you could read my mind, love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie,
‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well.
In a castle dark or a fortress strong.
With chains upon my feet.
But stories always end,
And if you read between the lines,
You’d know that I’m just tryin’ to understand
The feelin’s that you lack.
I never thought I could feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it.
I don’t know where we went wrong,
But the feelin’s gone
And I just can’t get it back!

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

15 Comments

  1. I remember always singing along with this but never really knowing all the words and certainly not reflecting upon them.

    I have always been more attuned to the melodic rather than the lyrical content in music. Still, even in those days there were some songs whose words mattered, sometimes, if you could just figure them out. Too bad the lyrics were not as readily available as they are now.

    Interesting love song.

  2. one of the few musical bright spots in the wasteland that was the music of the Seventies.

    The Doobie Brothers, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Traffic, Weather Report, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Steely Dan, and Supertramp did not make for a wasteland. The decade was also free from Rap.

  3. Indeed, Art Deco. The Seventies saw the pinnacle of rock music’s creativity and sophistication. Sure it saw the likes of Disco and Kung Fu Fighting type stuff, but I consider those less representative of Seventies music and more representative of the stupid cultural fads like the Pet Rock and polyester leisure suits.

  4. I think you can divide the decade in half, musically. The good rock music was mostly pre-1975; the horrendous disco stuff came in the second half of the decade.

    I liked “The Ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” And “Ruby.” (that was Gordon Lightfoot too, wasn’t it?) A song about a crippled Vietnam vet pleading with his girlfriend not to abandon him. I thought it a very moving song when I was in high school.

  5. Well said Art Deco.

    You really are a character Don.

    For someone who hates 70’s music so much, you sure find heaps of it convince us of its quality and longevity.
    (in Kiwi speak, you are “a bit of a dag”). 😉

  6. My condemnation of most of the Seventies music stands, and from that I will not be swayed, having survived that kidney stone of a decade!

  7. Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love to Town) is actually a Mel Tillis tune made famous by Kenny Rogers. Wikipedia has an exhaustive list of artists who have covered it (from the Statler Brothers to the Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra) but Gord isn’t on it. He and Kenny both did have similar deep, gravelly singing voices, though.

    We really like Song for a Winter’s Night. Unfortunately the only video I can find on YouTube right now with Gord singing has awful audio, but here:

    is one of the better covers I’ve found that’s in a style similar to his.

    Sarah McLaughlin’s rendition is also lovely:

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