Salute is the sixteenth original album by Canadian musician Gordon Lightfoot, released in 1983 Warner Brothers Records. It barely registered on the charts (#175) and is one of his least known recordings. Consequently, songs from the album very rarely feature in Lightfoot’s live performances.
The album completed Lightfoot’s shift from acoustic folk/country compositions to a more sleek adult contemporary sound, a shift he had begun on Shadows. However, he had never completely abandoned his folk roots, as “Whispers of the North”, “Knotty Pine” and “Tattoo” show.
In general, the album was more upbeat than its introspective predecessor with an even greater use of electric guitar licks and synthesizers.
By the time of his 1983 release, Salute, Gordon Lightfoot was well on the downside of his commercial success, but personally, the period was something of a turning point for him. Lightfoot had overcome a drinking problem and was on the rebound from having divorced his wife. Salute finds the singer revivified, and co-producer Dean Parks has toughened up his sound with ’80s synthesizers and electric guitar. The results are mixed: Tracks like “Salute (A Lot More Livin’ to Do),” “Someone to Believe In,” “Without You,” and “Broken Dreams” — spruced-up and bristling as they are — didn’t yield any hit material. That being said, the attempt to update Lightfoot‘s sound wasn’t as tasteless or as disastrous as it might have been. Most of the material is listenable enough and stays true to Lightfoot‘s long string of mature, emotionally sensitive songwriting (“Gotta Get Away”). On the subtler numbers where the production is toned down, a few gems emerge: “Whispers of the North” and “Knotty Pine” are beautiful odes to Canadian nature, and “Tattoo” is a bona fide winner of a love song that deserves more attention than it ever got. While Salute failed to reverse Lightfoot‘s commercial fortune, it’s far from an embarrassment and the Lightfoot faithful should seek it out.
1. “Salute (A Lot More Livin’ to Do)” – 4:24
2. “Gotta Get Away” – 2:54
3. “Whispers of the North” – 3:20
4 .”Someone to Believe In” – 3:32
5. “Romance” – 3:31
6 .”Knotty Pine” – 4:00
7. “Biscuit City” – 2:55
8. “Without You” – 3:07
9. “Tattoo” – 4:28
10. “Broken Dreams” – 4:05
All compositions by Gordon Lightfoot.
- Gordon Lightfoot – vocals, rhythm guitar
- Terry Clements – lead guitar
- Rick Haynes – bass guitar
- Dean Parks – lead guitar, synthesizer
- Barry Keane – drums, percussion
- Hadley Hockensmith – bass guitar, hi-string bass
- Mike Heffernan – piano, electric piano
- Pee Wee Charles – steel guitar
- Harlan Rodgers – piano
- Carol Parks – harmony vocals