Personnel: Gordon Lightfoot (guitar); Ry Cooder (guitar, mandolin); Red Shea (guitar); John Sebastian (electric guitar, harmonica); Van Dyke Parks (harmonium).
Though he eventually came to be regarded as an MOR pop artist, Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot emerged from the 1960s folk world, and had as much in common with Ian & Sylvia, Eric Andersen, and Bob Dylan as he did with any '70s AM wonder. Though the title track of IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND was indeed his first massive pop hit, the album proves that Lightfoot was a serious, substantive song craftsman. "Minstrel of the Dawn" is a "Mr. Tambourine Man"-like affair that closes on a surprisingly sarcastic note. "Sit Down Young Stranger" and "Cobwebs & Dust" are the folkiest cuts, and each bears an incisive, poetic lyricism. The bluesy "Baby It's Alright" and a cover of Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" showcase Lightfoot's rootsier tendencies, while "Saturday Clothes" stands out by virtue of its Bacharach-like melody and dinner-jacket chord progression. While he wasn't as edgy as fellow Canuck Leonard Cohen, Lightfoot was clearly a formidable song-poet.
Q (7/93, p.109) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...[the album] marked his emergence as a major folk-pop artist. He'd integrated his skills into a style as commercially accessible as folk gets without spilling into MOR. IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND is still superb..."