You wouldn't immediately assume it from the traditional balladry of "Sundown," but Gordon Lightfoot
is a dark motherfucker. Like his most successful single, Lightfoot can seem out-of-date, boring, and stodgy until you spend a weekend with him. Then, it becomes obvious that dude's just as oversexed, drunk, and angry as fellow late-'60s folkies Dylan and Leonard Cohen.
That's why "Sundown," a Billboard Number 1 in June 1974, might lull you into a complacent daze with its mix of classical guitar, pro session playing, and baritone croon. But then, listen close or discover the song was written about Lightfoot's adulterous affair with backup singer Cathy Smith, the groupie-slash-speedball-queen who would eventually give John Belushi his final hotshot. And lyrics such as "She's been looking like a queen in a sailor's dream/And she don't always say what she really means" or "Sundown, you better take care/If I find you've been creeping 'round my back stairs" start to sound like death poems.
Thursday, March 11. Parker Playhouse, 707 NE 8th St., Fort Lauderdale. Show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $37.50-$57.50 through Ticketmaster.com. 954-462-0222; parkerplayhouse.com.