Sit Down Young Stranger

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Sit Down Young Stranger
Studio album by Gordon Lightfoot
Released April 1970
Recorded Sunwest Studios in Hollywood, California from September to December 1969
Genre Folk
Length 36:44
Label Reprise
Producer Lenny Waronker, Joseph Wissert
Gordon Lightfoot chronology
Sunday Concert
(1969)Sunday Concert1969
Sit Down Young Stranger
Summer Side of Life
(1971)Summer Side of Life1971
Singles from Sit Down Young Stranger
  1. "Me And Bobby McGee"
    Released: June 1970
  2. "Approaching Lavender"
    Released: 1970
  3. "If You Could Read My Mind"
    Released: December 1970

Sit Down Young Stranger is Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot's sixth original album and also his best-selling original album.[1] It was released in 1970 on the Reprise Records label. The album was renamed If You Could Read My Mind shortly after release, after the song of that title reached number 1 on the RPM Top Singles chart in Canada and number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. The album itself reached number 12 on the Billboard 200 chart.


Sit Down Young Stranger was Lightfoot's first recording for his new label, Reprise Records. He had left United Artists because he believed they did not promote his albums well enough.

On this album, Lightfoot included more orchestration, which is particularly evident on "If You Could Read My Mind". It was also the first studio album to feature long-time Lightfoot bassist Rick Haynes. The orchestration on "Minstrel of the Dawn" and "Approaching Lavender" was arranged by Randy Newman.

The album contained one of the first recorded versions of Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster's "Me and Bobby McGee" which had previously been a country hit for Roger Miller and would later become a hit for Janis Joplin.

A small number of vinyl copies of the album contain no title on the front cover. This is because the cover was originally supposed to be just a picture of Lightfoot, but it was then thought that stating the title would increase the album's sales. The untitled copies did have a small sticker on the cellophane wrap bearing the album's title.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars [2]

In his retrospective Allmusic review, critic Jim Newsom praised the album, writing "While future albums would begin to drift away from the folky acoustic timbres of this one, the beauty and simplicity of Sit Down Young Stranger make it a timeless recording."[2]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Gordon Lightfoot; except where indicated

Side 1[edit]

  1. "Minstrel of the Dawn" – 3:26
  2. "Me and Bobby McGee" – 3:38 (Kris Kristofferson, Fred Foster)
  3. "Approaching Lavender" – 2:56
  4. "Saturday Clothes" – 3:20
  5. "Cobwebs & Dust" – 3:20
  6. "Poor Little Allison" – 2:30

Side 2[edit]

  1. "Sit Down Young Stranger" – 3:26
  2. "If You Could Read My Mind" – 3:48
  3. "Baby It's Alright" – 2:58
  4. "Your Love's Return (Song for Stephen Foster)" – 3:55
  5. "The Pony Man" – 3:27



  1. ^ "Release "Sit Down Young Stranger" by Gordon Lightfoot". MusicBrainz. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Newsom, Jim. "Sit Down Young Stranger > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 

External links[edit]