Renamed If You Could Read My Mind after that track's Top Five success, Sit Down Young Stranger provided Gordon Lightfoot with his first commercial success as a performer. Augmenting his basic trio with musical luminaries and labelmates like Ry Cooder, John Sebastian and Van Dyke Parks, and with string arrangements by Nick DeCaro and Randy Newman, Lightfoot produced an album filled with attractive, folky melodies. The title track told the tale of a draft resister gone to Canada without resorting to polemics. The rest of Lightfoot's original lyrics were much more personal. The one non-original was the first cover of Kris Kristofferson's soon-to-be-classic "Me and Bobby McGee" to be issued. Meanwhile, "If You Could Read My Mind" was ubiquitous in the early months of 1971, launching Lightfoot on a six-year run of popularity. 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.
AllMusic Review by Jim Newsom