Bruce Cockburn – Live (1990)

frontcover1Recorded in Toronto in the summer of 1989, Live is a good collection of Bruce Cockburn’s music, presented in a stripped-down setting. Fronting a tight three-piece unit, which sounds bigger thanks to Fergus Marsh’s stick, Michael Sloski’s eloquent drumming, and his own fingerstyle guitar work, Cockburn delivers a nice overview of his career, dating back as far as the record’s opener, “Silver Wheels,” from 1976. Amid his usual elements of spirituality and state-of-the-world messages, there’s also a lightness and even a sense of humor that is rarely, if ever, seen in his studio work. His choice to close with “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from the crucifixion scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian is both funny and inspired, while “Rumours of Glory,” with its playful harmonica, gains a joyful bounce, and his lone Top 40 U.S. hit, “Wondering Where the Lions Are,” becomes a crowd-pleasing singalong. Elsewhere Cockburn gives a new look to old tunes, whether it’s solo performances of “After the Rain” and “Call It Democracy,” the stark power of the bodhran, vocal rendition of “Stolen Land,” or the more palatable, jumping blues treatment of “Maybe the Poet.” Even though there are no songs, with the exception of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” that are not available elsewhere, there’s brucecockburn01enough personality in these live versions to recommend the record on its own merit, and not just as a souvenir of a successful tour. (by Brett Hartenbach)
 Over 76 minutes of Music – featuring songs dating from 1976’s In the Falling Dark to 1987’s Waiting for a Miracle albums, “Bruce Cockburn’s Live” features a cross-section of the artist’s best material from the era. Originally released in 1990, “Live” features a stunning version of Cockburn’s Top 40 hit “Wondering Where the Lions Are,” along with 14 other versions of Cockburn classics such as “Call It Democracy,” “Rumours of Glory,” and “Silver Wheels,” plus a bonus cut of the rock radio and MTV hit “If I Had a Rocket Launcher.” There’s also a lightness and sense of humor on “Live” that is rarely, if ever, seen in Bruce Cockburn’s studio work – he even closes the set with a version of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. “Live” captures an exceptional performer at the peak of his powers.
This Album was especially produced for the German record market … and so all the lyrics were translated in German.
Recorded live at Ontario Place, Toronto, August 14th and 15th, 1989
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Personnel:
Bruce Cockburn (guitar, vocals, bodhràn, harmonica, chimes
Fergus Jemison Marsh (chapman stick, Background vocals)
Michael Sloski (drums, percussion, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Silver Wheels (Cockburn)  6.11
02. World Of Wonders (Cockburn) 4.39
03. Rumours Of Glory (Cockburn) 6.03
04. See How I Miss You (Cockburn) 4.00
05. After The Rain (Cockburn) 3.58
06. Call It Democracy (Cockburn) 3.37
07. Tibetan Side Of Town (Cockburn) 7.47
08. Wondering Where The Lions Are (Cockburn) 5.19
09. Nicaragua (Cockburn) 5.04
10. Broken Wheel (Cockburn) 5.01
11. Stolen Land (Cockburn/Marsh) 3.14
12. To Raise The Morning Star (Cockburn/Marsh) 7.47
13. Maybe The Poet (Cockburn/Marsh/Goldsmith/Crawford) 4.17
14. Always Look At The Bright Side Of Life (Idle) 2.51

 

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