Monday, May 25, 2015


Bruce Cockburn documented his grim travels through rumours of glory and the mystical unity in a billion facets of brilliant love.    After nearly a decade of albums (Bruce Cockburn in 1970,  High Winds, White Sky in 1971, Sunwheel Dance in 1972, Night Vision in 1973, Salt, Sun and Time in 1974, Joy Will Find a Way in 1975, In the Falling Dark in 1976, and Further Adventures Of in 1978) and problems with distribution through CBS and Island Records,  Cockburn had found breakthrough success with RCA subsidiary Millennium Records and the top thirty single "Wondering Where The Lions Are" from 'Dancing the the Dragon's Jaws' in 1979.   As with all of those albums, 'Humans' was recorded with producer Eugene Martynec for True North Records.  The sessions at Manta Sound in Toronto featured Bruce Cockburn on guitar and vocals;   Dennis Pendrith on bass;   Jon Goldsmith on keyboards;   Hugh Marsh on violin;   Patricia Cullen on synthesizer;   Pat LaBarbera on reeds;   Bob DiSalle on drums;   and  Kathy Moses, Beverly Glen-Copeland, Rachel Paiement on background vocals.     "Rumours of Glory" changes things up with Cockburn joined by reggae musicians:    Tony Hibbery on bass;  Bernie Pitters on keyboards;  Ben Bow on drums;  Brian Leonard on percussion;  and Leroy Sibbles, Mickey Edwards, Murray McLauchian on background vocals.  

Cockburn would express at the time:   "It's been a heavy year personally. I was on tour in Italy and Japan and Canada, and travelling like that is always very intense. On top of that, my wife and I separated. Two of the songs, How I Spent My Fall Vacation and Tokyo, are basically impressions of my travels. Three songs - You Get Bigger as You Go, What About the Bond and Fascist Architecture - deal specifically with the separation. But I think enough people go through stuff like that, so the songs have a fairly universal application. The whole album deals with a lot of pain and death - a lot of the ugliness that I've encountered around me. But I hope it comes across that even in the face of it, there's still ground for hope. Songs like Rumours of Glory and The Rose Above the Sky are about moving from downness into something that opens up, although what that something is is not really spelled out...A lot of the songs on Humans came out of my realization that I needed other people.  I've always been a loner and kept a distance between myself and even those I've regarded as friends. But all of a sudden when I was getting kicked around and battered, all these people were right there - they came through in a way I never would have expected."

Cockburn considers:   "The tone of the albums really changes with Humans, which also coincides with my divorce, and the end of a decade and a point in my life that was partly triggered by the divorce and partly not where I spent a lot of time looking at how my inner being related to the big picture, the cosmic picture, and it was time to include other people in that search for an understanding of relationship. To put it in simple terms, as a christian if you're gonna love your fellow mankind you gotta know who they are, you can't love them in the abstract. So it was time to kind of be among humans. It started with the album Humans and the songs there come from those first travels in Japan, and Italy - the first ventures outside of North America, and the greater understanding of human interaction on mass which translates into politics, and that carried through into Inner City Front, and all through the 80s ... I had been listening to Reggae and Punk music and I'd started to travel outside North America in the later 70's and that effected the content of the lyrics and a lot of other stuff that was happening in my life effected that as well. Like I said before the music in my songs is in support of the lyrics so the nature of the lyrics has alot to do with what the music ends up sounding like.   Some kinds of thoughts don't suit the acoustic style that I'd been using and I wanted to learn to play electric guitar. I wanted to have bands that sort of kicked-ass a little more than I had been doing and it's an inevitable escalation once you have a band because you want drums and once you have drums you want electric bass and once you've got that going you better be playing electric guitar or you won't hear anything that your doing. We've licked that problem a lot in the last few years but in the late 70's and early 80's there were no guitar pickups that were any good for acoustic guitar, at least none that sounded anything like an acoustic guitar, so that was part of it too. I really wanted to play Reggae music and Rock 'n Roll and I wanted to make people get up and dance".

"There's often a great beauty for me in the play of opposites. You can't understand good or be good without an understanding on some level of the evil. Now I stress 'on some level' because I'm not in favor of the philosophy that would have people go out and steep themselves in evil in order to understand. I don't think any of us are that far from it that we need to exercise that degree of effort in order to learn about evil. We've all got lots of it in us and it's not hard to see. At the same time, people who try to be good and only good and only do the good things all the time, while it's worthy to try to do, if you expect that you are going to succeed at it then you're in for trouble. You know because the other side is always going to be there ... Based on whatever observations I've done of history there's nothing I've seen that indicates people have the ability to straighten themselves out...Grim Travellers starts out from terrorism, but it's about the fact that none of us are free from the darker qualities that are part of human nature in general. It's a fairly hopeless song. One of the reasons why we followed it with Rumours of Glory is that it gives the other side of the coin-that however negative we can be, we can also depend on each other and are capable of great love."

full album:

all songs written by Bruce Cockburn

1) Grim Travellers (0:00) 
2) Rumours Of Glory (4:45) 
3) More Not More (8:26) 
4) You Get Bigger As You Go (12:13) 
5) What About The Bond (16:49) 
6) How I Spent My Fall Vacation (21:37) 
7) Guerrilla Betrayed (26:43) 
8) Tokyo (30:40) 
9) Fascist Architecture (34:09) 
10) The Rose Above The Sky (36:47)

No comments:

Post a Comment