Bruce Cockburn - In The Falling Dark

Wednesday 1st January 2003
Bruce Cockburn - In The Falling Dark
Bruce Cockburn - In The Falling Dark

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: True North TND285

Reviewed by Tony Cummings


This re-release is a handsome repackage complete with pristine remastering, cardboard slip case, exhaustive and insightful sleevenotes and not one, not two, not three, but four bonus tracks to accompany the 10 generously lengthed recordings which originally constituted ‘In The Falling Dark’. This is acoustic music of extraordinary breadth and subtlety, not the folk-style sound of his early ‘70s pre-conversion recordings (Bruce came to faith in 1974) but a form which brought jazz (listen to Kathryn Moses’ delightful flute on “Little Seahorse” or the completely crazed avant guard fluegelhorn of Fred Stone on “Silver Wheels”), African music (catch the vibe of “I’m Gonna Fly Someday”) and classical (be spellbound by the delicate guitar stylings on the instrumental “Water Into Wine”). I can imagine the singer/songwriter’s conversion creating the same kind of intrigue and interest in his homeland as would happen in the UK today if, say, Badly Drawn Boy had suddenly found faith and demonstrated the fact with his music, as here, overflowing with references to the riches that God had heaped upon him. The album opens with “Lord Of The Starfields”. Bruce once commented about the song, “I was trying to write something like a psalm.” He succeeds. Another standout is the fourth of the bonus tracks “Dweller By A Dark Stream” which conveniently bookends the album with a song Nicholas Jennings describes in his sleevenote as a "moving ode to the Universe Maker’s son.” There are some tasty instrumentals on this set with the newly added “Untitled Guitar” joining “Water Into Wine” and “Giftbearer” confirming Bruce’s place as one of pop/rock’s GREAT guitar virtuosos. Another bonus track “Red Brother, Red Sister” is a damning indictment of Christianity’s oppression of aboriginal people, while “Gavin’s Woodpile”, which years later gave a popular Cockburn website its name, is an in-your-face denouncement of mankind’s selfish destruction of the environment. I’ll finish with another quote from the Jennings sleevenote. “It’s a landmark album, one that announced Cockburn’s arrival as an important songwriter. But it’s also a generative recording, planting the creative seeds that come to fruition fully on the subsequent studio albums ‘Further Adventures Of’ and ‘Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws’. With its compelling songs and majestic sweep, ‘In The Falling Dark’ is the perfect place to discover the impressive range of Bruce Cockburn’s artistry.”

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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