Bruce Cockburn - Live (Cooking Vinyl)

Sunday 1st July 1990
Bruce Cockburn - Live (Cooking Vinyl)
Bruce Cockburn - Live (Cooking Vinyl)

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 11302-13504
LABEL: Cooking Vinyl COOKCD034

Reviewed by James Attlee

Live albums are a strange phenomenon. Very often released as a stopgap in a faltering career, they rarely add much artistically to a musician's canon. This is an exception. Recorded six months into a massive world tour, what we get is a superb recording of a performer whose live shows in this country are the stuff of legend. This is Cockburn's nineteenth album to date, so he has the luxury of an extensive back catalogue to draw on.  In the sparse setting of a three-piece line up the songs them­selves are allowed to shine through.  From where I'm sitting they include examples of some of the best songwriting of the last two decades, in any genre. We have Cockburn the free-wheeling impressionist poet (Silver Wheels, After The Rain) the celebrator of Life (World Of Wonders, Rumours Of Glory) and writer of love songs with a difference (See How I Miss You). There's a strong showing for Cockburn the passionate political polemicist (Call It Democracy, Nicaragua, Stolen Land) and the concerned travel journalist (Tibetan Side Of Town). The musicianship is superb - Cockburn's guitar playing defies categorisation, mixing blues and fingerpicking styles with West African and reggae influences to create something uniquely his own. Don't expect either overt Christian content or simplistic lyrics. Some of the language on this album may offend...some may challenge. In the words of one of the songs, Maybe The Poet:" You and he may not agree, but you need him to show you new ways to see." See you on the Tibetan side of town.

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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