Tuesday, April 20, 2010

three psalms of Bruce (Cockburn): video from Fresno concert

I was able to record this video of three classic psalms of Bruce Cockburn at the concert last night.
I didn't stay long enough to meet him, like some friends of mine did. But look what I got in the mail today for
helping start his Facebook Fan page.
(Thanks Jeremie
from Bruce's management team for arranging that wonderful surprise, and to Bruce for a great night)

"Strange Waters":

I've seen a high cairn kissed by holy wind
Seen a mirror pool cut by golden fins
Seen alleys where they hide the truth of cities
The mad whose blessing you must accept without pity

I've stood in airports guarded glass and chrome
Walked rifled roads and landmined loam
Seen a forest in flames right down to the road
Burned in love till I've seen my heart explode

You've been leading me
Beside strange waters

Across the concrete fields of man
Sun ray like a camera pans
Some will run and some will stand
Everything is bullshit but the open hand

You've been leading me
strange waters
Streams of beautiful lights in the night
But where is my pastureland in these dark valleys?
If I loose my grip, will I take flight?

You've been leading me
Beside strange waters
Streams of beautiful lights in the night
But where is my pastureland in these dark valleys?
If I loose my grip, will I take flight?

Susan Adams Kauffman: "Strange Waters" is one of your songs that is rich in autobiographical detail. You cite the various observations you've made, places you've been. Then, as tension builds, you passionately state that "everything is bullshit but the open hand." What is this open-handedness you're referring to?

BC: I could have said open heart. It's openness, period, the willingess to share what you have and to accept what others are willing to share with you, and what God or the universe is willing to share with you, and you back. Defensiveness or defendedness can become an impediment to love, obviously. Since it's love that makes the world go 'round, defendedness keeps the world from going 'round.

-from "Fire in an Open Hand" by Susan Adams Kauffman, The Other Side magazine, November/December 1999

"Bone in My Ear":
There's a bone in my ear
Keeps singing your name
Sometimes it's like pleasure
Sometimes it's like pain
It's a small voice and quiet
But I hear it plain
There's a bone in my ear
Keeps singing your name

In my heart there's a an image
Like looking through glass
Could be looking at me
Could be looking right past
I don't like it when

I can't tell which is true
But I wouldn't trade the world
For that picture of you

Moon in the water
Cold light in the streets
Warmth in your fingers
Sweat in your sheets
Laid out like an offering
Where two currents meet
The river is dark
But the water is sweet

Wailing on the mountain
Smoke on the wind
Can't drown out the whisper
Or the scent of your skin
Don't know where it came from
But I know where it came
There's a bone in my ear
Keeps singing your name

  • Bruce Cockburn: [Listeners sometimes are left guessing whether his songs of passionate yearning--including the current album's "All the Ways I Want You" and "Bone in My Ear"--are addressed to an earthly romantic partner, or a divine presence.] "When I'm writing the song, I'm entirely aware of which it is. To me [songs such as those two] are pretty carnal. But sometimes when you're expressing longing for a person, deeper things creep into it. It's fair enough if people want to read it the other way." - from "Bruce Cockburn: Interior Motive" by Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times, November 22, 1994. Submitted by Nigel Parry.

  • ___________________________________________
    "Rocket Launcher":
    Here comes the helicopter -- second time today
    Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
    How many kids they've murdered only God can say
    If I had a rocket launcher...I'd make somebody pay

    I don't believe in guarded borders and I don't believe in hate
    I don't believe in generals or their stinking torture states
    And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate
    If I had a rocket launcher...I would retaliate

    On the Rio Lacantun, one hundred thousand wait
    To fall down from starvation -- or some less humane fate
    Cry for guatemala, with a corpse in every gate
    If I had a rocket launcher...I would not hesitate

    I want to raise every voice -- at least I've got to try
    Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
    Situation desperate, echoes of the victims cry
    If I had a rocket launcher...Some son of a bitch would die

    Many years after writing this often-misunderstood song (he is not advocating violence, only admitting it in his own heart), Cockburn was presented with an actual rocket launcher (here)

    "I wrestled with it so much before I recorded it..morally, I mean. I had this song that was my truth, but it just seemed utterly shocking the idea of singing that for people, and the risk that it might incite the wrong kind of emotion in listeners seemed too big. So the learning experience there was the understanding that to not sing your truth is wrong... a kind of self-censorship." (Link)


    1. Thanks Dave ... really enjoy discovering new music.

    2. David...thanks.. made my day!


    Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!