Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bruce Cockburn Breatfast In New Orleans, Dinner In Timbuktu 1999

Bruce Cockburn has made plenty of good records, but they don't get any better than this one right here.

When You Give It Away is a masterfully written blues with an exceptional lyric and great rhythm. Mango is that tone poem chant that Cockburn does so well. Last Night Of The World is just plain one of the top five most romantic songs ever. Really. It has that folk-singer-songwriter thing in spades, then breaks into a mid-tempo rocking chorus. It is a beautiful song.

Down To The Delta is a swinging swamp jazz instrumental. It could stand up on a Bill Frisell record. There's a radical version of Blueberry Hill with distorted guitar and Hammond organ that does something meaningfully different with this chestnut. Let The Bad Air Out is a slightly ska, slightly blues flavored folk song. Look How Far is a sentiment not many songwriters can pull off, but Cockburn's authentic sincerity does it with a straight face. Canada's Jackson Browne.

The record slows down a tad near the end, but it's not a rock and roll record as much as it is a study of what New Orleans feels like inside. And as usual, Cockburn nails it. If you've never heard Bruce Cockburn, where have you been? He plays guitar like a champ, writes intense songs with deep heartfelt humanity, has an excellent voice, and always has a stellar cast of supporting musicians. Lucinda Williams sings on a few on this record. But Cockburn's the star, and of his many fine records, this on calls me back after ten years of hearing it. Good stuff.

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