Folk Roots Radio Episode 611: Bruce Cockburn in Conversation – Greatest Hits 1970-2020

Folk Roots Radio Episode 611: Bruce Cockburn in Conversation - Greatest Hits 1970-2020

Bruce Cockburn joins us on Episode 611 of Folk Roots Radio for a wonderful in-depth conversation about his new career spanning retrospective, “Greatest Hits 1970-2020”, a double CD set featuring 30 songs he has released as singles. After 34 albums, 13 Junos, thousands of shows across the world and numerous other awards, it’s been quite the career. The good news is that Bruce Cockburn is still going strong, still working on new songs, and still playing shows. In fact, this month he sets out on his 50th Anniversary tour. It’s actually Take 2 – because COVID put paid to the first version last year. There was a lot to talk about which is why we’ve given over the whole of this episode to the interview. So settle down and enjoy Bruce Cockburn… in Conversation on Folk Roots Radio.

Best 2020

Interview

It’s now 50 years since Bruce Cockburn released his self-titled debut album. Since then he has released 34 albums, picked up 13 Juno Awards and received two Hall of Fame inductions, countless honorary doctorates, an Order of Canada (1982) followed by elevation to Officer of the Order Of Canada (2002) and a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement (1998) – Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts.

Ottawa native Bruce Cockburn found his way to Toronto in 1967 and performed in a series of bands including Flying Circus, Olivius and 3’s A Crowd while also pursuing a solo career – performing at the 1967 Mariposa Folk Festival and headlining that event in 1969. Joining forces with Toronto music entrepreneur Bernie Finklestein, Cockburn’s debut record was the first release on Finklestein’s True North Records in 1970.

“In 1969, when I was feeling the need to record an album of the songs I’d been writing, I had no concept of what that might lead to. Not unusual for a young person I guess. In some organic way it felt like it was time. The future wasn’t really an issue. It still isn’t. For each of us, there’s a future or there isn’t. But looking back over the arc of fifty years of recording, performing, and travel, not to mention relationships and personal challenges, I can only shake my head and mutter a word of thanks for all of it. Even if I’d been a planner by nature, I doubt I could have predicted how things have gone. And they’re still going!”

“They say age is just a number until body parts start falling off. As for my legacy, I like the idea that my songs will still be around when I’m gone. That people will still find something in them – but I’m not going to be around to care about it.”

“Looking back over the arc of fifty years of recording, performing, and travel — not to mention, relationships and personal challenges — I can only shake my head and mutter a word of thanks for all of it. Even if I’d been a planner by nature, I doubt I could have predicted how things have gone.”

The new Bruce Cockburn retrospective, “Greatest Hits 1970-2020”, features 30 songs taken from the singles he has released to radio. A chronological journey through his 50 year career, curated by the artist himself.

For more information about the music of Bruce Cockburn, visit brucecockburn.com. Also, check out the excellent unofficial online archives, The Cockburn Project, and the Bruce Cockburn Newsletter Online, Gavin’s Woodpile.

Disc 1
1. Going To The Country (3:16) originally released on Bruce Cockburn, 1970
2. Musical Friends (2:57) originally released on Bruce Cockburn, 1970
3. One Day I Walk (3:08) originally released on High Winds White Sky, 1971
4. Mama Just Wants To Barrelhouse All Night Long (6:26) originally released in 1973 on Night Vision but this version is from Waiting for A Miracle, 1987.
5. All The Diamonds in the World (2:41) originally released on Sand, Salt and Time, 1974
6. Silver Wheels (4:42) originally released on In The Falling Dark, 1976
7. Wondering Where The Lions Are (3:44) originally released on Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws, 1979
8. Tokyo (3:29) originally released on Humans, 1980
9. Rumours of Glory (5:03) originally released on Humans, 1980
10. The Coldest Night Of The Year (4:26) originally released on Mummy Dust, 1981
11. Wanna Go Walking (2:54) originally released on Inner City Front, 1981
12. The Trouble With Normal (3:37) originally released on The Trouble With Normal, 1983
13. Lovers In A Dangerous Time (4:06) originally released on Stealing Fire, 1984
14. If I Had A Rocket Launcher (4:59) originally released on Stealing Fire, 1984
15. Call It Democracy (3:52) originally released on World of Wonders, 1986
16. People See Through You (3:46) originally released on World of Wonders, 1986

Disc 2
1. Waiting For A Miracle (4:50) originally released on Waiting For A Miracle, 1987
2. Stolen Land (5:22) originally released on Waiting For A Miracle, 1987
3. If A Tree Falls (5:42) originally released on Big Circumstance, 1988
4. A Dream Like Mine (4:55) originally released on Nothing But A Burning Light, 1991
5. Listen For A Laugh (4:06) originally released on Dart To The Heart, 1994
6. Night Train (6:14) originally released on The Charity of Night, 1997
7. Pacing The Cage (4:38) originally released on The Charity of Night, 1997
8. Last Night Of The World (4:52) originally released on Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu, 1999
9. Anything Anytime Anywhere (3:35) originally released on Anything Anytime Anywhere, 2002
10. Open (4:03) originally released on You’ve Never Seen Everything, 2003
11. Put it In Your Heart (5:23) originally released on You’ve Never Seen Everything, 2003
12. Different When It Comes To You (2:57) originally released on Life Short Call Now, 2006
13. Call Me Rose (3:16) originally released on Small Source of Comfort, 2011
14. States I’m In (5:41) originally released on Bone on Bone, 2017

True North Records have also released a 50th Anniversary Box Set featuring three groundbreaking Bruce Cockburn recordings: his self-titled debut (1970), “The Charity of Night” (1997) and “Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu” (1999). Each album in the numbered boxed set has been remastered by Colin Linden and pressed on coloured vinyl.

Bruce Cockburn heads out on his rescheduled 50th Anniversary tour of North America in December (West Coast US), with dates on the Eastern Seaboard US through the Mid-West in February, and Canadian dates in April (Peterborough, Kitchener, Toronto, Ottawa and more). All of the shows will be solo performances featuring songs from every decade of Bruce Cockburn’s career. For more information visit brucecockburn.com.

Bruce Cockburn is already working on his next album. He released demo versions of four new songs (“On A Roll”, “Orders”, “When You Arrive” and “Us All”) as part of a fundraiser for San Francisco Lighthouse Church. Unfortunately we are unable to embed the video, but you can check it out on YouTube HERE.

“A few years ago I found myself attending a worship service at San Francisco Lighthouse (SFL). For the preceding couple of decades I had been operating on the assumption that the formal church and I had grown apart, so in a way it was a surprise to be there and feel as though it was where I was meant to be. That occasion led to an ongoing relationship with SFL — fools that they were, they let me play in the band!”

That’s all we have time for. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have lots of great music and interviews to bring you on future episodes.

If you enjoy the music we play on this show and want to support the artists – many of whom aren’t able to play live at the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, don’t just stream their music – that earns them much less than a penny per play. Instead, buy their music – and really make a difference to their income. They’ll love you for it!

Listen

You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)

Playlist

Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)

Bruce Cockburn
Pacing The Cage
Greatest Hits 1970-2020 (2021, True North Records) CDN

Interview: Bruce Cockburn discussing his new compilation “Greatest Hits 1970-2020” and 50th Anniversary Tour.

The Fretless
Wondering Where The Lions Are (Excerpt)
Open House (2021, Birthday Cake) CDN

Elizabeth Shepherd & Michael Occhipinti (ES:MO)
Wondering Where The Lions Are (Excerpt)
The Weight Of Hope (2021, Self) CDN

Bruce Cockburn
A Dream Like Mine
Greatest Hits 1970-2020 (2021, True North Records) CDN

Bruce Cockburn
Open
Greatest Hits 1970-2020 (2021, True North Records) CDN

Bruce Cockburn
People See Through You
Greatest Hits 1970-2020 (2021, True North Records) CDN

Bruce Cockburn
Us All / Orders (Excerpt)
Demo Sessions (2021, YouTube) CDN

Bruce Cockburn
Last Night Of The World
Greatest Hits 1970-2020 (2021, True North Records) CDN

Bruce Cockburn
If A Tree Falls
Greatest Hits 1970-2020 (2021, True North Records) CDN

About the author

JAN HALL

Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

2 Comments

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  • Great interview! Thank you very much. Besides being my favourite musician, Mr. Cockburn gives such thoughtful and interesting interviews when with the right interviewer.

  • Lovely. Thank you so much, Bruce. I’ve followed you – and been to your concerts – since the 1980s. Your autobiography, ‘Rumours of Glory’, has also touched me in a profound way. Too, I caught a few of your Lighthouse interviews, including the Hawaiian parable of talents analysed with your pastor. All good stuff. Cheers to the New Year 2022 – and thanks for your beautiful soul and many talents!

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