That Cockburn Sleeve

via Daily Prompt: Sleeve


Contrary to the nay-sayers of the 80s the vinyl LP has hung around. My Bruce Cockburn album “Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaw” from 1979. The one that finally brought him to international attention, especially in the US. Cockburn, a Canadian, was quite popular in his native Canada, but until this album (don’t think I’ve used that term in a while) was only ever on the fringe elsewhere. The cover is a painting by Ojibwa artist Norval Morrisseau.

The cardboard outer was earlier called a record jacket, technically it was a protective sleeve that became an artform in itself in the late 60s. The plastic liner was an inner sleeve, an anti-scratch protection. Earlier eras used paper inners, even as jackets in some cases (especially on the old 78 rpm – a brown paper jacket).

Bruce Cockburn is a folk-rock artist (sometimes called the bearded mystic) who has been an activist for environmental and humanitarian issues through his writing and performing. He has been associated with Oxfam, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, World Vision, Friends of the Earth and more. He has advocated for humanitarian aid in Mozambique, Iraq, Mali, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Honduras and more. He has toured to raise funds for humanitarian crisis relief, including being a leading spokesperson for the banning of landmines, and on the subject of third world debt. He stood with the Haida people of British Columbia in their land claim struggle, and has also raised money for aid for former child soldiers. Just a sample of his commitments. He once stated that his music asks something from the listener, it invites the listener to get involved in the causes, or he asks existential questions, a more general raising of awareness of issues and questioning the listener’s stance.

Cockburn came to my attention through a friend in 79, who urged me to have a listen to this guy who wrote amazing lyrics. I did and I was hooked. But I was hooked again by his personal beliefs, his political stance, his activism. For me he embodied the meaning of integrity and commitment. I aspire to that.

Cockburn is respected by his contemporaries and younger artists, and has worked with a number of rock and folk luminaries throughout his career. He has recorded over 300 songes and made 33 albums. However, Cockburn hasn’t aimed at fame, instead he has given back to his community, and indeed to the world through his writing and activism. I would say he has invested in people and the environment.

I’d like a few more Bruce Cockburn’s around, but then, we’re here!



Filed under environment, history, life, mindfulness, music, politics

22 responses to “That Cockburn Sleeve

  1. You tore me out of myself alive.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow, thanks Nic, and thanks for reading.


      • I realise now that I have quoted from “Fascist Architecture” – I tend to conflate “Humans” and the subsequent “Dancing in the Dragons Jaws” albums. I think the seeds for Dancing are contained in Fascist Architecture. In any event it is truly a great work of music, one which has been with me for over 3 decades, and Bruce Cockburn is probably the most influential songwriter in my life, despite his not having the popular acclaim of say Paul Simon, Lennon/McCartney, or Leonard Cohen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was impressed with your ready to hand quote. Thanks. And applaud your love of this great artist


  2. Hey Paul, thanks for introducing Bruce! I looked him up and see he was performing here in Phoenix, Arizona just last week and, of course, I had no clue. Wahhhh. But I’ll check out his videos on YouTube and really appreciate the wonderful portrait you’ve painted of him as an activist and gentle person. Someone we can all look to for how to be careful with our planet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Cindi, enjoyed your response, glad you liked reading about him. Happy viewing. He tours North America frequently, but sadly hasn’t been down here since the late 80s.


  3. how inspiring! Thanks for bringing this guy to my attention … I’d like to think I was a blogging Cockburn. Just not into the fund raising bit …

    Liked by 2 people

  4. One of my all time favourite Canadian Folk Artists, for all the reasons you listed. I will be going to see him at the Regina Folk Festival this summer!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lyn Cannon

    Well said


    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve been to Canada quite a few times, I grew up just a few hours’ drive to Ontario or Quebec, but have never seen him perform. The radio stations there seem to be continuing their “Canadian Content” quotas, so he and Gordon Lightfoot are heard pretty much every hour. I like his “Charity of Night” album, from ten years ago, and the song “The Coming Rains.” this is a download, I don’t have the actual album, and when I found the cover/jacket/sleeve online, I realize it has an assault rifle as part of the image.

    Liked by 2 people

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