Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws

Bruce Cockburn - Dancing In The Dragon's Jaws - 1979/2002
Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws – 1979/2002

RELEASE DATE: 1979 / 2002
PURCHASE: iTunes | True North

* Bonus tracks on the remastered CD version released by Rounder Records in 2002.

Centred on silence
Counting on nothing
I saw you standing on the sea
And everything was
Dark except for
Sparks the wind struck from your hair
Sparks that turned to
Wings around you
Angel voices mixed with seabird cries
Fields of motion
Surging outward
Questions that contain their own replies…

You were dancing
I saw you dancing
Throwing your arms toward the sky
Fingers opening
Like flares
Stars were shooting everywhere
Lines of power
Bursting outward
Along the channels of your song
Mercury waves flashed
Under your feet
Shots of silver in the shell-pink dawn…

December 20, 1978 – Ottawa, Canada

Also On:>
Rumours Of Glory – 1985
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 1 – 2014

Underneath the mask of the sulphur sky
A bunch of us were busy waiting,
Watching the people looking ill-at-ease,
Watching the fraying rope get closer to breaking

Women and men moved back and forth
In between effect and cause
And just beyond the range of normal sight
This glittering joker was dancing in the dragon’s jaws

Let me be a little of your breath
Moving over the face of the deep —
I want to be a particle of your light
Flowing over the hills of morning

The only sign you gave of who you were
When you first came walking down the road,
Was the way the dust motes danced around
Your feet in a cloud of gold

But everything you see’s not the way it seems —
Tears can sing and joy shed tears.
You can take the wisdom of this world
And give it to the ones who think it all ends here

Let me be a little of your breath
Moving over the face of the deep —
I want to be a particle of your light
Flowing over the hills of morning

released 1979

Also On:>
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 1 – 2014

Mon corps se pence
Ma main s’entends
Prends du gravier
Un morcean blanc de coquille

Pour un instant
Un mugissement
L’antique mer
Rempli cet espace qui a ete le mien

Lozanges mobiles
Des herbes flottantes
Un cri soudain
D’oiseau flamboie au firmament

Une troupe d’antilopes
Traverse l’horizon
Sabots scintillants comme du verre

Un rire sonne comme le cristal
Dans le ciel vide —
Quelqu’un danse comme une flamme

TRANSLATION: “Badlands Flashback”
The body stoops
The hand goes out
Picks up from the gravel
A fragment of white seashell

For a moment
A roaring
The ancient sea
Fills the space that just now was mine

Moving diamond-shapes
Grasses flowing
The sudden cry of a bird
Blazes all along the sky

A herd of antelope
Crosses the horizon
Hooves scintillating like glass

A laugh rings like crystal
In the empty sky —
Someone is dancing like a flame!

Easter 1979 – Ottawa, Canada

Sunday night and it’s half past nine
Sunday night and it’s half past nine
Sunday night and it’s half past nine
I’m leaving one more town behind

Mirrors are showing the day’s last glow
Mirrors are showing the day’s last glow
Mirrors are showing the day’s last glow
As we’re spit out into the jigsaw flow

Ahead where there should be the thickness of night
Stars are pinned on a shimmering curtain of light

Sky full of rippling cliffs and chasms
That shine like signs on the road to heaven…

I’ve been cut by the beauty of jagged mountains
And cut by the love that flows like a fountain from God.

So I carry these scars, precious and rare,
And tonight I feel like I’m made of air…

August 27, 1978 – Calgary-Medicine Hat, Canada

After the rain in the streets light flows like blood
I can just taste salt on the humid wind

Here comes that gasoline
Spreading hungry rainbow over shiny black tar

I’m blown like smoke and blind as wind
Except for when your love breaks in

Maybe to those who love is given sight
To pierce the wall of seeming night
And know it pure beyond all imagining

Engine throb street cruise light bullet car flash
Hollow beauty night gleam oily river tension glass

Ultraflame! Glittering dust falling in slow motion
Clouds tumbling one over another into apparent emptiness

It’s like a big fist breaking down my door
I never felt such a love before

Maybe to those who love it’s given to hear
Music too high for the human ear
And clear as hydrogen to go singing

June 13 1979 – Toronto, Canada

Also On:
Bruce Cockburn Live 1990 / 2002

Sun’s up, uh huh, looks okay
The world survives into another day
And I’m thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

I had another dream about lions at the door
They weren’t half as frightening as they were before
But I’m thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Walls windows trees, waves coming through
You be in me and I’ll be in you
Together in eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Up among the firs where it smells so sweet
Or down in the valley where the river used to be
I got my mind on eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I’m wondering where the lions are…
I’m wondering where the lions are…

Huge orange flying boat rises off a lake
Thousand-year-old petroglyphs doing a double take
Pointing a finger at eternity
I’m sitting in the middle of this ecstasy

Young men marching, helmets shining in the sun,
Polished as precise like the brain behind the gun
(Should be!) they got me thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I’m wondering where the lions are…
I’m wondering where the lions are…

Freighters on the nod on the surface of the bay
One of these days we’re going to sail away,
going to sail into eternity
some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I’m wondering where the lions are…
I’m wondering where the lions are…

January 12,1979 – Ottawa, Canada

Also On:
Rumours Of Glory – 1985
Waiting For A Miracle – 1987
Bruce Cockburn Live 1990 / 2002
Anything Anytime Anywhere – 2002
Slice O Life – 2009
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 2 – 2014

I sneaked across the border — it was threatening rain —
So I could stand in this tunnel, waiting for the roaring train
And watch those black kids working out kung fu moves
If you don’t want to be the horses’ hoofprints you got to be the hooves

Hear that lonesome violin play
See the notes float up into the overcast
and change to white birds as they sail on through
and soar away free into incandescent blue

People getting ready behind all those rectangles of light
“Put on your grin mask, babe, you know we’re steppin out tonight”
You hear that sound, like hammers only small?
It’s what the people’s heads say when they beat them against the wall

Hear that lonesome violin play
See the notes float up into the overcast
and change to white birds as they sail on through
and soar away free into incandescent blue

Concrete vortex sucks down the wind
It’s howling like a blinded violin.
Oh — tongues of fire, come and kiss my brow
if I ever needed you, well I need you now

Hear that lonesome violin play
See the notes float up into the overcast
and change to white birds as they sail on through
and soar away free into incandescent blue

New York

Also On:
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 3 – 2014

Mist hangs above hills
Above mist hangs stone face of mountain
Above mountain face hangs a net of sky-
Crack! there are wings and they rip the net!

And the dance flows on
Everything flows toward the rim of that
Shining cup

Crossed sticks lie on earth
Between crossed sticks — pile of ash
Something rises on the wisp of smoke
Dog’s feet move by fast

And the dance flows on
Everything flows toward the rim of that
Shining cup

Through these channels/words
I want to touch you
Touch you deep down
Where you live
Not for power but
Because I love you
So
Love the Lord
And in Him love me too
And in Him go your way
And I’ll be right there with you
Leaving
No footprints when we go
No footprints when we go
Only where we’ve been, a faint and fading glow…

July 19, 1978 – Mainly Banff, Canada

released 2002

Instrumental

released 2002



Rounding out the 1970s and completing a trilogy of acoustic jazz/folk albums, that included “In The Falling Dark” and “Further Adventures Of”, Bruce Cockburn’s “Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws” stands as both an era-ending album and a cumulative release that nearly built in the strengths of its predecessors.
Featuring some of his finest guitar work ever the album was voted an “essential” recording by Acoustic Guitar Magazine, putting Cockburn in the prestigious company of such revered pickers as Django Reinhardt, Andrés Segovia, Bill Frisell and Mississippi John Hurt.
It also provided Cockburn with a commercial breakthrough on the strength of his buoyant Top 40 hit “Wondering Where The Lions Are”.

Album Info:

Produced by Eugene Martynec for True North Productions
Recorded by Gary Gray at Manta Sound, Toronto, May-June, 1979
Assistant: Frank Kitson

Musicians are:
Bruce Cockburn: Guitar, Chimes, Synthesizer, Dulcimer
Pat Godfrey: Piano and Marimba, Background Vocals (“Wondering Where the Lions Are”)
Robert Boucher: Bass
Bob DiSalle: Drums
Larry “Silky Fingers” Silvera: Bass and Background Vocals (“Wondering Where the Lions Are”)
Ben Bow: Drums and Background Vocals (“Wondering Where the Lions Are”)

Cover painting: Norval Morrisseau (1979)
Inside photograph: Christopher Dew
Art direction: Bart Schoales