Humans

Bruce Cockburn- Humans - 1980
Humans – 1980

RELEASE DATE: 1980 / 2003
PURCHASE: iTunes | True North

Humans 2003 release includes a live version of Grim Travellers*

Ministers meet — work on the movement of goods
Also work on the movement of capital
Also work on the movement of human beings
As if we were so many cattle

Grim travellers in dawn skies
See the beauty — makes you cry inside
Makes you angry and you don’t know why
Grim travellers in dawn skies

Twelve mercenaries got weapons primed
Gonna take that African nation in record time
You wonder why they bother, why not leave it alone
They say, “Every man wants to retire to a place he can call his own”

Those grim travellers in dawn skies
See the beauty — makes them cry inside
Makes them angry and they don’t know why
Grim travellers in dawn skies

Redness, richer than a rose
Blooms against the backdrop of somebody’s white clothes
Bitter little girls and boys from the Red Army Underground
They’d blow away Karl Marx if he had the nerve to come around

They’re just grim travellers in dawn skies
See the beauty — makes them cry inside
Makes them angry and they don’t know why
They’re grim travellers in dawn skies

Down on the plain of 10,000 smokestacks
Trucks butt each other to establish dominance
The newspaper next to me leans over and says matter-of-factly
“Sacred mountains towers above meadows” – uh huh – and above us

Grim travellers in dawn skies
I see the beauty — makes me cry inside
It makes me angry and I don’t know why
We’re grim travellers in dawn skies

released 1980

Also On:
Humans – 2003 (live version)

Above the dark town
After the sun’s gone down
Two vapour trails cross the sky
Catching the day’s last slow goodbye
Black skyline looks rich as velvet
Something is shining
Like gold but better
Rumours of glory

Smiles mixed with curses
The crowd disperses
About whom no details are known
Each one alone yet not alone
Behind the pain/fear
Etched on the faces
Something is shining
Like gold but better
Rumours of glory

You see the extremes
Of what humans can be?
In that distance some tension’s born
Energy surging like a storm
You plunge your hand in
And draw it back scorched
Beneath it’s shining like
Gold but better
Rumours of glory

December 31, 1979 – Burritt’s Rapids

Also On:
Rumours Of Glory – 1985
Waiting For A Miracle – 1987
Bruce Cockburn Live – 1990/2002
Humans – 2003 (live version)
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 3 – 2014

I don’t mean to cling to you my friends
It’s just I hate the day to have to end
Never enough time to spend
I haven’t done enough for this to be the end

There must be more… more…
More songs more warmth
More love more life
Not more fear not more fame
Not more money not more games

There — you — coming through the crowd
Blue light silhouettes your head
I want to shout your name out loud
But I shout inside instead

There must be more… more…
More current more spark
More touch deep in the heart
Not more thoughtless cruelty
Not more being this lonely…

Don’t I hear them talking?
Don’t I know what they say?
I’m a fool for thinking
Things could be better than they were today

There must be more… more…
More growth more truth
More chains more loose
Not more pain not more walls
Not more living human voodoo dolls

February 14, 1980 – Toronto, Canada

So I find out what the luxury of hate is
As exciting maybe as doing the dishes
Face toward window — light received
You walk away to see a film
See some people see a man
Stab in throat twist in gut all too clear
Not too new — all been done before
Planet breathes exhaustion
Staggers on
Wnemy anger impotent gun grease
Too many thoughts
Too dogshit tired
One small step for freedom
From foregone conclusion

You get bigger as you go
No one told me — I just know
Bales of memory like boats in tow
You get bigger as you go

You get bigger as you go
Spent all day afraid to talk
Redneck children laugh out loud
I being target live and walk

You get bigger as you go
Telephone snarls “don’t touch me”
You move in waves like the midnight blues
You vector of this weird dis-ease

You get bigger as you go
News reruns — dawn comes rainbow
Pain takes shape of grimy window
You get bigger as you go

March 23, 1980 – Ottawa, Canada

Disharmony gives way
To mute helplessness
Not enough communication
Too much not expressed

It’s all to easy
To let go of hope
To think there’s nothing worth saving
And let it all go up in smoke

What about the the bond?
What about the mystical unity?
What about the bond
Sealed in the loving presence of the Father?

Disfunction
Of the institutions
That should give a frame to work in
Got to find our own solutions

Confusion
Pressure from all sides
Got to head right down the centre
In the love that will abide

What about the the bond?
What about the mystical unity?
What about the bond
Sealed in the loving presence of the Father?

Man and woman
Made to be one flesh
Nobody said it would be easy
But can we let go now and fail the test?

Now you could say
Life is full of moving on
But do you want the pain that’s
Already been spent
To all be wasted — c’mon

What about the the bond?
What about the mystical unity?
What about the bond
Sealed in the loving presence of the Father?

March 28, 1980 – Ottawa, Canada

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

Sun went down looking like the eye of God
Behind icy mist and stark bare trees
Inside the dim empty cinema two guys in leather jackets
Glance at each other and shiver
“They never built these places with winter in mind”
Out the window down the gray road
You can see old walled monastery
Now become a barracks for the paramilitary police

I saw an old lady’s face once on a Japanese train
Half lit, rich with soft luminosity
She was dozing straight upright head bobbing almost imperceptibly
Wheels were playing fast in 9/8 time
Her husband’s friendly face suddenly folded up in a sneeze
Across the straight a volcano flew a white smoke flag of surrender

In a Roman street on a full moon night
I was sick and there was a young cop in a circle of yellow light
As we drew near he snapped the safety off his machine pistol
And slid a trembling finger to the trigger
I wanted to say something calming but couldn’t catch his eye
He didn’t want contact — he was trained to see movement
“Well don’t shoot me, man, I’m a graceful slow dancer
I’m just a dream to you not real at all”

I wonder if I’ll end up like Bernie in his dream
A displaced person in some foreign border town
Waiting for a train part hope part myth
While the station changes hands
Or just sitting at home growing tenser with the times
Or like that guy in “The Seventh Seal”
Watching the newly dead dance across the hills
Or wearing this leather jacket shivering with a friend
While the eye of God blazes at us like the sun…

Autumn 1979 – Pavia, Hokkaido, Paris

Also On:
Slice O Life – 2009
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 3 – 2014

Ships moving into this cave of cloud
Out of the white light up river
At a certain point you can only die

High contrast resolution
Of wet rock and new snow
These bodies remind me
Of tire marks frozen in the mud

We thought we could change something
We helped them win
We changed the slogans
We get hunted again
When you’re the fighter
You’re the politicians tool
When you’re the fighter
You’re everybody’s fool

They move like bears through city streets
They’ve got a flag flying over every factory
I’d like to put a bullet through the world

Wagon full of logs with one flat tire
Armed men moving down through the bush
Up river at a certain point you can…
Ships… white light… only

November 25, 1979 – Gorizia-Milan

8. Tokyo (3:25)

They’re getting prepared to haul a car out of the river
Noise and smoke and concrete seem to be going on forever
Grinding gears and drivers getting high on exhaust
I’m thinking about the water down below and what got lost

Pachinko jingle and space torpedo beams
Comic book violence and escaping steam
Grey suited business men pissing against the wall —
Cut to crumbling guardrail, slow motions car fall

Oh Tokyo — I never can sleep in your arms
Mind keeps on ringing like a fire alarm
Me and all these other dice bouncing around in the cup
Did you have to show me that accident scene
Didn’t I get enough shaking up?
Still I’m gonna miss you…

Dragon of good fortune struggles with trickster fox
Energy and patience and the power of the buck
Tonight I’m flying headlong
To meet the dark red edge of dawn
I know somebody will be crying
And somebody will be gone

Oh Tokyo — I never can sleep in your arms
Mind keeps on ringing like a fire alarm
Me and all these other dice bouncing around in the cup
Did you have to show me that accident scene
Didn’t I get enough shaking up?
Still I’m gonna miss you…

September 15, 1979 – Tokyo

Also On:
Rumours Of Glory – 1985
Waiting For A Miracle – 1987
Anything Anytime Anywhere – 2002

Fascist architecture of my own design
Too long been keeping my love confined
You tore me out of myself alive

Those fingers drawing out blood like sweat
While the magnificent facades crumble and burn
The billion facets of brilliant love
The billion facets of freedom turning in the light

Bloody nose and burning eyes
Raised in laughter to the skies
I’ve been in trouble but I’m ok
Been through the wringer but I’m ok
Walls are falling and I’m ok
Under the mercy and I’m ok

Gonna tell my old lady
Gonna tell my little girl
There isn’t anything in the world
That can lock up my love again

May 5,1980 – Denver, Colorado

Also On:>
Waiting For A Miracle – 1987
You Pay Your Money And You Take Your Chance – 1997
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 3 – 2014

Something jewelled slips away
Round the next bend with a splash
Laughing at the hands I hold out
Only air within their grasp
All you can do is praise the razor
For the fineness of the slash

‘Til the Rose above the sky
Opens
And the light behind the sun
Takes all

Gutless arrogance and rage
Burn apart the best of tries
You carry the weight of inherited sorrow
From your first day till you die
Toward that hilltop where the road
Forever becomes one with the sky

‘Til the Rose above the sky
Opens
And the light behind the sun
Takes all

Ozone on the midnight wind
Got me thinking of the sea
And the mercies of the currents that brought
Me to you and you to me
And in the silence at the heart of things
Where all true meetings come to be

‘Til the Rose above the sky
Opens
And the light behind the sun
Takes all

August 1979 – Ottawa

Also On:>
Rumours Of Glory – 1985

11. Grim Travellers (live version) 2003 release



Ranked by many as Bruce Cockburn’s best album, Humans is a watershed release in the acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter’s stellar career. Humans represented the first of Cockburn’s more electric, rock-oriented releases, after the trilogy of acoustic jazz folk recordings that culminated in 1979’s Dancing in the Dragon’s laws. The latter produced the reggae-flavored “Wondering Where The Lions are,” which became a Top 40 hit in both Canada and the United States. Where “Lions” featured the rhythm section of Jamaican star Leroy Sibbles ‘group. Humans’ anthemic “Rumours of Glory,” with its bouncy bass, added the reggae legend himself on backup vocals. Cockburn, wielding an electric guitar and backed by such new band members as violonist Hugh Marsh and keyboardist Jon Goldsmith, infused the entire album with a tougher, more uptempo sound.

Album Info:

Words and music by Bruce Cockburn
© Golden Mountain Music (SOCAN)
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission
Produced by Eugene Martynec for True North Productions

The Musicians Are:
Bruce Cockburn: Guitar and Vocals
Dennis Pendrith: Bass
Jon Goldsmith: Keyboards
Hugh Marsh: Violin
Patricia Cullen: Synthesizer
Pat LaBarbera: Reeds
Bob DiSalle: Drums
Kathy Moses, Beverly Glen-Copeland, Rachel Paiement*: Background Vocals

The Musicians on “Rumours of Glory” Are:
Bruce Cockburn: Guitar and Vocals
Tony Hibbery: Bass
Bernie Pitters: Keyboards
Ben Bow: Drums
Brian Leonard: Percussion
Leroy Sibbles, Mickey Edwards, Murray McLauchian: Background Vocals

*Rachel Paiemont appears courtesy of A & M Records.

Engineered by Gary Gray
Assisted by Dave Taylor
Mastered by George Marino, Sterling Sound, NY
Remastered by Vlado Meller, Sony Music Studio Operations, NY
Recorded at Manta Sound, Toronto July-August 1980
Art Direction: Bart Schoales
Photography: Roberto Masotti, Milano
Invaluable Assistance and General Bad Influence: Stuart Raven-Hill