Slice O Life – Live Solo

Bruce Cockburn - Slice O Life - Live Solo - 2009
Slice O’ Life – Live Solo – 2009

RELEASE DATE: March 31, 2009
PURCHASE: itunes | True North

Songs are linked to original album for lyrics.
Songs marked with ** are new songs.
And ++ indicates stories about the songs.

Disc One

1. Intro – Applause (0:46)
2. World Of Wonders (5:59)
3. Lovers In A Dangerous Time (4:36)
4. Mercenary Story ++ (3:07)
5. See You Tomorrow (4:41)
6. Last Night Of The World (4:52)
7. How I Spent My Fall Vacation (6:17)
8. Tibetan Side of Town (6:29)
9. Pacing The Cage (5:05)
10. Bearded Folk Singer Story ++(1:17)
11. End Of All Rivers (5:47)
12. Soul OF A Man (4:20)

Disc Two

1. Wait No More (5:49)

The citys hungry
Hear that rumblin under ground
The citys hungry
Hear that rumblin under ground

You better think twice
Before you go downtown

Man on a park bench
Face in a paper sack
Man on a park bench
Face in a paper sack

Look at him flyin
Above those tall smoke stacks

River wrapped in concrete
Hills made to stand in chains ?
River wrapped in concrete
Hills made to stand in chains ?

Ain’t the city pretty
Shines like tear drops when it rains

The citys hungry
Hear that rumblin under ground
The citys hungry
Hear that rumblin under ground

My baby grabs me
She starts to dance around
She starts to dance around
She starts to dance around

Brooklyn, New York

Bruce Cockburn

3. Put It In Your Heart (5:11)
4. Tramps In The Street Story ++ (1:27)
5. Wondering Where The Lions Are (4:49)
6. If A Tree Falls (6:08)
7. Celestial Horses (7:48)
8. If I Had A Rocket Launcher (5:57)
9. Child Of The Wind (4:41)
10. Tie Me At The Crossroads (3:45)


It takes to long to think of things like leaving.
I’m happy where I am.
I don’t know where I am,
But the trains don’t go there anymore.

If you want to see me drop a line
I’ll catch it if I can
And give it back to you
And we won’t be lonely anymore,

Now can you see I’m sort of lost here?
With no idea where to go.
You know I’d send for you
But the trains don’t run here anymore.
No the trains don’t run here anymore.Brooklyn, New York

This song was co-written by Bill Hawkins

Bruce Cockburn

12. Kit Carson – Soundcheck (4:53)
13. Mama Just Wants To Barrelhouse All Night Long (5:06)

Bruce Cockburn – Slice O Life / Live Solo – by Nick Jennings

The best live albums create the illusion of being there, witnessing an artist in a memorable performance. Bruce Cockburn has recorded three previous live recordings: Circles in the Stream (1977), Live (1990) and You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance (1997), each critically acclaimed and featuring Cockburn in concert with a backing band. Now, the celebrated musician-activist delivers something new: his first-ever live solo album.

Recorded last spring (2008) over a series of dates in the northeastern United States and one in Quebec, Slice O Life is a double CD that showcases a cross-section of Cockburn’s finest songs and some of his most dazzling guitar work. The album, produced by longtime associate Colin Linden, also includes one new song, ‘City is Hungry,’ three tracks recorded at sound checks on the tour and some between-song banter that shows Cockburn to be both a quick wit and an engaging storyteller.

Slice O Life features such hits as Cockburn’s controversial ‘If I Had a Rocket Launcher,’ his classic ‘Lovers in a Dangerous Time’ and his breakthrough ‘Wondering Where the Lions Are,’ which he rightly quips may be the only song ever to make the Billboard chart that includes the word ‘petroglyph.’ Originally recorded with a full band, these and other songs like ‘World of Wonders’ have been rearranged and performed on acoustic guitar—often with stunning results. In particular, the polyrhythmic solo on ‘Rocket Launcher,’ full of complex, cascading notes, is especially mesmerizing.

Besides the hits, the album recasts lesser-known songs such as ‘Wait No More’ and ‘Celestial Horses,’ both originally featured on Cockburn’s 2003 album You’ve Never Seen Everything, in a dramatic new light. The latter, full of slow, haunting reverb, now seems like an overlooked psych-folk masterpiece, while the former, played in a fast, bluesy drone on a Dobro guitar, takes on a compelling urgency. Similarly on ‘Tibetan Side of Town,’ Cockburn’s single guitar conveys a full, rich accompaniment—fluid, jazzy treble notes and Big Bill Broonzy-style droning bass notes—for his vivid tale of sensory nights in Katmandu.

Cockburn has often cited the influence of the blues on his music, especially the work of country-blues pioneers like Mississippi John Hurt. The blues tinge shines through in several other performances on Slice O Life, including Cockburn’s gut-wrenching rendition of Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘Soul of a Man’ and ‘City is Hungry,’ an hypnotic urban blues number in which Cockburn warns “hear that rumbling underground/better think twice before you go downtown.”

Meanwhile, the sound checks and introductions to songs reveal another side of the award-winning artist. One sound check involves Cockburn jamming wildly on his 12-string guitar before segueing into ‘The Trains Don’t Go There Anymore,’ a rare track he co-wrote in the 1960s with Ottawa poet Bill Hawkins. Cockburn’s humor comes across in anecdotes about panhandlers who claim to know his music and a mercenary who once offered him a summer job as a gun-runner while he was a student at Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music.

Fortunately for us, Cockburn turned down the job and stuck with music. Over 35 years, the Ottawa-born musician has recorded almost as many albums while earning respect for his charitable and activist work. “My job is to try and trap the spirit of things in the scratches of pen on paper, in the pulling of notes out of metal,” Cockburn said when he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2001. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada and has been the recipient of honorary degrees in Letters and Music from several North American universities, including Berklee and Toronto’s York University. His many other awards have included the Tenco Award for Lifetime Achievement in Italy and 20 gold and platinum awards in Canada.

As a songwriter, Cockburn is revered by fans and musicians alike. His songs have been covered by such diverse artists as Elbow, Jimmy Buffett, Judy Collins, the Skydiggers, Anne Murray, Third World, Chet Atkins, k.d. lang, Barenaked Ladies, Maria Muldaur and the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. As a guitarist, he is considered among the world’s best. The New York Times called Cockburn a “virtuoso on guitar,” while Acoustic Guitar magazine placed him in the esteemed company of Andrés Segovia, Bill Frisell and Django Reinhardt. With Slice O Life, all of Cockburn’s formidable gifts are on full display. ~ Nick Jennings

Album Info:

Liner Notes written by Bruce Cockburn:

Over the years, several live CD’s have come out with my name on them. For purely circumstantial reasons, they been recordings of me with bands I’ve had at the time. I’ve liked this, because each band has been unique and interesting, and it’s felt good to have some of the performances preserved and made available to listeners who might not have heard them in person.

Those CDs have been well received, but there have always been people requesting a solo live album. Since half of what I do is solo, this made sense. So here it is. Sorry it took so long.

These performances are drawn from ten concerts recorded in May ’08. We’ve made an effort to put them together as one show, in the hope of giving you the feeling of being present in the flesh. For the same reason, we chose not to apply too much polish. What you hear is what it was.

We recorded all the sound checks as well as the shows. Out of these we captured songs and some random playing which turned out quite well but never ended up in the formal events. Bernie Finkelstein had the thought that we should create a section of the album to accommodate some of these. I liked this idea, and so as well as the concert, you’ll hear “the sound check.” (Maybe someday we’ll do a whole CD of sound check stuff.)

I think that’s all I need to tell you. Thanks are due to Bernie, Colin Linden, Jon Erickson, Steve Martin and Joshua Dick for making both the tour and the recording happen, and to all the promoters and venues involved, whose cooperation was crucial.

A special thank you to Linda Manzer for her guitars.

Hope you enjoy this little slice of the touring life!


Produced by Colin Linden
Recorded Live between May 14 and May 25 at Northhampton MA,
Boston MA, Ithaca NY, Rochester NY, Sellersville PA,

Recorded by Colin Linen & Jon Erickson

Mixed by Colin Linden
at Kampo Studio C New York & Pinhead Recorders, Toronto
Assisted by Jonathan Altschuler

Mastered by Greg Calbi at sterling Sound, New York New York

Photography by Joel Goldberg &Kiarash Sadigh
Courtesy of Riddle Films Inc.

Art direction, design, layout & video stills selected by
A Man Called Wrycraft

Colin Linden thanks Janice Powers, Pat Dellett, Roma Baran
Ethan Coen, Greg Calbi, Brian “Brain” Harrison,
Jeff long at Long & McQuade Music-Toronto, John Whynot

All songs written by Bruce Cockburn.
Published by Golden Mountain Music Corp. (SOCAN)
Except: Silhouettes written by Bob Crewe and Frank Slay Jr. published
by Regent Music Corp., Soul Of A Man written by Blind Willie Johnson
/arrangement by Bruce Cockburn published by Golden Mountain Music
Corp. and The Trains Don’t Run Here Anymore written by
Bruce Cockburn & William Hawkins and published by Bytown Music.

We acknowledge the finacial support of the Government of Canada
through the Canada Music Fund for this project.

Tour Management and Front of House Sound: Jon Erickson
Bus Driver: Jon Glas Bus Supplied by Haljoe Coaches

US Agents and good friends:
Steve Martin and Joshua Dick at The Agency Group New York.

The Finkelstein Management Company
137 Berkeley Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 2X1
PH: 416-596-8696 ex 222
FX: 416-596-6861 /
© Bruce D. Cockburn Ent.under exclusive license to High Romance Music Inc.
Marketed and Distributed by True North Records. All Rights Reserved. Made in Canada.