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New Bruce Cockburn Box Set Timed To True North Records Anniversary

by Nick Krewen – fyimusicnews.ca

As much as this vinyl-exclusive three-album collection of Bruce Cockburn, The Charity Of Night and Breakfast In New Orleans…Dinner In Timbuktu commemorates the five decades that the Ottawa-born singer, songwriter and master guitarist has been a recording artist, it also serves as a celebration of 50 years of True North Records, the label started in 1969 by Cockburn’s manager, impresario Bernie Finkelstein.

Remastered by Colin Linden and limited to 750 multi-coloured 5LP sets personally signed by Cockburn, manufactured by Toronto-based Microforum Vinyl Record Pressing, and available exclusively via Linus Entertainment, The True North 50th Anniversary Box Set also honours the loyal professional relationship between the singer/songwriter and his manager.

And the secret sauce to the 50-year-plus management relationship between Bernie Finkelstein and his star client?

“First off, I’m a real admirer of his music – all 34 albums of it,” Finkelstein replied in an interview. “There are 350 to 500 songs out there and I’m probably one of the only people alive that knows them all.

“We’ve done quite well, which helps. The fact that I know all his music wouldn’t mean anything if, you know, if we were down in the dumps all the time.

“Bruce is also very, very easy to work with,” Finkelstein continues. “This is going to sound very simple – and perhaps very simplistic – but if I didn’t call him, I’m not sure he’d ever call me, because he’s not really a big-time careerist.

“It can be very frustrating because Bruce could be even bigger than he is now if he wanted to be. He’s quite content to continue to do things the way that he does it.”

From the artist’s standpoint, Bruce Cockburn says Finkelstein possesses a number of laudable traits.

“He’s an interesting character on so many levels,” said Cockburn recently from his San Francisco haunt. “I so admire him. I admire his gift for strategizing. I admire his love of the music, which is deep and genuine.

“He’s a business guy and he thinks like a business guy, but in contrast to other certain people that I’ve run into over the years, he has a really deep understanding of music and very good ears. Although he and I may disagree over this or that or the other thing, when it comes down to it, Bernie’s appreciation of the song is as informed and as sensitive as anybody’s could be.

“That had a lot to do with it – and he was doing what he was doing for the money. He could have made more money doing it for someone else,’” Cockburn laughs. “So, I appreciate the fact that he’s put in all that time and loyalty – I think we’ve been loyal to each other. I’m sure that’s part of it.”

With such a longstanding and mutually rewarding relationship, you’d think there’d be frequent backyard BBQs or frequent socializing.

Surprisingly, Finkelstein says that’s not the case.

“We don’t share much socially,” he explains. “We don’t hang out a lot – especially with him in San Francisco and me here, we never did. I think all of those things add up to a relationship that doesn’t get too complicated by other complex things.”

But Finkelstein says he and Cockburn do have certain commonalities.

“We both like getting things done and making sure that things are the best that we can do, all the time. In Bruce’s songs, he’s often referring to things like eclipses and event horizons and things like that that he just drops into songs. We both have a real interest in that kind of thing.”

Bernie Finkelstein - Bruce Cockburn - Geoff Kulawick

Obviously though, the relationship is important enough to both men that when Finkelstein sold True North, he and Cockburn maintained their handshake management association.

“When I sold True North in late 2007 [to Geoff Kulawick, Harvey Glatt and Michael Pilon], I decided that I was going to mostly retire from the music business, but I thought that Bruce and myself had some unfinished business to do,” he notes.

“So, we stayed on and it’s been another 12 or 13 years since I did that. Things keep rolling along. It’s almost taken a pandemic to make us stop.”

Distributed physically by Cadence/Fontana North, designed by Juno award winner A Man Called Wrycraft, and featuring new liner notes from author and music historian Nicholas Jennings, The True North 50th Anniversary Box Set is available for $199.00 (CDN) through Linus and north of $200 on Amazon.

The album flats were shipped to San Francisco for Cockburn to sign at home, then shipped back over the border for assembly. The handsome box set also features a new True North logo designed by Brooke Kulawick and all copies are individually numbered.

As far as the True North label history is concerned, Finkelstein is happy he provided a creative home to help establish acts like Murray McLauchlan, Barney Bentall, Rough Trade and Blackie and The Rodeo Kings – and on the management side, in partnership with Bernie Fiedler – Dan Hill.

“I miss that old label. I’m very, very proud of the work I did with Murray McLauchlan, Rough Trade and all the rest,” said Finkelstein. “We had our fair share of hits, but the one thing we never lost sight of was high quality, not to chase the commercial end of the business.”

In terms of the inclusion of Bruce Cockburn, The Charity of Night and Breakfast in New Orleans…Dinner In Timbuktu as box set choices, Cockburn says it makes sense.

“Of course, you’re going to put the first album on the 50th-anniversary set,” Cockburn notes. “ But the other ones were chosen consciously because they represent stuff I’ve done in a way that’s as good as it gets. Those albums are, within themselves, very complete expressions of the time and set of situations. And they work very well musically.
“Once in a while I’ll hear a track from an older album and think,’ Wow, geez, that was pretty good!!’” he laughs. “It surprises me, not because I forget, but because the path becomes a big wash. When something pops out of that wash that is noteworthy, it catches my attention.”

Cockburn may be contemplating a new album…or not.

“I’m not much of a planner – I never have been, “ he admits. “This year was supposed to be filled with 50th anniversary touring, which of course, it isn’t. We’ll see what of that we’ll be able to apply to next year, but we had that instrumental album that came out a year ago that was going to be one of the things celebrated in that 50th-anniversary tour.

“So, I hadn’t thought much about a next album, really, as I still had the intention and desire of one day doing an album of other people’s songs. I was sort of thinking, well, maybe now’s the time for that. But I’ve got three new songs and now I’m thinking, maybe it isn’t yet time for that.”

Credit: www.fyimusicnews.ca


Bruce Cockburn and True North Records are excited to announce Bruce Cockburn’s ‘True North- A 50th Anniversary Box Set’

4 May 2020 – TORONTO, ON, May 4, 2020 — To be active and relevant in music for 50 years is a significant achievement for any individual recording artist. The same can be said for any independent record label. To achieve this milestone together as an artist and label team without interruption, has to be one of the most extraordinarily rare events in music.

Bruce Cockburn -True North - 50th Anniversay - vinyl box set

To celebrate this milestone, Bruce Cockburn and True North Records have produced True North – A 50th Anniversary Box Set, a Limited Edition vinyl box set containing three of Bruce’s most significant recordings. The first album where it all started, the self-titled debut Bruce Cockburn along with two albums that have never before been released on vinyl; The Charity of Night and Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu. Each album has been re-mastered by Bruce’s long-time producer Colin Linden, and is pressed on coloured vinyl. The five-180 gram discs are contained in original artwork sleeves adapted from the original designs by the acclaimed graphic designer Michael Wrycraft, and housed in an individually numbered box signed personally by the artist. There will be only a limited initial pressing.

Bruce Cockburn was the first artist signed to True North Records, the tenacious independent label founded by Bruce’s manager Bernie Finkelstein and first operated from a Yorkville Avenue phone booth. Bruce’s debut self titled album was the label’s first album release on April 7, 1970, produced by Eugene Martynec, with the catalog number TN1. Fifty years on, Bruce Cockburn still records for True North Records, which released his 34th album “Crowing Ignites” in late 2019.

Bruce says, “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. 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 50 years of recording, performing, and travel, not to mention relationships and personal challenges,” he continued, “I can only shake my head and mutter a word of thanks for all of it.”

Cockburn concluded: “Even if I’d been a planner by nature, I doubt I could have predicted how things have gone… and they’re still going!”

Pre-order your copy now! Limited Edition, Numbered Albums available! A limited number of True North – A 50th Anniversary Box Sets are being produced. All orders will be shipped to arrive on September 25th, 2020 . Lowest box numbers will be assigned to the earliest orders.

Cockburn has also scheduled fall tour dates celebrating the 50th Anniversary.
Additional updates and ticket information can be found through the official Bruce Cockburn website and the complete list of tour dates is below.

Although Mr. Finkelstein sold True North Records to entrepreneurs Geoff Kulawick, Harvey Glatt and Michael Pilon in 2007, True North continues to be a vital independent label signing and releasing records by Bruce alongside many of Canada’s leading singer-songwriters and musicians including Buffy Sainte-Marie, Murray McLauchlan, Matt Andersen, Colin James, Sass Jordan, Sue Foley, Natalie MacMaster and Jimmy Rankin.

Bruce Cockburn: True North – A 50th Anniversary Box Set – TND750 – Bruce Cockburn (LP) | A Charity of Night (2LP) | Breakfast In New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu (2LP) – 5 x 180 Gram Colored Vinyl Discs original artwork sleeves.

Bruce Cockburn 2020 anniversary Tour Dates.

~from True North Records.


Bruce Cockburn - World Of Wonders - 1986

World Of Wonders

Bruce Cockburn - World Of Wonders - 1986
World Of Wonders – 1986

RELEASE DATE: 1986
PURCHASE: iTunes | True North


World Of Wonders – vinyl edition
RELEASE DATE: 2 November 2010
PURCHASE: True North
CAT #TNV003

This limited edition 180g vinyl release includes a digital download card featuring all tracks from the original, full–length CD.

Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor

Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament —
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called “developed” nations’
Idolatry of ideology

North South East West
Kill the best and buy the rest
It’s just spend a buck to make a buck
You don’t really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid-off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
Open for business like a cheap bordello

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

November 1985 – Toronto, Canada

Also On:
Waiting For A Miracle – 1987
Bruce Cockburn – Live – 1990 / 2002
You Pay Your Money And You Take Your Chance – 1997
Anything Anytime Anywhere – 2002
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 4 – 2014

Over the slow slide of continents
Over the salt pans pipelines masts and pavilions
Shimmering crescent moon recedes into working dawn —
Lone crow against pallid sky
Single plume of white smoke on yellow speckled plain
Yellowing leaves sparkle in cold breeze —
Wave patterns among wave patterns
Particles disperse and rejoin
Dissolve and reform like the lining of a womb
Still
The cold of your absence blows from
The silent TV, the parking lot
The balcony with clothes waving good-bye/hello

In the rising day
You keep fading away
Don’t I know that you’re always around
I can reach you if I try
Lily of the midnight sky

Solders of sunrise — shooting into a forest of flowers
Slow motion
Petals float into pink crimson white
Grow wings
Flutter into mountainous distance
Flutter like a stadium full of applauding hands
I raise a fist to the marauding sun that has hidden you away
I’m the rag in a bottle of gasoline
Longing to ignite
Ich will alles
All of you — shining on the panther skin of night
Mirrored in a black lake in a night that glistens like blood on gold

Nobody else could be you
If only I could see you
I should be able to touch you somehow
I can reach you if I try
Lily of the midnight sky

While you look from on high
Spare a smile as I
Put on my dog mask and howl for you
I can reach you if I try
Lily of the midnight sky

November 11, 1984 – Boulder, Colorado

Stand on a bridge before the cavern of night
Darkness alive with possibility
Nose to this wind full of twinkling lights
Trying to catch the scent of what’s coming to be (in this…)

World of wonders…

Somewhere a saxophone slides through changes
Like a wet pipe dripping down my neck
Gives me a chill — sounds like danger
But I can’t stop moving till I cross this sector (of this…)

World of wonders…

There’s a rainbow shining in a bead of spittle
Falling diamonds in rattling rain
Light flexed on moving muscle
I stand here dazzled with my heart in flames (at this…)

World of wonders…

Moment of peace like brief arctic bloom
Red/gold ripple of the sun going down
Line of black hills makes my bed
Sky full of love pulled over my head

World of wonders…

June 1985 – Toronto, Canada

Also On:
Bruce Cockburn – Live – 1990 / 2002
Slice O Life – 2009

Dull twilight spits hesitant sulphur rain
Sky been down around our ears for weeks
Only once — gap-glimpsed moon over that anal-retentive border wall
As we laughed through some midnight checkpoint under yellow urban cloud

Weeks of frantic motion — petrol veins of Europe pumping
Through scratchy acid-bitten transparent winter trees
Through brownish haze that makes a ghost of the horizon
I’m rushing after some ever-receding destination

Berlin tonight
Table-dancing in black tights
Waving a silver crutch in the blue lights
Shapechanging over glass
On the front line of the last gasp

Green shoots of winter wheat and patches of snow
Russian walks dog in Saxon field
From the top of a solitary tree like the one on the flag of Lebanon
Unblinking eye of hawk follows traffic on the autobahn

Tank convoy winds down smokestack valley
Pround chemical pennants wave against the sky
Turret gunner laughs when I throw up my hands
I’m all glasses and grin to him under my “commie” fur hat

Berlin tonight
Table-dancing in black tights
Waving a silver crutch in the blue lights
Shapechanging over glass
On the front line of the last gasp

February 1985 – 2 Germanies

Also On:
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 4 – 2014

You’ve got covert action
Prejudice to extremes
You’ve got primitive cunning
And high tech means
You’ve got eyes everywhere
But people see through you

You’ve got good manipulators
Got your store of dupes
You’ve got the idiot clamour
Of your lobby groups
You like to play on fears
But people see through you

You’ve got instant communication
Instant data tabulation
You got the forces of occupation
But you don’t get capitulation
Cause people see through you

You’ve got the sounding brass
You’ve got the triumph of the will
You do what you want to
And we pay the bills
you hype the need for sacrifice
but people see through you

You’ve got anti-matter language
Contrived to conceal
You’ve been lying so long
You don’t know what’s real
You’re a figment of your own imagination
And people see through you

You’ve got lip service tributaries
You’ve got death fetish mercenaries
You hold the tickets to the cemetaries
You’re big and bad and scary
But people see through you

August 25, 1985 – Bridgenorth

Also On:
Waiting For A Miracle – 1987
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 4 – 2014

Rays of the moon make magic in the streets of the city
All the people get strange but their faces look so pretty
The walking graffiti, survivalist bums
Even the secret police shout that you’re the one
See how I miss you

Every psychopath gets his own magazine these days
I just read about how I can kill in a hundred ways
But I don’t want to cause anybody pain
I only want to hold you in my arms again
See how I miss you

I watch this woman in a tight sequined lizard dress —
Tosses her scarlet hair like a sly caress
She got midnight voice like some beckoning saint
She got something special but you she ain’t
See how I miss you

November 1985 – Toronto, Canada

Also On:
Waiting For A Miracle – 1987
Bruce Cockburn – Live – 1990 / 2002

Something moves in the still dark hours
Sunday in a shanty town
Wyelids open two by two
But not a single light goes on

Tension builds as the only sound
Is the quiet clash of metal and boots
And now and then an order barked
At the bullies in the drab green suits

Military thugs with their dogs and clubs
Spreading through the poblacion
Hunting whoever still has a voice
Sure that everyone will run

They come in strong but it’s not that long
Before they know it’s not so easy to leave
To keep a million homeless down takes more
Than a strong arm up your sleeve

At the crack of dawn the first door goes down
Snapped off a makeshift frame
In a matter of minutes the first rock flies
Barricades burst into flame

First mass rings through smoke and gas
Day flowers out of the night
Creatures of the dark in disarray
Fall before the morning light

Bells of rage — bells of hope
As the ten-year night wears down
Sisters and brothers are coming home
To see the Santiago dawn

Santiago sunrise
See them marching home
See them rising like grass through cement
In the Santiago dawn

I got a dream and I’m not alone
Darkness dead and gone
All the people marching home
Kissing the rush of dawn

Santiago sunrise
See them marching home
See them rising like grass through cement
In the Santiago dawn

December 1983 – Santiago

Also On:
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 7 – 2014

Praying mantis on screen
Canoes prowl reef in early morning sun
As it flashes on the rhythmic fall of weed cutter’s cutlass blade
Everybody’s got something to sell besides the obvious dollars and dope
Aloe rub, starfish, vegetable patties, braid your hair miss and bush doctor cures
Sudden angry eruption between aloe peddler and man with property to protect
Muscular security guard with truncheon of twisted wire
“Kiss my blood clot” she hisses and they’re enemies for life
In the beach front bar they’re playing reggae versions of Jim Reeves’ Greatest Hits
The waitress sings along, eyes focused dreamily on that sentimental world and there’s Dancing in Paradise…

Blue green ship in turquoise bay
Swollen bauxite-red river rushing
Stream rising from feathered bamboo hills
Tracks once paved now falling away into deep lush valleys
And the farmed-out road contracts pass through so many hands
The print erodes with the weather-worn blacktop
And the jungle’s always trying to reclaim the right of way
And the mangoes cacao turmeric goats soursop
Mushrooms cane plantains limes
Horses crayfish long-legged birds donkeys
Curved horns of cattle above dense grass
Ganja sensitive plant ackee
And some thorn whose prick brings lockjaw
And tires torn by sharp yellow rocks —
Young girl stares pensively from dark door in pale blue wall
Big About and friends at their crossroads bar
With its dirt corral for dancing
Drink soursop juice all day long
In quest of the perpetual stiff bamboo
And there’s Dancing in Paradise…

Biggy Dread gunned down by police at Big Bridge March 16
Riding a mule cart to Sav-la-Mar pulled out a cutlass and they had to shoot
That’s what they say
Something tells me they like to shoot
Something in the eyes of the ones at the road block
Where they searched the car and tried to get us to confess to whatever…
There’s truncheons and gas down in Harbour St.
Typical response where life isn’t so sweet
And somebody gets desperate enough to say so
Price of fish price of flour
Going up up up almost by the hour
And they throw away money on spectacular shows
To show the world the right likes the right music
And the Prime Minister sucks ice cream in the company of a happy band of children
While a naked man, sores on his neck,
Lies for days in Washington Blvd. gnawing chicken bones
And the Chamber of Commerce thinks there’s too much crime
And there’s a kung fu movie in every town
And there’s Dancing in Paradise…

Easter 1985 – Jamaica

Sweet wind blowing off the bay
Sweeping the heat of the day away
Making the leaves of the palm trees sway
Down here tonight everything’s okay

Net’s coming in and the anchor’s down
Hour of darkness comes around
Stars dust the sky and the lights go on
Soon tonight will be filled with song

Pans gonna play and the fire burn bright
Talking drums say everything’s all right
Beating of the sea sends a message
To the far starlight
“We’re doing okay down here tonight”

The end of the road’s still far away
But the travelling’s better by the light of day
This hour of darkness is the time to dance
Lay down your burdens — give the beat a chance

Pans gonna play and the fire burn bright
Talking drums say everything’s all right
Beating of the sea sends a message
To the far starlight
“We’re doing okay down here tonight”

January 1984 – Tobago



One of Bruce Cockburn’s most politically driven albums. Featuring “Call it Democracy”, “People see Through you” and “Santiago Down”.

Album Info:

words and music by: bruce cockburn
published by: golden mountain music corp.
© 1985 golden mountain music corp. all rights reserved, used by permission
translation: marcel mousette
recorded at manta sound, toronto, october-november 1985
engineer: john naslen
assisted by: mark baldi
mastering by: bob ludwig, masterdisk, new york

the musicians are:
bruce cockburn – voice, guitars, caharango
judy cade: bckground vocals
jon goldsmith: keyboarads
fergus jemison marsh: bass and stick
hugh marsh: violin · apperas courtesy of duke street recjords
chi sharpe: percussion
michael sloski: drums
michael alan white: trumpet, flugelhorn and conch
background vocals on: “see how i miss you” and “dancing in paradise” – sharon lee williams, shawn jackson, colina phillips, judy cade and kerry crawford

art direction: bart schoales
photography: george whiteside

direction:
the finkelstein management company limited
98 queen street east, suite 201
toronto, ontario, canada m5c 1s6
telephone: (416) 364-6040 telex: 065-24566

Produced by Jon Goldsmith and Kenny Crawford for True North Productions


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