In The Falling Dark

Bruce Cockburn - In The Falling Dark - 1976 / 2002
In The Falling Dark – 1976 / 2002

RELEASE DATE: 1976 / 2002
PURCHASE: iTunes | True North

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

Lord of the starfields
Ancient of Days
Universe Maker
Here’s a song in your praise

Wings of the storm cloud
Beginning and end
You make my heart leap
Like a banner in the wind

O love that fires the sun
Keep me burning.
Lord of the starfields
Sower of life,
Heaven and earth are
Full of your light

Voice of the nova
Smile of the dew
All of our yearning
Only comes home to you

O love that fires the sun
keep me burning

May 12, 1976 – Burritt’s Rapids

Also On:
Circles In The Stream – 1977
Resume – 1981
Rumours Of Glory – 1985
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 2 – 2014

La danse du paysage
Et dans les nuages
Le decoupage
D’un tour billon avec des naufrages

Toujours en route
Nous sommes encore en route
On joue du tambour
On joue de la flute
Comme l’eau qui bondit d’une chute
Nous sommes en route

Et bientot
Dans le berceau
Un autre petit tzigane
Qui jouera du piano
Pour les chemineaux
Dans les bistros de la lune

Saut perilleux
Subitement il pleut
De la lumiere partout
Et puis tout a coup
Nous sommes trois clowns fabuleux
Faisant des sauts perilleux

Nous cinglons
Dans le wagon
D’un train qui grandit sans cesse
Comme l’univers:
Haute dans les airs
Une rose des veuts
Pointe vers des nouvelles plages


The dance of the landscape
And in the clouds
The cutout
Of a whirlwind with shipwrecks

Always on our way
Again we’re on our way
Somebody plays the drum
Somebody plays the flute
Like water leaping from a waterfall
We’re on our way

And soon
In the cradle
Another little gypsy
Who will play the piano
For the hobos
In the bars on the moon

Suddenly it’s raining
Light all over the place
And then all at once
We’re three improbable clowns
Doing somersaults

We skim along
In the coach
Of a train that’s perpetually expanding
Like the universe:
High in the air
A compass-card
Points toward new shores

July 10, 1976 – Ottawa, Canada

Also On:
Waiting For A Miracle – 1987

And the lights lie tumbled out like gems
The moon is nothing but a toothless grin
Floating out on the evening wind
The smell of sweat and lube oil pervades the night
And the rush of life in flight at the speed of light

A million footsteps whispering
A guitar sounds — some voices sing
Smoke on the breeze — eyes that sting
Far in the east a yellow cloud bank climbs
Stretching away to be part of tomorrow’s time

Earthbound while everything expands
So many grains of sand
Slipping from hand to hand
Catching the light and falling into dark
The world fades out like an overheard remark
In the falling dark

Light pours from a million radiant lives
Off of kids and dogs and the hard-shelled husbands and wives
All that glory shining around and we’re all caught taking a dive
And all the beasts of the hills around shout, “such a waste!
Don’t you know that from the first to the last we’re all one in the gift of grace!”

March 9,1976 – Ottawa, Canada

Little seahorse
Swimming in a primal sea
Heartbeat like a
Leaf quaking in the breeze
I feel magic as coyote
In the middle of the moon-wild night

In the forge-fire time
Your mother glowed so bright
You were like a
Voice calling in the night
And I’m watching the curtain
Rising on a whole new set of dreams

The world is waiting
Like a Lake Superior gale
A locomotive
Racing along the rail.
It’ll sweep you away
But you know that you’re never alone

Little seahorse
Floating on a primal tide
Quickening like a
Spark in a haystack side
I already love you
And I don’t even know who you are

December 14, 1975 – Toronto, Canada

Also On:
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 2 – 2014


released 1976 & 2005

Also On:
Resume – 1981
Speechless – 2005

High speed drift on a prairie road
Hot tires sing like a string being bowed
Sudden town rears up then explodes
Fragments resolve into white line code
Whirl on silver wheels

Black earth energy receptor fields
Undulate under a grey cloud shield
We outrun a river colour brick red mud
That cleaves apart hills soil rich as blood

Highway squeeze in construction steam
Stop caution hard hat yellow insect machines
Silver steel towers stalk rolling land
Toward distant stacks that shout “Feed on demand”

100 miles later the sky has changed
Urban anticipation — we get 4 lanes
Red orange furnace sphere notches down
Throws up silhouette skyline in brown

Sundogs flare on windshield glass
Sudden swoop skyward iron horse overpass
Pass a man walking like the man in the moon
Walking like his head’s full of irish fiddle tunes

The skin around every city looks the same
Miles of flat neon spelling well-known names
Fat wheeled cars squeal into the sun

Radio speakers gargle top 40 trash
Muzak soundtrack to slow collapse
Planet engines pulsate in sidereal time
If you listen close you can hear the whine

July 21, 1976 – Burritt’s Rapids

Also On:
Resume – 1981
Mummy Dust – 1981
Waiting For A Miracle – 1987
Bruce Cockburn – Live – 1990 / 2002
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 2 – 2014
Greatest Hits (1970-2020)


released 1973

Working out on Gavin’s woodpile
Safe within the harmony of kin
Visions begin to crowd my eyes
Like a meteor shower in the autumn skies
And the soil beneath me seems to moan
With a sound like the wind through a hollow bone
And my mind fills with figures like Lappish runes of power1…

And log slams on rough-hewn log
And a voice from somewhere scolds a barking dog.

I remember a bleak-eyed prisoner
In the Stoney Mountain life-suspension home
You drink and fight and damage someone
And they throw you away for some years of boredom
One year done and five more to go —
No job waiting so no parole
And over and over they tell you that you’re nothing…

and I toss another log on Gavin’s woodpile
and wonder at the lamp-warm window’s welcome smile.

I remember crackling embers
Coloured windows shining through the rain
Like the coloured slicks on The English River2
Death in the marrow and death in the liver
And some government gambler with his mouth full of steak
Saying, “If you can’t eat the fish, fish in some other lake.
To watch a people die — it is no new thing.”

And the stack of wood grows higher and higher
And a helpless rage seems to set my brain on fire.

And everywhere the free space fills
Like a punctured diving suit and i’m
Paralyzed in the face of it all
Cursed with the curse of these modern times

Distant mountains, blue and liquid,
Luminous like a thickening of sky
Flash in my mind like a stairway to life —
A train whistle cuts through the scene like a knife
Three hawks wheel in a dazzling sky —
A slow motion jet makes them look like a lie
And I’m left to conclude there’s no human answer near…

But there’s a narrow path to a life to come
That explodes into sight with the power of the sun

A mist rises as the sun goes down
And the light that’s left forms a kind of crown
The earth is bread, the sun is wine
It’s a sign of a hope that’s ours for all time.

November 17, 1975 – Burritt’s Rapids

Also On:
Rumours Of Glory box set – disc 2 – 2014

I’m gonna fly someday
I’m gonna fly someday
If I keep ready and watch and pray
I’m gonna fly someday

February 29, 1976 – Calgary, Canada

Also On:
Waiting For A Miracle – 1987

An elegant song won’t hold up long
When the palace falls and the parlour’s gone
We all must leave but it’s not the end
We’ll meet again at the festival of friends.

Smiles and laughter and pleasant times
There’s love in the world but it’s hard to find
I’m so glad I found you — I’d just like to extend
An invitation to the festival of friends.

Some of us live and some of us die
Someday God’s going to tell us why
Open your heart and grow with what life sends
That’s your ticket to the festival of friends.

Like an imitation of a good thing past
These days of darkness surely will not last
Jesus was here and he’s coming again
To lead us to his festival of friends.

Black snake highway — sheet metal ballet
It’s just so much snow on a summer day
Whatever happens, it’s not the end
We’ll meet again at the festival of friends.

April 5, 1975 – Burritt’s Rapids

11. Red Brother Red Sister *


released in 2002

13. Shepherds *
14. Dweller By A Dark Stream *

Originally released in 1976, In The Falling Dark was the first of a trilogy of recordings, that bridged Bruce Cockburn’s acoustic work of the early 70s with his electic period a decade later. It’s landmark album, one that anounced Cockburn’s arrival as an important songwriter. But it’s also a generative recording planting the creative seeds that came to fruition fully on the subsequent studio albums “Further Adventures Of” and “Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaw”. With its compelling songs and majestic sweep “In The Falling Dark” is a perfect place to discover the impressive range of Bruce Cockburn’s artistry.

Album Info:

Apologies to Tommy Graham who played tambora on “Joy Will Find a Way” and got no credit for it-and to Mose and Heather Scarlett who sang on the same album.

Thanks to “Encounter 76”-the messages were deeply appreciated and the money put to good use.

recorded at Eastern Sound, Toronto, September-November 1976
produced by Eugene Martynec for True North Productions
engineer Ken Friesen
front cover photo Arnaud Maggs
back cover photo Ted Grant
art direction Bart Schoales

The musicians and vocalists were:
Bruce Cockburn: voice, guitars, dulcimer
Michael Donato: bass
Bob Disalle: drums
Bill Usher: percussion
Kathryn Moses: flutes, piccolo
Jørn Anderson: percussion
Dennis Pendrith: bass
Fred Stone: fluegelhorn, trumpet
Luke Gibson: background vocals
Lyn Macdonald: background vocals
Erin Malone (of Killaloe): background vocals

All songs written by B. Cockburn
© 1976 Golden Mountain Music Corp. (SOCAN) (BMI)
All Rights Reserved Used by Permission.
Digitally Remastered by Vic Anesini, Sony Studios,NY.

Remaster Info:
Digitally remastered at the E Room in Toronto by engineer Peter Moore, utilizing 24-bit technology.
New liner note essay written by Nicholas Jennings.
Released by Rounder Records, 19 November 2002.