Bruce Cockburn

We ran a club at the Kings Head in Ongar for a while. A largely unsuitable venue but with hindsight one where we had some of the 'legends' of the business. A motley crew they were too representing our rather wide ranging tastes - Jasper Carrott, John Copper, Carole Pegg and Al Stewart to name but a few.

Al, as was his habit, brought a mate along (see Mudge & Clutterbuck elsewhere on this site) - one Bruce Cockburn. Bruce born in  Ottawa, Canada on 27th May 1945 had already become quite well known in his own country but not much outside. A singer songwriter (wasn't everyone then?) who had a 'folksy eponymous debut LP in 1970 on Epic, then his low key albums gradually edging to electric rock, lyrics evolved from fashionably mystical and ecological through religious (became a born again  Christian in 1974) to political'.

He worked through Europe as a busker having studied at Boston's Berklee College. His first five albums won Junos (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) but made little impact elsewhere until 1979. His first album to find the US charts was his ninth, 'Dancing In The Dragon's Jaws' (reaching no. 45). The album contained his first US hit single 'Wondering Where The Lions Are'. Success continued with two more US charting albums. In 1985 he formed a band described on one website as playing 'music akin to Dire Straits' lean yet muscular rock'.

A number of other successful albums followed plus two US top 100 singles including the subtle 'If I had a rocket launcher' ! The trail starts to go a touch cold around his 23rd album the 'Charity of Night' in 1996 but not totally frozen as there was an album released in 1999 on Rykodisc called 'Breakfast In New Orleans Dinner in Timbuktu'. These two albums are amongst about 10 available on Amazon.

I don't think we quite knew what we were getting when Al showed Bruce the delights of God's own county of Essex around 30 years ago!