The skewed perspective of a conservative Catholic employee-side employment lawyer living in the most exciting city in the Milky Way, Las Vegas, Nevada USA, who listens to a lot of really strange music and who, for some reason, lives and dies St. Louis Cardinal baseball

5/01/2005

Bruce Cockburn - "Peggy's Kitchen Wall"

Canadian singer Bruce Cockburn is the perfect vessel for my attitudes toward Our Neighbor to the North. My attitudes toward Cockburn perfectly track those I hold toward his native land. I once found both to be interesting, inviting, and worth a visit (or, a listen, as the case may be). Over time, the inherent smugness and shameless sense of superiority disguised as humility, plus the mindless leftist politics, got to me. I know find both insufferable.

Let's face it, Cockburn is really nothing more than an overtly political Gordon Lightfoot:

1. Both are Canadian.

2. Both are, ostensibly, folk singers.

3. Both sing in the same resonant monotone.

4. There's not a lot happening melodically in even their best songs.

I discovered Cockburn in the early 1980's. Cockburn's masterpiece, Stealing Fire, was released the same year as I took my first visit into Canada (for a Blue Jays game at the old Exhibition Stadium). I thought Stealing Fire was great. As this was still early in the Reagan Era, my politics had not shifted hard right (I'm a neo-conservative, meaning that I am "neo" to being conservative, meaning I once was a lib.) I thought Toronto was great, too. Just like America, only cleaner and more polite.

As the 1980s continued, I bought Cockburn LPs, but I was enjoying them less and less. The tunes were getting flatter; the lyrics lefter and preachier. And I started to notice that Canada was not as much fun. The smugness was getting to me.

By the mid 1990s, I had enough of both. This, of course, does not detract from the fact that Stealing Fire is a great record. Several of the cuts are great, like today's song o' the day, "Peggy's Kitchen Wall." A few, like the preachy "Nicaragua" or "Dust and Diesel" are clunkers/filler. This is the one Bruce CD worth owning. Alldirect has it with some bonus tracks for
$11.88. Yeah, he's insufferable now, but that does not detract from the quality of his early 80s recordings. Just like I would not enjoy Toronto or Montreal now, but that doesn't detract from how much I enjoyed my trips to those towns back in the day.
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