324. In the Falling Dark – Bruce Cockburn
IN THE FALLING DARK (1976)
In the falling Dark was Bruce Cockburn’s seventh album and, at the time, also his best work. There are few songwriters that compare to Cockburn and he was it his finest on this project. Cockburn’s songwriting mystique is so legendary that when I have ever mentioned to a singer-songwriter that their work reminds me of Cockburn there is uniform rejection of the comparison as though no one feels the right to be mentioned in the same breath.
It is the songwriting that set this album apart from those that preceded and many that followed its release. Cockburn’s faith also becomes a central focus on several of the songs including the album’s lead track, Lord of the Starfields. The song would actually be covered later by The Imperials!
There is also a great sense of balance on the project, both lyrically and musically. Many Cockburn albums can be consumed with either dark and provocative content or light and joyful reprises. Here there is a wonderful balance of both and the album is better for it. The latter is represented by the wonderful “Little Seahorse” and the majestic and unforgettable, “I’m Gonna Fly Someday.” The latter remains one of Cockburn’s finest works to this day.
“Silver Wheels” is an example of one of the great Cockburn trademarks. He has, through the years, created a lyrical rhythm where there appears to be too many words for the melody and must quickly, like double time, squeeze in every word before losing his breath and the refrain ends. The technique would show up over and over throughout the years.The song would also become a hit for Cockburn.
Finally the album contains a true Cockburn classic in “Gavin’s Woodpile.” The over 8 minute quietly acoustic tune id just a staggering work in songwriting. the ability to captivate and mesmerize the listener with limited instrumentation for over 8 minutes is a tribute to the amazing artist Cockburn was and has remained.