Bruce Cock­burn is suf­fi­cient­ly Cana­di­an that his name may ring no bell­s. But I think If I Had a Rock­et Launch­er made a few waves back in the day and may jog a mem­o­ry. He’s an in­ter­est­ing guy, and this is a nice, lilt­ing melod­ic song about want­ing to kill peo­ple.

Bruce Cockburn

Cock­burn (rhymes with “flow-burn”) is Chris­tian, po­lit­i­cal, a daz­zling (most­ly acous­tic) gui­tarist, and a de­cent singer and song­writer, with a pleas­ing throaty bari­tone. He’s been do­ing it for a long time; when I was the part-time Univer­si­ty stage man­ag­er forty years ago, I put him on sev­er­al times, and ev­ery show was a high­light.

When you’re lis­ten­ing to a Cock­burn tune or watch­ing a video, zone in for a mo­ment and fo­cus on the gui­tar play­ing; there is a lot hap­pen­ing, all the time, fast and grace­ful and with odd har­monies shoot­ing off in all di­rec­tion­s. One of the shows I man­aged Bruce was hurt­ing pret­ty bad with the flu, but The Show Must Go On, and dur­ing the en­core, he kind of lost it, got down on his knees at the front of the stage with an elec­tric gui­tar and ripped out this howl­ing elec­tric firestor­m; not ex­act­ly what the au­di­ence was ex­pect­ing but I bet they all re­mem­ber that evening; I sure do. While we’re on the sub­jec­t, here’s Cock­burn play­ing some acous­tic blues on a Na­tion­al Steel gui­tar, oh my those chord­s.

Now, as for If I Had a Rock­et Launch­er, what can I say? There are a lot of places right now in the world where if I were one of the poor brown peo­ple get­ting killed, if I had one I would too. Ex­cept for I can’t sing or play gui­tar near­ly as well.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Ama­zon, Spo­ti­fy, iTunes, live video: acous­tic, elec­tric.


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From: Andreas Schödl (Jan 31 2018, at 01:34)

Mr. Bray, first of all thanks for Song of the Day :)

If I had ... ran on our public radio a few month ago and it struck a chord (if you allow the pun).

It led to me buying the Anytime, Anywhere greatest hits collection, where I discovered that "A Dream Like Mine" and "If A Tree Falls" are by Mr. Cockburn, too, which are some kind of mainstays on our "oldie station" and were instantly recognizable to me.

I like it when something seemingly unconnected comes along and reveals itself as some kind of puzzle piece you never knew was missing :)


From: Walter Underwood (Feb 08 2018, at 09:01)

Dammit, he's playing in Berkeley tonight and I can't go.

Used to play a lot of Bruce Cockburn when I was a DJ at KTRU around 1980.

That brings back memories. Like the biggest false endings ever in "Steel Eyes" by Shawn Phillips (on Second Contribution).


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