Bruce Cockburn

Slice O Life: Bruce Cockburn Live Solo

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Bruce Cockburn has issued numerous live recordings, and thus far all of them have been band offerings during the various periods of his 40-plus-year career. While the acoustic element has always been a primary part of his stage persona, fans -- and the merely curious -- have never had access to an official live document of those proceedings, until now. This double-disc set is a generous offering of 25 songs from all different stages of Cockburn's career, taped during May 2008. There were ten shows, and all of them have been sampled here, though the double-disc package has been edited to flow like a single performance in hopes of maintaining the flavor of a given concert. What's more, Cockburn and producer Colin Linden went a step further and added three tunes from the various soundchecks that took place before the gigs as a sort of encore. Along with Cockburn's stellar collection of songs, such as "World of Wonders," "Lovers in a Dangerous Time," "How I Spent My Fall Vacation," "Wondering Where the Lions Are," "If I Had a Rocket Launcher," and "Tie Me at the Crossroads," are beautiful instrumental interludes within tunes -- and on the final disc as an intro to the soundcheck performances -- that offer his mastery of the guitar as well. Among the final performances is a fine version of his early classic "Mama Just Wants to Barrelhouse All Night Long." While it's true that there is nothing new here, that doesn't diminish the sense of creativity and spontaneity Cockburn is capable of in concert, making this a deeply rewarding purchase for longtime fans.

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