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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 1999
Any one who has not listened to Bruce before, should start with this masterpiece.Next go with "Humans" and "Stealing Fire". This is Bruce at his creative prime.This is as good today as it was in 1979. I can't understand why more people do not know about Bruce Cock burn !
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 1999
This record is a perfect introduction to the work of Bruce Cockburn. The CD sleeve note gives credit to the writing of Charles Williams for the inspiration of some of the songs, and is probably the reason that the lyrics have a poetic and dreamlike quality. The music on the record compliments the songs perfectly, with some excellent guitar playing by Bruce.
I can highly recommend this recording and have played it many times over the years.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I've been a Bruce Cockburn fan since I first discovered 1984's Stealing Fire. Upon hearing that album, I proceeded to buy all of Cockburn's back catalog I could find. (This wasn't always easy since his popularity outside his native Canada has unfortunately limited Cockburn to cult status stateside.)
Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws (originally released in 1979) still retains much of the folky feel of his earlier work since his self-titled debut in 1971. Cockburn's acoustic guitar playing is masterful and his voice is a perfect fit for his reflective, pensive lyrics, especially on the lovely "Badlands Flashback" (which is sung in French).
Other highlights include "Hills of Morning," "Northern Lights" and "Wondering Where the Lions Are," the latter being Cockburn's only foray into the American Top 40 where it peaked at No. 21.
This is a kinder, gentler Bruce Cockburn than the one found on Stealing Fire and beyond, but that doesn't diminish the treasures found on this album. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 1998
For anyone who has not heard Bruce Cockburn's works, Dancing is the best place to start because it contains all the elements that trademark his music -- his crystalline fingerpicking on "Creation Dream" and "Badlands Flashback", his use of world rhythms on "Creation Dream" and the catchy "Wonderin' Where The Lions Are", intense political-laden songwriting via "Incandescent Blue" and "No Footprints" and impassioned singing like the thoughtful "After The Rain". Like many great albums, there is not a dud to be found among the 8 selections.
Like Van Morrison's "Into The Music" and Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane's "Rough Mix", Dancing is clearly one of the most overlooked and underappreciated albums in popular music; especially given the fact (like both) that this was released during the late-70s, a period that was often weighted down by the excesses of disco and the wince-inducing noise of punk rock.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It's difficult to say which of Bruce Cockburn's albums is his best for several reasons. First, he's put out over 20 albums during his career (not counting live and compilation pieces). Second, he's spanned a lot of different sounds and styles over the decades. Lastly, none of his work is bad and much of it is great. That said, 1979's Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws ranks among his best records. Released when most of Cockburn's music was still centered around his acoustic guitar work (later records increasingly incorporate his similarly tasteful and skillful electric guitar playing), Dancing is a relaxed, beautiful, and joyous work. Several songs on the album have a world beat influence with vibes & various percussion embellishments fleshing out the organic mix acoustic guitar, bass, piano, and drums. Production suits the songs well with a mellow late 70's pop-rock vibe.

The opening song "Creation Dream" sets the thematic tone of the album with it's spiritual focus and typically poetic and diffuse description of said spiritual dream: "Centered on silence, counting on nothing/I saw you dancing on the sea/and everything was dark except for sparks the wind struck from your hair/sparks that turned to wings around you/angel voices mixed with seabird cries/fields of motion surging outward/questions that contain their own replies." It might be tempting to dismiss Cockburn's songs on Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws as self-indulgent or silly were it not for the warm conviction that underlies the songs and the tight and often-times catchy musical arrangements. This isn't prog-rock theatrics (think Yes, for example) but is more like the diary of a Christian mystic - which if you read interviews with Cockburn from the period when the album was made is probably a fairly accurate description.

There is not a weak track to be heard here, from the joyful "Creation Dream," "Northern Lights," and "Incandescent Blue" to the more tense and jazz-influenced "After the Rain." "Wondering Where the Lions Are" is Cockburn's best known song and it is indeed a classic, utterly hopeful and as catchy as any single out there. The album closes with its most meditative song, the lovely "No Footprints." An apt summary of Cockburn's ethos on this wonderful album: "love the Lord, and in Him love me too/and in Him go your way and I'll be right there with you/leaving no footprints when we go, only where we've been a faint and fading glow." For this listener, "Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws" does just that, leaving behind a faint glow with every listen - a beautiful and powerful album not to be missed.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2000
Every now and them I like to kick back and listen to something that won't result in the neighbors telephoning a noise complaint to the police. Bruce Cockburn's Dancing In The Dragon's Jaws is a good choice: it may not have you dancing in the living room, but it won't put you to sleep either. Bruce's acoustic guitar playing is the highlight here. His finger-picking skills are masterful and unassuming. Basically an acoustic folk disc, Dancing also has slight jazz feel. The jazz undertone is the result of Robert Boucher's improvisational bass playing. His free-form style is especially noticeable on `Hills Of Morning,' `Badlands Flashback' and `Incandescent Blue.' `After The Rain' also shows some musical improvisation, but this time by the piano player. I enjoy the structure of Dancing's compositions because they're a bit more complicated than standard folk. An example is `No Footprints' where Bruce's vocals carry the melody, and he introduces counter melodies on the guitar and piano. So give the neighbors a break, and give Dancing In The Dragon's Jaws a spin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 1999
This is it - not just the quintessence of Bruce's 70's music, but one of the most perfect pop/folk albums ever made. This is one of those albums that picks you up from the first and never lets you go: it flows with joy from beginning to end.
If you must have labels, this is "spiritual" or "Christian" Bruce vs. "political" Bruce, but it is all a matter of shifting focus. Other albums of his are harder rocking and more tumultuous, but none are more passionate, joyful, and complete.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2001
I have all Bruce Cockburn's albums (except his mid 80's stuff) and this is one of my favorites from him and in general. His music has developed over the years and this may be his peak! Cockburn incorporates a full band to bring his music to a new level. He had previously used a band on a few albums before this, but this is the best one from the 70's "band" era. If you enjoy this album you should investigate Erik Cerame's "In The Light of the Morning", which is another fine album.
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on January 25, 2011
I owned this on vinyl, tape and then picked it up on CD. Every now and then I revisit Bruce Cockburn and I always find myself getting this one out. It holds up today in a very strong way. The guitar work is brilliant, the lyrics are at times maybe a bit complex, but as a whole very thoughtful and intense. The flow of this set of songs is perfect and the mood is unforgetable. I have never understood the lack of enthusiasm for Bruce in the USA. The joyful mood of his vocals, the relaxed harmonies, the concern for environment and mankind, all are heavily present in his work. Bruce is an intellectual trip and so far from the nonsense produced today. I escape to his music and that is what I want to do with anything I listen to. On most of his albums it seems that he is very influenced by where he has been and takes you there in his songs. I own most of his work, but this is where I would start if I was not already a fan.
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on July 1, 2001
I have about 10 of Bruce's albums, and after listening to them for a few years I would have to say this is one of his best. It does not have the instant appeal of some of his later work, however it does have a relaxing complexity that grows on you.
Many of Bruces anthems of the 80's were loud, heavily political and may to many seem a little dated. Albums such as 'Stealing fire' may be great, but the appeal doesn't last. This album has survived remarkably well - perhaps due to its acoustic, lighter feel.
I have always enjoyed the fact that Bruce sings about things out there that are really important to him. The music is influenced by his Christianity, although he doesn't force these views on the listeners. 'The Charity of night' and 'Nothing but a buring light' are also really good albums - it will be interesting to hear if they sound as good in twenty years.
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