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Life Short Call Now

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Audio CD, July 18, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Life Short Call Nowfinds Cockburn's insightful observations on life, love, politics, and the environment as sharp as ever, and longtime fans and new fans alike are sure to be won over by this sterling album. The first single, 'Different When It Comes to You,' goes for adds at AAA June 5th. 16 stations already reporting including R&R reporters KPIG and WNRN. 'Life Short Call NOW' also features special guest Ani DiFranco on 'See You Tomorrow.'

Four decades and 29 albums into his career, Bruce Cockburn has stood for many things: flawless musicianship, activist actions, and lyrics that effortlessly flow from touching to caustic many times throughout a single CD. It is fitting, then, that Ani DiFranco makes an appearance on Life Short Call Now, as the two world-class guitar players have strong political roots, both seeking to leave legacies that extend far beyond memorable melodies in the hearts and minds of their fans. Their lushly produced duet, "See You Tomorrow," has a slight zydeco feel, the only surprise is the lack of overt political bite in the track; a subsequent Cockburn song, "Tell the Universe," more than makes up for the subtlety with its anti-Bush commentary. "Mystery" is straight-up classic Cockburn, yet the inclusion of Ron Sexsmith, Hawksley Workman, and Damhnait Doyle is not just beautiful but also clever, as it shows the genealogy linking Cockburn's effect on subsequent Canadian songwriters. Familiar sounds aside, there is a wonderfully new commonality throughout this disc: Cockburn has included a 27-piece string section whose arrangements add not just richness to songs ("Beautiful Creatures" and "This Is Baghdad"), but powerfully dark counter-melodies as well. One of the most compelling pieces falls near the CD's end: "To Fit in My Heart" somehow manages to combine his love of jazz, worldbeat, and folk music into one gorgeous, haunting melody. It is rare indeed to see such an experienced musician continue to evolve, but Cockburn has done exactly that with this new disc. --Denise Sheppard

1. Life Short Call Now
2. See You Tomorrow
3. Mystery
4. Beautiful Creatures
5. Peace March
6. Slow Down Fast
7. Tell The Universe
8. This Is Baghdad
9. Jerusalem Poker
10. Different When It Comes To You
11. To Fit In My Heart
12. Nude Descending A Staircase

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 18, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rounder / Umgd
  • ASIN: B000FS9FIU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,704 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Bruce Cockburn Store


Image of album by Bruce Cockburn


Image of Bruce Cockburn


Street Date: January 15, 2002

"The whole point of writing songs is to share experiences with people," says Bruce Cockburn, looking back on a career that includes 26 albums, numerous international awards, including the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Tenco Award for Lifetime Achievement in Italy, 20 gold and platinum records in Canada, and countless concert performances ... Read more in Amazon's Bruce Cockburn Store

Visit Amazon's Bruce Cockburn Store
for 62 albums, 5 photos, discussions, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By G. Ratcheson VINE VOICE on November 1, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I'm on my second listen as I write this. To be honest, I'm more moved to write because of some of the reviews here then from listening.

I discovered Bruce's music in the mid 70's. I own all 26 of Bruce's cd's + 2 of the best of packages, I think I qualify as a long time fan! Here's my Bruce bias: I strongly prefer his first albums from 1970 - 1984; in my opinion his last GREAT album was Inner City Front. My absolute favorites are Circles In The Stream, In The Falling Dark, Further Adventures, Inner City Front and Salt Sea & Time; but I really love all of his first 12 albums. I enjoy Dancing In the Dragon's Jaws; but to me the only milestone aspect of that album was that it was in a completely new style, not that it was better then what came before (it wasn't).

After Inner City Front, I still really connected with some of the songs from Trouble With Normal (the title track) & Stealing Fire (Rocket Launcher & Lovers In A Dangerous Time). The last song that deeply touched me was Child Of The Wind from Nothing But A Burning Light. 2 songs from this new cd seem equally special: Life's Short Call Now & Beautiful Creatures. Part of my disconnect was from Bruce's addition of World Music flavors, which for whatever reason doesn't tend to connect for me. I'm personally glad that he's largely abandoned the World Music/Latin flavor on this cd.

For me all the albums after Trouble With Normal are ok, but not up to his previous standards. With that said, my current feeling is that Life Short is at least as good as anything Bruce has done post 1984 & is a very nice artistic statement.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By LBR Lucas on July 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Both my husband and I thought, "well, that was nice enough" as we finished this album for the first time. But Hubby said, "Let's hear it again." We caught more--heard more--the second time around. And like the teenagers we once were, we've played it over and over again since.
Some of the songs seemed a little simple at first, but I caught one of my kids humming "Mystery" while he was playing today. That simple melody is an infectious one. And throughout the album there is no shortage of invention with the intervals and the harmonies.
Some of the lyrics may seem less than profound, but as soon as you get complacent you'll come upon a phrase in which Cockburn has braided mere words into beautiful lines that will trip you up and send you falling into wonder. How does he think of this stuff?
This not an album to judge in a hurry. Take Cockburn's advice, slow down fast. Let "Life Short Call Now" be what it is.
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48 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Oliasdoug on July 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hallelujah, people...Bruce is back. Had this one on advance order from the Amazonians and when it arrived the day before yesterday, I couldn't stop playing it. And I still can't. Those new to Bruce's music (and being of open, mature minds), as well as those of us who've been with him on his wonderfully unique joyride ever since 1970 will be taken in and held enthralled by this, his newest masterpiece. And WHAT a joyride this new CD is, my gentle snowflakes. Bruce previewed a few of the songs from LIFE SHORT CALL NOW on his American tour last fall ("Mystery," "Tell the Universe" and "This Is Baghdad"), which only served to whet our appetites for this new collection of gems in the wake of his breathtaking collection of instrumental pieces, SPEECHLESS.

When it comes to originality, bold experimentation, virtuoso guitar-picking, dulcet baritone vocals, and lyrics that embrace the entire spectrum of human experience, Bruce has many contemporaries but no equal. He is, quite simply, one of the most unique musical creations in existence...not perfect, but as close to it as an artiste verite' can be at our current stage of evolution. While you can put any of his CDs into your player, hear him sing and immediately recognize him, it can also be said that when he gives us a new recording, you can never genuinely know what to expect until the songs begin & are underway. LSCN is no exception. His most recent CD of vocal songs, YOU'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING [2003], was nothing short of astounding, as most Cockburn fanatics like me will attest. LSCN is anything BUT a repeat performance of that record, though...and it's sad that so many "musicians" these days choose to tread the same formulaic paths that garnered them their success in the first place, probably out of fear of rejection and consequent failure.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Tim Weber on July 24, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The mild disappointment of 2003's "You've Never Seen Everything" had me thinking "rebound" with this disc. Alas, "Life Short Call Now" probably best serves to give one a new appreciation for the earlier album, making it seem better by contrast.

"Life Short Call Now" will have to do some scrapping these next few months to avoid the title of Least Favorite Bruce Cockburn Album. It's got an uphill battle.

There is good stuff here -- the first two tracks, particularly "See You Tomorrow," are nice enough, but the third, "Mystery," with its annoyingly simplistic melody, starts to gum up the works. On the next, "Beautiful Creatures," BC employs a cringe-inducing falsetto (and not for the last time on this album). The disc catches fire with "Slow Down Fast," a rapid-fire, blistering "It's the End of the World as we Know It" sort of rant that echoes the anger and vigor Bruce showed on far better albums such as "Big Circumstance" and "World of Wonders" -- this is a stunning wake-up call after the mediocrity that preceded it. One thinks, "Wow! There he is!" But the rest doesn't hold up that standard.

"Life Short Call Now" is almost entirely an acoustic effort. This isn't the great news Bruce Cockburn fans might expect. The melodies and simple power of, say, "Humans" is lacking. Some programmed beats, and walls of violas and cellos smother the simplicity of Cockburn's acoustic guitar like a wet blanket.

In the album's second half, "Different When it Comes to You" is a somewhat poppy highlight. But the album ends with a whimper with "To Fit in My Heart," one of Cockburn's weakest songs ever, and closes with one of his least impressive instrumentals (the album's third; too many after an all-instrumental album released just a year earlier).
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