-- Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws (1979) & (2002)--

Track Listing:
Click song titles to see lyrics, other albums the song appears on, and known comments by Bruce Cockburn on the song. Track lengths are not guaranteed as they occasionally change with format (i.e. CD/vinyl) and release version.
* Denotes bonus tracks on the remastered CD version released by Rounder Records in 2002.

[1] Creation Dream (4:00)
[2] Hills of Morning (4:25)
[3] Badlands Flashback (6:12)
[4] Northern Lights (4:05)
[5] After the Rain (3:59)
[6] Wondering Where the Lions Are (3:42)
[7] Incandescent Blue (4:35)
[8] No Footprints (5:38)
[9] Dawn Music * (4:28)
[10] Bye Bye Idi * (4:41)

Order the 'Dancing In The Dragon's Jaws' (1979) album or the remastered 2002 CD from now.
Check out other albums in the Project's Online Store

Album Info:

Produced by Eugene Martynec for True North Productions
Recorded by Gary Gray at Manta Sound, Toronto, May-June, 1979
Assistant: Frank Kitson
Bruce Cockburn: Guitar, Chimes, Synthesizer, Dulcimer
Pat Godfrey: Piano and Marimba, Background Vocals ("Wondering Where the Lions Are")
Robert Boucher: Bass
Bob DiSalle: Drums
Larry "Silky Fingers" Silvera: Bass and Background Vocals ("Wondering Where the Lions Are")
Ben Bow: Drums and Background Vocals ("Wondering Where the Lions Are") Cover painting: Norval Morrisseau (1979)
Inside photograph: Christopher Dew
Art direction: Bart Schoales

Remaster Info:
Digitally remastered at the E Room in Toronto by engineer Peter Moore, utilizing 24-bit technology.
New liner note essay written by Nicholas Jennings.
Released by Rounder Records, 19 November,2002.

19 November 2002 - From Rounder Records: Rounding out the 1970s and completing a trilogy of acoustic jazz-folk albums that included In the Falling Dark and Further Adventures Of, Bruce Cockburn's Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws stands as both an era-ending album and a cumulative release that neatly built on the strengths of its predecessors. It also serves as a high-water mark for Cockburn in several respects. Featuring some of his finest guitar work ever, the album was voted an "essential" recording by Acoustic Guitar magazine, putting Cockburn in the prestigious company of such revered pickers as Django Reinhardt, Andrés Segovia, Bill Frisell and Mississippi John Hurt. It also provided Cockburn with a commercial breakthrough on the strength of his buoyant "Wondering Where the Lions Are,"which became a Top 40 hit in both Canada and the United States.

Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this album, by date:

  • Album notes "The content of several of these songs has been influenced in varying degrees by the writings of Charles Williams. I'm indebted to Ross and Kathy Sharwin of Edmonton for introducing me to his work."

  • January 1982

    "Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws was about being joyful in the face of everything," Cockburn said. "But just about when I finished that album, I started to go through this fairly heavy period in my life," he explained.

    "On this new album I've tried to go a little deeper," he said. "I wanted to give a concrete expression of the suffering that's all too evident in the world.
    -- from "The Thinking Christian Man and His Music: Bruce Cockburn Goes a Little Deeper", by Lori E. Pike, Contemporary Christian Music, January 1982. Anonymous Submission.

  • 15 July 1986

    Phil Catalfo: What I want to get to here, is how some of that is reflected in some of your songs in a way that is really quite exhilarating, I think, to the listener who may be Christian or not. One song in particular I'm thinking of is from an album called Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws. The song is called "Hills of Morning" and that song has always fascinated me and I wish you'd tell us something about it, how, where that song came from. Perhaps we could listen to it in a moment.

    BC: Yeah, I'll keep it short because I can't remember very much about where it came from, at this point, it's a while back. Generally that whole album reflects probably the closest I've been able to come to expressing that particular kind of spirituality. The album was influenced partly by the fact that during the period that songs were being written I read all of the works of Charles Williams, who is an English writer with a particularly pronounced ability to describe spiritual things in very vivid terms. Most of his books are novels. They're sort of mystery novels almost, that deal with different elements of the occult, but bringing it around to a Christian point of view. And his own particular experience seems very strange. There's a sense of depth of being in those novels that is really both disturbing and thrilling at the same time. Anyway, that kind of pervaded the writing of the songs because the books were so much in my head at the time. But it's also the ... it was my own experience too that it was ... you know part of being a Christian is kinda getting to know Jesus. I mean you hear, again the TV guys are very quick to talk about a personal relationship with Jesus, and so on. It's a little unclear exactly what they mean by that. My own experience was that I felt that I was having a ...

    PC: A personal relationship?

    BC: A personal relationship, yeah, with a kind of ineffable being who was certainly no one other than Christ, who would occasionally put thoughts into my mind, and so on, you know, that were very clear, although the voice was a very quiet one and you had to listen for it. But it also sort of, after a while it got familiar enough, and I'd also without wanting to ... without getting into sort of being irreverent ... I kinda felt that that familiarity was something that should be encouraged, and talked about, in a way. So, you know, you hear in this song "a bunch of us were busy waiting" ... I sort of imagined myself being a street person in first century Jerusalem. And, here we are we're all sitting around in the street ...

    PC: Pitching pennies ...

    BC: In effect. Rolling bones, or whatever they did. That sort of led to the development of this song.
    -- from Bruce Cockburn interviewed by Phil Catalfo, "Music That Matters" programme, New Dimensions Radio, San Francisco, California,15 July 1986. Tape copies of this interview are available here. Anonymous submission.

  • 2 November 1991

    Q: Can I ask a follow up question to that? On Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws in the liner notes, you mentioned a writer...

    BC: Charles Williams...

    Q: yeah, who influenced the content of that album. Who was he and what does he write about.

    BC: It's hard to describe succinctly what he writes about, but he was a friend of... well, quite a major influence on C.S. Lewis and somewhat less of an influence on J.R. Tolkein. He wrote an awful lot of work, but what is available now is seven novels and a book of poems and one theological book.

    Q:What kind of influence did that have on the album?

    BC: Nothing really direct in that I took his ideas and used them on the album, but he has a really interesting... well, I'm inclined to say unique, but I'm not sure that's so... an apparently unique view of life and his ability to describe sort of transcending his experiences in very vivid terms is really something.

    Q: Which could be said about Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws...

    BC: Well, if you're going to say that, that's a great compliment. It's that aspect of Williams that really affected me.
    -- from Bruce Cockburn Interview, The Old Waldorf, San Francisco, CA, 2 November 1981. Transcribed by Charles Wolff. Anonymous Submission.

  • Circa 1986

    "Expanded horizons- first tours outside of Canada - Japan, small club circuit in Northeastern U.S. Was told I must be the reincarnation of Kenji Miyazawa, a fine Japanese poet. Sounds good from my end, but what bad things did he do to deserve me? Also was introduced to the work of "Christian" writer Charles Williams, a contemporary of and influence on C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and others. These influences are all over the albums from this time."
    -- from the World Of Wonders Tour Program, circa 1986. Submitted by Rob Caldwell.

  • Spring 1993

    James Jensen: "Dancing In The Dragon's Jaws" didn't have any instrumental pieces but it was very much driven by the sound of your acoustic guitar and seems to be a fitting end to your string of acoustic based albums of the 70's. It was certainly your most popular album to date is it one of your favorites?

    BC: I don't really have favorite albums, I think that was a good one and it is probably better than some of the other ones but you're right in that it was a cummulation of what I was doing through the 70's and that is fitting for an album that came at the end of that time and the acoustic based Jazz influenced thing didn't die there but it was kind of the last major expression of it. I then started going after something more rhythmic and band oriented and hard edged.
    -- from an Interview by James Jensen at Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, circa Spring 1993.

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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.