-- The Charity of Night (1996) --

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.

[1] Night Train (6:15)
[2] Get Up Jonah (5:03)
[3] Pacing the Cage (4:40)
[4] Mistress of Storms (6:11)
[5] The Whole Night Sky (3:54)
[6] The Coming Rains (4:48)
[7] Birmingham Shadows (9:40)
[8] The Mines of Mozambique (6:14)
[9] Live on My Mind (6:46)
[10] The Charity of Night (8:05)
[11] Strange Waters (5:49)

This is the special Charity of Night tourpack
which was on sale only at shows and packaged
The Charity of Night with the
You Pay Your Money And You Take Your Chance EP.

Order the 'The Charity Of Night' (1996) album from now,
or order The Charity Of Night Box Set [Australian version of 'The
Charity of Night' CD bundled with the 'You Pay Your Money...' Live CD]
(import) - works out as slightly more expensive than buying the two U.S.
albums separately. Or, check out other albums in the Project's Online Store

Album Info:

Produced by Bruce Cockburn and Colin Linden
Recorded and mixed by John Whynot
Additiional recording by Colin Linden
Recorded at Reaction Studios, Toronto with additional recording at The Plant, Sausalito, Bob Weir's studio, and Electro Magnetic Sound by Pinhead Recorders
Transfers at Manta/Eastern Sound
Rentals courtesy Casa Wroxton Studio
Mixed at Kingsway, New Orleans

Assisted by Ormond Jobin, Tom Heron, Tom Paddock, Michael McGuinn, Jo Rossi and especially Ethan Allen.

Mastered by Stephen Marcussen at Precision Mastering
Assisted by Ron Boustead

Jacket Illustrations and Album Design by William Sienkiewicz
Photo by Macolm Burn
Layout assistance by Karin Doherty

All songs written by Bruce Cockburn
All songs © 1996 Golden Mountain Music Corp. (BMI)
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Traductions: Jane Macauley, Marcel Moussette

Thanks to Bernie Finkelstein, Justin Deneau, Sy Potma, Danny Greenspoon, Janice Powers, Frank Finistory, Karen Brady, Malcolm Burn, Kim Lafleur, Daniel Broome, Caryl McCowan, Chris Brady for BBQ & firetruck, Daniel Keebler/Gavin's Woodpile, Peavey Musical Instruments.

Thanks to the following for support, inspiration, lighting-a-fire-under-the-ass, and other gifts, intentional or not: Sue, Michael O'Connor, Rex Fyles, Sandra Wood and Chude Mondlane, The Maputo Police Department for leaving the various body parts attached, Deminers everwhere, Ani for reminding me what energy is for, John and Matt for the biochemistry, the Humans, Susan Gitlin-Emmer ("Lady of the Northern Light"), the Book of Psalms, Kel and Jon for the introduction to Cormac McCarthy, C. Woodman for her wisdom, the folks at City Stages, God for always keeping the ladder in place.

Jonatha Brooke appears courtesy of Blue Thumb Records
Gary Burton appears courtesy of Concord Records
Ani DiFranco appears courtesy of Righteous Babe Records
Patty Larkin appears courtesy of High Street/Windham Hill
Colin Linden appears courtesy of Columbia Records/Sony Music Canada
Maria Muldaur appears courtesy of Telarc International Corporation
Bonnie Raitt appears courtesy of Capitol Records
Rob Wasserman plays an N.S. Double Bass, Rob Wasserman Signature Six-String Model, designed by Ned Steinberger


Night Train
Bruce Cockburn: Acoustic and Electric Guitar and Vocal
Gary Craig: Drums, Percussion
Rob Wasserman: Bass
Jonatha Brooke and Patty Larkin: Vocals

Get Up Jonah
Bruce Cockburn: Resophonic and Electric Guitar and Vocal
Gary Craig: Drums
Gary Burton: Vibes
Rob Wasserman: Bass
Jonatha Brooke and Ani DiFranco: Vocals

Pacing the Cage
Bruce Cockburn: Acoustic Guitar and Vocal
Janice Powers: Keyboards
Rob Wasserman: Bass

Mistress of Storms
Bruce Cockburn: Acoustic Guitar
Gary Burton: Vibes

The Whole Night Sky
Bruce Cockburn: Acoustic Guitars and Vocal
Gary Craig: Drums, Percussion
Rob Wasserman: Bass
Bob Weir: Vocals
Colin Linden: Mandolin
Janice Powers: Low, Wiggly Keyboards
Bonny Raitt: Slide Guitar
Joe Macerollo: Accordion

The Coming Rains
Bruce Cockburn: Dobro and Electric Guitars and Vocal
Gary Craig: Drums, Tambourine
Rob Wasserman: Bass
Gary Burton: Vibes
Maria Muldaur, Jonatha Brooke and Patty Larkin: Vocals

Birmingham Shadows
Bruce Cockburn: Resophonic Guitar and Vocal
Gary Craig: Drums
Rob Wasserman: Bass
Gary Burton: Vibes

The Mines of Mozambique
Bruce Cockburn: Resophonic and Electric Guitars and Vocal
Gary Craig: Drums, Percussion
Rob Wasserman: Bass
Janice Powers: Mongolian keyboard thing
Jonatha Brook: Backup Vocals and Arrangement

Live on My Mind
Bruce Cockburn: Resophonic and Electric Guitars and Vocal
Gary Craig: Drums
Rob Wasserman: Bass
Janice Powers: Keyboards
Gary Burton: Vibes
Jonatha Brook: Harmonies

The Charity of Night
Bruce Cockburn: Acoustic Guitar and Vocals
Rob Wasserman: Bass
Gary Burton: Vibes
Colin Linden: Mandolin
Joe Macerollo: Accordion

Strange Waters
Bruce Cockburn: Resophonic and Electric Guitars and Vocal
Gary Craig: Drums, Percussion
Rob Wasserman: Bass
Jonatha Brooke and Patty Larkin: Vocals

Editor's Note: This album was re-released in 2020 as part of the 50th Anniversay Box Set, re-mastered by Bruce's long-time producer Colin Linden, and is pressed on coloured vinyl.

2022: This album is being re-leased individually on 180 Gram Black Vinyl.

Online Reviews:

  • 25 August 1997 - "Cockburn sticks to causes for 'The Charity of Night'" by Jon Matsumoto, CNN Showbiz News.

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

  • 7 September 1996

    Nora Young: What were you going for musically on this recording [The Charity of Night]?

    BC: Something different. The last two albums, there's been a kind of deliberately "rootsy", if I can use that term, approach. Especially on [Nothing But a] Burning Light, and that carried over onto Dart to the Heart, which was the album that followed that. This album isn't like that at all -- there's a lot of talking stuff, there's a jazzier element in it in the form of Gary Burton on vibes, and there's more sort of eccentric guitar playing from myself, and Rob's bass playing is very individualistic - he doesn't play the role that the bass is traditionally expected to play very much of the time. He's a very melodic player and kind of plays around things more. On drums we have Gary Craig who's done a lot of work with Colin Linden, with whom I've also worked in the past and who co-produced the album with me. It's a kind of aggressive approach - there's a lot of real playing, very little overdubbing. Beyond that I don't really know how to characterize it.
    - from "Definitely Not the Opera", CBC Radio, Interviewer: Nora Young, 7 September 1996. Anonymous Submission.

  • January 1997

    BC: ["The Charity of Night" is] the title to one of the songs. It seem a suitable title for the album as a whole because the songs are... almost everything that happens in the songs, happens at night. Which is not so unusual for me, I suppose, but it's kind of concentrated in this record....

    Some of the songs are a little long for radio, but I would say, yes, it is a departure in some ways. I've had jazzy elements in my albums before. But this is perhaps moreovert...and it involves me in the jazz more than the previous albums that have had that content in them. Usually it's been a case of other people coming in and adding that flavor to things. In this case, I get to do some playing myself that is kind of leaning in that direction. I wouldn't call it a jazz album, and I don't think any of the players on it would think of it that way. But, it certainly has some of that feel and the space in it that that music can create. It has some jazz players...

    Jeff Clarke: What are some of the other songs about on the new disc?

    BC: Well, there's a lot of the sort of personal, spiritual wonderings that I get into from time to time, some love songs, there's not anything overt in the way of issue related stuff with the exception of one song that was written in Mozambique called "The Mines Of Mozambique" That's not an attempt to address the issues of land mines, but it reflects the atmosphere in a country that's infested with them. That's one of two songs on the album that were written on a trip I took there a little over a year ago. "
    - from a Kink FM 102 Interview with Jeff Clarke, January 1997. Anonymous submission.

  • 18 January 1997

    [on using Ani DiFranco]

    Scott Simon: Like Annie [Ani] DeFranco [Ani DiFranco) for example.

    BC: Well, the most exciting young talent that's highly visible these days, I think, is Annie [Ani] DeFranco[DiFranco]. She's certainly not the only great songwriter out there among a sort of younger wave of people, but she is probably the best one, in my opinion.

    And I felt -- just because I admire her greatly -- I wanted her on the album if I could get her. And by hook or by crook, we got her.


    So, she ended up contributing a small but vital part to a song called "Get Up Jonah."
    - from "An interview with singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn". His new album is called "The Charity of Night", Weekend Saturday, National Public Radio, interviewed by Scott Simon, 18, January, 1997.

  • January 1997

    "At first I didn't think of it in this way but now I too find a certain logic in the progression of the albums. Originally I had decided to do a completely different album from what I had done in the past. But as the album neared completion, I realized that the albums followed a certain pattern. "The Charity of Night" is jazz oriented, less folk than the other two, but it does have much in common with them. Now that you've brought it up, I understand that I had come to the same conclusion without knowing it. When I began to write the songs for "Nothing But a Burning Light," I deliberately went in a direction of my musical roots.

    This approach continued with "Dart to the Heart." But with this album I did not set any limits for myself and I let my writing go where it wanted. With the introduction of jazz, this album should be seen as more similar to those that I did in the 1980's. But my exploration of the "roots" sound is there, inside some of the songs and that's what this album has in common with the other two... For me the process of writing depends on the waiting, waiting for an idea. And when the idea arrives, it doesn't matter where I am I write the song. Many of my songs are influenced by the time and place I find myself.

    Two of the songs of this album, "The Mines of Mozambique" and "The Coming Rains" were written in Mozambique. When you see a landscape like that, you could be sure that scenery immediately becomes the inspiration. The things that touch you deep down in your feelings can create a strong emotional response...

    This album is more thoughtful, looks inside the person, examines emotions, touching right to the soul of oneself. It is definitely different from many of my earlier albums. Anyway I can't say how my next album will be. I don't want to generalize, but it could be more rock and roll, much louder, different in every aspect. The essence of this album is also a meditation on the fact that we all are getting older..."
    - from "Bruce Cockburn -- Night Visions" by Paolo Caru, Buscadero, No. 176, January 1997. Submitted by Nigel Parry.

  • November 1997

    Bob Doran: What do see as the tone of this album?

    BC: Well, it's obviously jazzier in contrast to the last couple of albums which featured organ prominently and were more rootsy in nature. This one is more sophisticated musically and its got more of a jazz. Its got more talking. [laughs].

    Bob Duran: Poetry with jazz...

    BC: A lot of it is that. So you want to keep that jazz feel. You don't want a band doing a rootsy interpretation of those songs. As I said I don't feel that we have to duplicate what's on the album [on the tour] but there's a reason why we went the route we did [on the album] because the songs wanted that treatment. On the other hand, I can go out and play all these songs solo and it works, but it doesn't have quite the same energy.
    - from "A Conversation with Bruce Cockburn", by Bob Doran, North Coast Journal, November 1997. Submitted by Bobbi Wisby.

  • November/December 1999

    Susan Adams Kauffman: Your 1997 album, The Charity of Night, is threaded with references to night and darkness. They turn up in such lines as "the weight of approaching dawn," "sometimes the darkness is your friend," and, of course, the title cut. Rather than viewing night as dangerous, you seem to be suggesting that night can offer a sense of safety.

    BC: We think of light as opposed to darkness, and when we're thinking of spiritual things we're encouraged to think of light as where God is and dark as where the devil is. Over time I've come to feel that it isn't like that. God is the dark, exists in the dark, just as God is in the light.

    I find the night stunningly beautiful. The subtlety of the way things are lit at night has always struck me as attractive. I also appreciate the way darkness provides refuge--whether it's the refuge of concealment or the implication of rest and peace that goes with night.

    Darkness just is what it is--another place you can be, or another thing you can use, or another quality you can appreciate. Sometimes the road does lead through dark places, and it's inescapable. But then, sometimes the darkness is comforting and protective in those dark places. It need not be seen as a source of fear.

    If you look at what I wrote in the seventies, it's full of sunlight. "Sunwheel Dance," for example. There's sun imagery all over the place. Yet it was a period when I was searching but very unaware of my own inner workings. There was all this optimism, even though the songs themselves may have been going in different directions. But the imagery of light was there--a lot.

    Things got a little darker through the eighties. The focus shifted from nature and the spiritual to people and the spiritual. It was more outward directed. The light shifted; there was a lot less light. Stuff like "Berlin Tonight" comes to mind, where light's either not an issue or it's a darker kind of light, much more metallic. In a way, The Charity of Night was the culmination of that whole line of looking at things.

    - from "Fire in an Open Hand" by Susan Adams Kauffman, The Other Side magazine, November/December 1999. Submitted by Nigel Parry.

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