Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Bruce Cockburn, “Lovers In A Dangerous Time”

Jim’s theme for this week is "music by Canadian musicians." I have Arlee Bird to thank for introducing me, in a way, to the music of Bruce Cockburn (pronounced "Coburn"). A while back, every time I’d publish a playlist and solicit the name of other songs that fit, Arlee would almost always suggest a song by Cockburn. Having learned that he was from Ottawa, Ontario (Canada’s Washington, DC) sealed the deal.

Cockburn wrote "Lovers In A Dangerous Time" and recorded it on his 1984 album, Stealing Fire. It was a Top 40 hit for him, peaking at #25 on the Canadian charts in August. YouTuber Robin Gladstone has this to say about the song six years ago:

He wrote this while walking with his then five year old daughter. He was gloomy about the state of the world and wondered how it would be for her in coming years.He was inspired by her innocence and fascination with the world.

The song has also been done by Dan Fogelberg on his 1990 album The Wild Places, and by Barenaked Ladies on the 1991 Cockburn tribute album Kick At The Darkness.

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

Don’t the hours grow shorter as the days go by?
You never get to stop and open your eyes
One day you’re waiting for the sky to fall
The next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all
When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

These fragile bodies of touch and taste
This vibrant skin, this hair like lace
Spirits open to the thrust of grace
Never a breath you can afford to waste

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
Got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

Lovers in a dangerous time

Lovers in a dangerous time

Lovers in a dangerous time

Now for a bonus, here’s guitarist Lenny Breau, who was born in Maine but lived in New Brunswick and Manitoba and is in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. He starts with an improvisation followed by Toots Thielemans’s "Bluesette."

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for September 20, 2020.

21 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Bruce Cockburn, “Lovers In A Dangerous Time”

  1. Love that Bruce Cockburn tune. I have never heard of it before but it is a great tune. I found the Barenaked Ladies doing an acoustic cover of the song and it isn’t bad.

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  2. Stealing Fire was the first Cockburn album I ever acquired after hearing about him on the Juno Awards which I had watched on Canadian TV. After that album I was hooked. My quest for the rest of that year 1985 was to find every one of his albums to add to my collection. Mostly I bought them on cassette, though I got a few LPs as well, and that meant my replacing all of those albums as well as adding more newer ones to my CD collection. I prefer Cockburn’s earlier stuff, but I haven’t bought any new albums in the past many years and haven’t kept up with his newer stuff. I saw him twice in concert–once in Portland OR in the eighties and later in Santa Barbara CA in about 1992. He was excellent in concert with part of his backup and warmup in the second concert being TBone Burnett and Sam (Leslie) Phillips. Great concert in an old restored theater.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Breau was full of surprises. He was one of the first to play fingerstyle jazz, and mixed in a lot of techniques, of which flamenco was just one. Chet Atkins and he were good friends, so you know they picked stuff up from each other. Glad you liked these!

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    1. I need to dig in more with Cockburn. He did instrumental pieces as well as vocals, and was good at both. Lenny Breau is anotherone: he did some amazing stuff. That’ll keep Spotify occupied for a while (and Amazon Music).

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  3. so funny, when i listen back to it now, his voice does not sound deep at all. i remember listening to the chorus of that song and thinking he had a deep voice and must have been macho, with dark hair. so different now, and seeing the video of him.

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    1. Funny how that works, isn’t it? What happens to me a lot is that I’ll get fragments of two (sometimes more) different songs in my head and magically weave them together, so when I’m listening to one or the other I’ll be like “hey, that’s not how it goes.” Now that I think about it, that might have been a skill I could have used…

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