World of Wonders: The Lyrics and Music of Bruce Cockburn , James A. Heald
(209pp, Missing Link)
by Rupert Loydell, Stride Magazine, UK
In sharp contrast to the condescending and ill-judged evangelical slant of Brian Walsh's recent book on Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn (which I reviewed in Third Way and for The Matthews House Project) James A. Heald takes an informed and intelligent approach to Cockburn's albums and songs, contextualising and appraising the work under a series of headings mostly within a linear timeline.
My biggest quibble is that I'd have liked a more academic approach, particularly fuller referencing and a bibliography, and arguments followed through a little more, but Heald's enthusiasm and breadth of knowledge more than compensates for this (and, of course, it's not being marketed as an academic title, it's just me being difficult).
The book offers plenty of biographical fact, lyrical analysis, and both speculative and informed context to the long career and large discography of this intriguing singer. Cockburn started as a new-age folkie within the hippy movement before engaging with both spirituality and politics in equal measure. His inquisitive and engaging questioning and exploration is suitably matched here by Heald, who manages to interrogate literary and musical inspiration and sources, political histories and geographies, as well as the personal, throughout this engaging and witty volume....
full review at Stride Magazine