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Bruce Cockburn — Soul of a Man
Album: Nothing But A Burning Light
Avg rating:
6.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1257









Released: 1991
Length: 3:50
Plays (last 30 days): 1
I'm going to ask the question
Please answer if you can
Is there anybody's children can tell me
What is the soul of a man?

Won't somebody tell me
Answer if you can
Won't somebody tell me
Tell me what is the soul of a man?

I've travelled different countries
Travelled to the furthest lands
Couldn't find nobody could tell me
What is the soul of a man

Won't somebody tell me
Answer if you can
Won't somebody tell me
Tell me what is the soul of a man?

I saw a crowd stand talking
I just came up in time
Was teaching the lawyers and the doctors
That a man ain't nothing but his mind

Won't somebody tell me
Answer if you can
Won't somebody tell me
Tell me what is the soul of a man?

I read the Bible often
I try to read it right
As far as I can understand
It's nothing but a burning light

Won't somebody tell me
Answer if you can
Won't somebody tell me
Tell me what is the soul of a man?

When Christ taught in the temple
The people all stood amazed
Was teaching the lawyers and the doctors
How to raise a man from the grave

Won't somebody tell me
Answer if you can
Won't somebody tell me
Tell me what is the soul of a man?
Comments (119)add comment
A music collection of solely albums/CDs produced by T-Bone Burnett, including this one, would be fine. 
 Proclivities wrote:


Well, unless you wanted to use it as a marketing ploy for making a living as a gigolo, perhaps.
 
Even then. Especially then. 
 Proclivities wrote:
Well, unless you wanted to use it as a marketing ploy for making a living as a gigolo, perhaps.
 
In that case, I suspect many people would be wary of the "burn" part.

 

I have such a fond memory of seeing Bruce play at Goucher College in Maryland on this tour, with Sam Phillips opening for him.  What a show, what an album, and what a talented performer!

 Hannio wrote:


He pronounces it Coburn.  Can you blame him?
 

Well, unless you wanted to use it as a marketing ploy for making a living as a gigolo, perhaps.
 ImaOldman wrote:
IF you ever get the chance to see Bruce live take it, he's awesome!
 
I have and loved every minute.
IF you ever get the chance to see Bruce live take it, he's awesome!
 johnjconn wrote:
What is the soul of a man?

To take care of his woman, raise his children, laugh at danger and wash it down with a little wine

 
"Ain't nothing but a burning light"   Pay Attention!!!
This whole album is good.
 GertR wrote:
Cockburn - what a name - poor man!
 

He pronounces it Coburn.  And you would too if that was your name.
 GertR wrote:
Cockburn - what a name - poor man!
 

He pronounces it Coburn.  Can you blame him?
Also have seen him many times and he just seems to get better and better. Rumours of Glory............ Grim Travellers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB_6MXfUPgs
 fredriley wrote:
I love the spoons on this number :)

 
I think it is drum sticks on a table?  I agree - top notch playing by Jim Keltner.
I love the spoons on this number :)
Cockburn - what a name - poor man!

Original 1930:





Right ear, definitely right ear drum.  Judge Wapner, K-Mart, etc.
 GTT wrote:
This is an excellent version of the original ... I imagine even Blind Willie himself would enjoy it. 

 
Too bad we can't ask him. Though I feel utterly the same.
This is an excellent version of the original ... I imagine even Blind Willie himself would enjoy it. 
 Stingray wrote:
Too simple!

 
Yes...read more maybe you'll develop more complexity.
 msymmes wrote:
His best album !



 


Too simple!
 am i missing a joke? blind willie was kickin this around in late 20s or early 30s. nothing can compare to his original, but i enjoyed this.
(former member) wrote:


Great cover in the 1990's of a song from the 1960's...  love it...

 

 


Everybody in my churches loves this cover...
 
Listen to Tom Jones' new cover of this song.  Really.  It's quite good.
Same playlist, same songs, same order as 6 years ago...
Nice!
Bruce Cockburn is a truly amazing talent. He can do pop songs, blues, amazing folk songs, just about anything, but all his songs are "Bruce Cockburn" songs. He has a touch that defines his music in a way that few do. 
It's a good question, Mr. Cockburn.  Have you found a answer?  Or will my answer be different than yours?
 Cynaera wrote:
I was in the middle of something else when this started, and I liked it because it was so compelling - and then I read who did it and thought, "Holy cow - THAT was Bruce Cockburn?? Well, geez..." Now I have to factor in a new dimension to his talent. This was really awesome, and I'd thought he couldn't produce more awesome. I have a LOT of listening to do. {#Sunny}
 
Just bumping her to the front of the line again. Love reading her posts.
lumberjack
(Ontario, Canada)
Posted: Mar 07, 2011 - 09:09 < Reply >

 Chumbawamba-1984 wrote:
Left side drum. Doesn't matter much except if your audio system also supports the video. {#Yes}

 
ziakut wrote:
I like the segue from Harvey Reid to this Bruce Cockburn tune. I like the predominant right side drum rudiment throughout the song. Kinda achin' back to the days of pseudo stereo...or rather ultra separated stereo where things are panned WAY to one side or the other. It's not real common these days anymore...but I really like when artists use it for effect. Way to go Mr. Cockburn.
  


Right drum! I always think a tweeter has blown in one of my speakers when the audio is separated that much {#Naughty}

Agreed; right drum.


His best album !


I think this makes me sick.  That song was so good.
This is one of those good tunes that make you wonder what in the hell is he singing about
He was the first reason fans would scream "BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE" during concerts.
Saw him do this live this summer.  I was backstage taking pixs (about 10 feet away) and got to listen to the sound board headphones.  Awesome!

We grow our own. A bit of fertilizer, some sunshine, some rain, remove the weeds and see what you have when the ride is over...

Good set-! Thanks.
Tell me, because it seems no one knows the answer to that question.
Please forward...
Total turd!{#Moon}
 Chumbawamba-1984 wrote:
Left side drum. Doesn't matter much except if your audio system also supports the video. {#Yes}

 
ziakut wrote:
I like the segue from Harvey Reid to this Bruce Cockburn tune. I like the predominant right side drum rudiment throughout the song. Kinda achin' back to the days of pseudo stereo...or rather ultra separated stereo where things are panned WAY to one side or the other. It's not real common these days anymore...but I really like when artists use it for effect. Way to go Mr. Cockburn.
 


Right drum! I always think a tweeter has blown in one of my speakers when the audio is separated that much {#Naughty}
Left side drum. Doesn't matter much except if your audio system also supports the video. {#Yes}

 
ziakut wrote:
I like the segue from Harvey Reid to this Bruce Cockburn tune. I like the predominant right side drum rudiment throughout the song. Kinda achin' back to the days of pseudo stereo...or rather ultra separated stereo where things are panned WAY to one side or the other. It's not real common these days anymore...but I really like when artists use it for effect. Way to go Mr. Cockburn.
 

I like the segue from Harvey Reid to this Bruce Cockburn tune. I like the predominant right side drum rudiment throughout the song. Kinda achin' back to the days of pseudo stereo...or rather ultra separated stereo where things are panned WAY to one side or the other. It's not real common these days anymore...but I really like when artists use it for effect. Way to go Mr. Cockburn.
 Cynaera wrote:
I was in the middle of something else when this started, and I liked it because it was so compelling - and then I read who did it and thought, "Holy cow - THAT was Bruce Cockburn?? Well, geez..." Now I have to factor in a new dimension to his talent. This was really awesome, and I'd thought he couldn't produce more awesome. I have a LOT of listening to do. {#Sunny}
 
Good cover on this classic. But if you REALLY want a chill up the spine, go hear the original. (not a comparison, I just can't forget Blind Willie J.)
I was in the middle of something else when this started, and I liked it because it was so compelling - and then I read who did it and thought, "Holy cow - THAT was Bruce Cockburn?? Well, geez..." Now I have to factor in a new dimension to his talent. This was really awesome, and I'd thought he couldn't produce more awesome. I have a LOT of listening to do. {#Sunny}
 martinc wrote:
I love his guitar playing, effortless and some great grooves.
 
2nd.
Carl wrote:
Sounds a bit like Tom Waite but not rode as hard or put away as wet.
Sounds somewhat like Bruce Cockburn.

 NeilBlanchard wrote:
Jim Keltner's stick work is just right...

Neil
 
A bit off point, but I sure miss the greater Boston area.

Jim Keltner's stick work is just right...

Neil
I love his guitar playing, effortless and some great grooves.

Reminds me slightly of R.L. Burnside.
Heard so many versions of this, so this one is not all that, though have liked bruce for a long time. Try the Ollablee version of the more recent ones. Earliest version I can recall is Blind Willie Johnson. As an old spirtual song from the south, best sung with some soul, which is not the canadians best suit.
 Carl wrote:
Sounds a bit like Tom Waite but not rode as hard or put away as wet.
 
Beautiful image! Thanks.

This sure was a great album. It's hard to believe that Bruce has had the career he's had.

I remember the first time I heard "Wondering Where The Lions Are". I just checked, and that was 30 freaking years ago!

Unbelievable!

Rock on, Bruce! {#Wave}
Sounds a bit like Tom Waite but not rode as hard or put away as wet.
This album was the first one I bought of BC's many; it is incredible (IMO still his best). I went out and bought 10 other albums (and all since) of my new find. Still have his playlist from a great concert in Chatt town.
 Grammarcop wrote:
The soul of a man? Well, there's beer, sex and sports. Need I go on?
 
Leave the sports out.


 Grammarcop wrote:
The soul of a man?

Well, there's beer, sex and sports. Need I go on?
 

Ha Ha - geez we are shallow, but who cares
The soul of a man?

Well, there's beer, sex and sports. Need I go on?
kaosmonkey wrote:
you mean this guy?
The chattering teeth guy from Hellrasier also makes me lose sleep.
Love this song!
Martino wrote:
the guy on the cover looks like a slim version of one the "hellraiser" film characters. could be the glasses
you mean this guy?
Give him a rocket launcher and make somebody die
pushkinjim wrote:
Get a life!
But if I had a life, where would I find the time to post here?
blueyedmerle wrote:
I like Eric Burdon's version better.....
Fine, although his cover is faithful and from his heart
Excellent...
the guy on the cover looks like a slim version of one the "hellraiser" film characters. could be the glasses
Glad I know & like him already (with a grain of salt), because this one does nothing to sell me on the guy.
TJS wrote:
Way too preachy for me.
I like Eric Burdon's version better.....
Way too preachy for me.
Not bad, but I prefer Ollabelle's version.
just a great ing song.
inindian wrote:
Outstanding music! And a gay welder to boot!!
Now _that_ is a cool combination. I was trying to reconcole the tune with the album cover. Mystery solved.
ruthless wrote:
This was probably to your benefit.....
I agree, if she was that hung up about someone famous getting into a club and her not being able to, she's got some things to come to terms with.
The_Enemy wrote:
That was my only date with that woman.
This was probably to your benefit.....
I can't speak to the actions of Bruce, but his words speak loud and clear. I'll be a lifelong fan. Long live BC!
Nice version of this tune. I like the resonator guitar on it. Snappish!
The_Enemy wrote:
As we're leaving, BC walks in off the street, nods to the doorman and walks in without breaking stride.
Get a life! Like one other said, "maybe he already had a seat", maybe he had a booking, maybe he was part owner of the club - who cares. That you would have the grudge on BC instead of the doorman is beyond me. Grow up and get a life! Maybe then you won't have the "dating problems" that you seem to blame on some unbeknownst celebrity. Yeah - it's all their fault! Get a life!
Yeah! More from Bruce would be just OK by me.
The_Enemy wrote:
As we're leaving, BC walks in off the street, nods to the doorman and walks in without breaking stride.
Maybe Bruce already had a seat and had just stepped out? Just trying to give him the benefit of the doubt because I don't think he's your typical celebrity egomaniac.
Ten parts brilliant musician mixed with equal parts social and moral critique …whata ya get? …the Bruce-ster!!! …my vote for Canada's poet laureate …next to Gordon Lightfoot!
inindian wrote:
Outstanding music! And a gay welder to boot!!
I like BC but I've got a grudge against him going back 10 years. I was on a first date and after dinner, we decided to go to a jazz club. The guy at the door was very polite about letting us know that they were at capacity and apologized several times that he couldn't let us in. And he talked to a few other staff there on our behalf to see if something could be done but no go. So I could've left with some salvaged dignity and gotten on with the rest of the date -- "oh well, it was a good idea and we tried..." As we're leaving, BC walks in off the street, nods to the doorman and walks in without breaking stride. Way to rub in my lowly social status, Bruce. She had a bug about this for the rest of the evening That was my only date with that woman.
Blind Willie Johnson has a hit in the new millennium! Christian blues lives on, and even this atheist can get behind it.
Outstanding music! And a gay welder to boot!!
Baby_M wrote:
This is good, but Ollabelle does it better.
Very true. Hope to hear it here on RP in the future.
drtjdel wrote:
Why is there a gay welder on the cover? Village Poeple 2006!
Because he's Canadian and we're OK with it. Just ask the pope!
Why is there a gay welder on the cover? Village Poeple 2006!
Baby_M wrote:
This is good, but Ollabelle does it better.
Just heard about Ollabelle from my daughter. Could we maybe have a little of that group on RP, please?
In these time I answer a holllow shell were compation used to reside!!!
This is good, but Ollabelle does it better.
Great song and "Nothing But A Burning Light" is a superb album. This is a man who deserves a grammy but probably has too much class to accept it.
Dunno bout your soul, dude, but with that comment I question whether your body is in working order. The parts above the neck, to be precise. BC has more heart and soul than 90% of musicians working today. Berklee grads included. Take a look at his body of work. You can fault him for some things but not for lack of soul. daveesh wrote:
only bruce cockburn could suck the soul out of a song called soul of a man. something even a berklee education just can't teach.
only bruce cockburn could suck the soul out of a song called soul of a man. something even a berklee education just can't teach.
fireguy wrote:
Saw BC live many years ago and haven't stopped since! Right mixture of humor, conscience and amazing talent! Thanks Bill
Right on. Bruce is so amazing live. I saw him play with some pickup players in Toronto at a march with a quarter million people. It was the BEST thing about the whole "sellout" event. The complete musician, adds sparkle to anything. Ben Harper is part of this set -- if only Eric Bibb came on next! THANKS, BILL!!!!
Saw BC live many years ago and haven't stopped since! Right mixture of humor, conscience and amazing talent! Thanks Bill
Not only does the man sing, he plays all the guitar as well. Sounds like a National to me... BC is brilliant.
Perfect!!!
Wow.. yeah I wasnt too into Bruce before. He has a similar sound to Harry Manx which I am also really getting into. :D
Has the sound of serious talent at work.....
Cockburn trivia --- he also does the theme song from the children's show "Franklin."
Pyro wrote:
Is "One of the Best Ones" a SONG or CD TITLE?
It's on the CD. Nothing But a Burning Light is also my favorite Bruce album (and I have most of them). T-Bone Burnett is the producer, and to my mind captures all the best about Bruce. My suggestion, buy the CD, you won't be disappointed if you enjoyed this tune. Peace
MikeWC wrote:
It's a fantastic album and I love it all, but One Of the Best Ones is my hands down favourite.
Is "One of the Best Ones" a SONG or CD TITLE?
Creation_dreamer wrote:
Bruce rarely covers anyone else's work, with a few exceptions like "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and "Blueberry Hill." This is a great piece of historic preservation, bringing back to life the 1920's work of Blind Willy Johnson. Best songs on this disk are Mighty Trucks of Midnight, Kit Carson and Indian Wars.
It's a fantastic album and I love it all, but One Of the Best Ones is my hands down favourite.
Deceptively simple. Love the percussion. Great vocal performance. Perfect interpretation of this song. \jk
Bruce rarely covers anyone else's work, with a few exceptions like "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and "Blueberry Hill." This is a great piece of historic preservation, bringing back to life the 1920's work of Blind Willy Johnson. Best songs on this disk are Mighty Trucks of Midnight, Kit Carson and Indian Wars.
Nice to hear this in addition to the cover version that what's her name sings. Great tune.
another gem I wouldn't have know about if it wasn't for radio paradise
won't somebody tell me, is there a better singing man?
Another perfect segue Hank Williams Ramblin Man to this ! Bill you are a genius.
I love this song. I first heard it on the PBS blues show. Bruce does a good job.
bc rocks since the 70's!
Originally Posted by Leslie: Amen, thirstler, "Charity of NIght" is an incredible album that I never grow tired of listening to...even 2 or 3 times in a day. "Mines of Mozambique" is one of my favorite songs from that album that I have been considering uploading to RP.
so upload it already, "planning to upload?" put it up on itunes (if you are smart enough to realize that macs are easier...)
From: Leslie >...AWESOME song from Bruce Yeah, \'cause it\'s a cover!
Originally Posted by squarepixel: I guess that guy that used to bang his drumsticks on the floor in the cafeteria when I was in 6th grade finally got a gig on this tune.
I heard him play this live this past summer. It\'s better live. *smile*
I guess that guy that used to bang his drumsticks on the floor in the cafeteria when I was in 6th grade finally got a gig on this tune.
Originally Posted by thirstler: Yes! Now play something - anything - from 'The Charity of Night.' That album is nothing less than a spiritual experience.
Amen, thirstler, "Charity of NIght" is an incredible album that I never grow tired of listening to...even 2 or 3 times in a day. "Mines of Mozambique" is one of my favorite songs from that album that I have been considering uploading to RP.