OUT ON A LIMB: The long and winding road to a song

OUT ON A LIMB. Campbell River Mirror

Taking a break from wanna-be dictators, pandemics and social media squabbling, I want to talk about a song.

RELATED: Infringement of rights is in the eye of the beholder

I heard it once a long time ago and it stuck with me for years. I’m talking…1980 or so, when I first heard it and instantly, I loved it. It had a compelling sing-along chorus. But I didn’t know the lyrics.

I couldn’t remember the words of that chorus, it was a ah-ah-ah, wo-oh-oh-oh-oh, sort of thing. I did know the artist and I knew him well. It was Bruce Cockburn and the song came off one of his early albums. That I knew.

I did remember one line from a verse: “Here’s to all the nuclear good time boys…” Of course, those of you who know the song will recognize that line.

At the time I said to myself, I should find out about that song. Back then of course you couldn’t “Google it.”

The years went by. The song entered and faded from my consciousness.

I saw Cockburn live, finally, at the Vancouver Island MusicFest. Fantastic show.

Of course, I see Cockburn frequently on YouTube and other video formats. But never heard the song again.

In recent years I made a stab at trying to find it (hooray for YouTube) but when you don’t know any of the lyrics, just a chant-like chorus, it’s hard to look up a song. Of course, now there’s apps that you can hum into and it will tell you the song but I didn’t want to get into that. And I didn’t want to download the app.

So, my search remained fruitless. And I love and listen to Cockburn’s music frequently.

Anyway, this past weekend, knowing Bruce and fellow Canadian Alan Doyle (as well as Matt Anderson) were on the bill at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, which was being streamed last weekend, our family decided to buy a ticket.

Cockburn performed his set from his home, like most of the other performers. Brilliant as always. In it he said in 2020 he was planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his first album but COVID killed that plan so he said he would play a few songs from the early part of his career.

You guessed it, The Song was one of them. “Hey!” I nearly jumped out of my seat (couch as it was).

Well, I got the lyrics and chorus and…Googled it!

“Laughter” by Bruce Cockburn from his 1978 album “Further Adventures Of.”

I’ve been playing it ever since. It only took 40 years to find it (on and off).

But it was well worth the wait.

And let me present to you…


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Live musicmusic festivals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jacob Koomen takes his bike out for a spin near his home in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell Riverite to cycle length of Island to raise funds for cancer research

Long distance rides are no big deal for 73-year-old cyclist

Comox Strathcona Waste Management expects to go to tender this summer for the regional organics compost facility in Campbell River. File photo/Black Press
Comox Strathcona compost site should go to tender this summer

The regional organics facility is on target to open for the fall of 2022

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Busy day for Campbell River fire crews

Three incidents in rapid succession keep crews on their toes

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read