Classic Clips: Cowboy Junkies – “Common Disaster” 1996

Photo by Heather Pollock

If you had a penny for every break up song in the world, you would have a lot of pennies. Cowboy Junkies normally perceptive lyrics are especially on target here. “A candle burning for everything I’ve ever wanted. A tattoo burned for everything I’ve ever wanted and lost. I had a long list of names that I kept in my back pocket. But I’ve cut it down to one and your name’s at the top”.

Their quiet, reflective music is harder than sometimes, but is still at odds with the violence and intensity of the words. When they played this live on their 2019 tour Margo Timmins spoke rather than sang the verses, which added a new level of menace to the lyric.

Geffen were throwing money at the band at this time and clearly saw a hit single in this song. They made a promotional video full of slightly odd Wizard of Oz references. This version has evolved from the slightly bland studio version with a crunching solo from Michael Timmins.

The song makes a good point of entry for the Cowboy Junkies music. With a new album just announced for 2022 if you haven’t caught up with them, this could be the right time.

About Tim Martin 118 Articles
Back to bouncing between Clevedon and Crianlarich, with all sorts of Americana music to help the journey. I then write about some of it here and elsewhere...

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