One of three Bruce Cockburn "best of" collections released in the 1980s -- including Resume (1981) and Waiting for a Miracle (Singles 1970-1987) (1987) -- Rumours of Glory concentrates primarily on his work of the late '70s and early '80s. There's some definite overlap in the track selections of the three, though one cut, "Yanqui Go Home" (presumably added as an enticement to fans), is only available here. Although it stops short of the excellent Stealing Fire (1984), only including material through 1983's The Trouble With Normal, Rumours of Glory still draws from the bulk of what is easily the best period of Cockburn's career. It also does a nice job of highlighting the various sides of Bruce Cockburn, from political ("Trouble With Normal," "Grim Travellers") to personal ("Wanna Go Walking," "Coldest Night of the Year") to mystical ("Lord of the Starfields," "Rumours of Glory"), as well as showing him equally at home with folk, rock, or world-influenced music. Though hardly comprehensive, Rumours of Glory is a good, single-disc assemblage of 14 tunes from an artist working at the top of his game.
A strong set of all-original material that has its cake and eats it too. With unobtrusive electric guitar and bass blending in with more traditional instruments like flute and djembe, it's both more accessible to modern audiences than traditional African instrumentation, and not as pop- and dance-oriented as much contemporary African music. The focus remains on Sangare's gliding singing (thickened by a couple of female backup singers) and the music's looping (but not laid-back) grooves.