-- Tabs, Chords & Tunings: When You Give It Away --
Transcribed by Steve Meger

Tabs Index

Disclaimer: The following tab is intended for private enjoyment and educational purposes and should not be read as an encouragement for members of the general public to play the song live. The lyrics and music of "When You Give It Away" are the intellectual property of Bruce Cockburn, his management, and record companies, etc,.


When You Give It Away is transcribed from the Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu album.


Drop D tuning  (low DADGBE high)

 D       000232
 Bm      x24432
 D+9sus  xx0030
 A       x0222x
 G5      550033


  D   (use little finger to fret 5th fret on low D string)
  ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   

Slid out of my dreams like a baby out of the nurse's hands
onto the hard floor of day
I'd been wearing OJ's gloves and I couldn't get them off
it was too early but I couldn't sleep
showered and dressed and stepped out into the heat
the parrot things on the porch next door announced my arrival on Chartres
with their finest rendition of squealing brakes

Down in Kaldi's café the newspaper headlines promised new revelations
about Prince Charles' Amex account
a morose youth in old-time Austrian drag stares past his mustache at the
and last night's punks and fetish kids all tattoos and metal bits
and in the other corner (wearing the white trunks)
today's tourists already sweating

Deep in the city of the saints and fools
pearls before pigs and dung become jewels
I sit down with tigers and sit down with lambs
none of them know who exactly I am


 ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   
 I've  got this thing in my  heart     I must  give it  to-

  D                                             D+9sus
 ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   

  A                               G5
 ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   
    It  only  lives when  you                    give  it  a-way
Languid mandala of the ceiling fan
teases the air like a slow stroking hand
study the faces, study the cards
study the shadow creeping over the yard


Guitar solo in D major pentatonic, with distortion and heavy phasing

Trouble with nations, trouble with relations
where you gonna go for some illumination?
too much to carry too much to let go
time goes fast, learning goes slow

Chorus (twice)

give it away


  ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   . 

Tabs Index

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