Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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AlanM
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby AlanM » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:46 am

vlcoats wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:43 pm
I have just received my new headphones, and they are amazing!
Hi Vickie, I've been following your adventure closely.
Try listening in the dark.
Other than being at a concert, I feel this is the best way to listen to Leonard.
Let your mind wander wherever it will, don't concentrate too much on the lyrics initially, you will absorb them.

Alan
Too much Leonard Cohen is never enough.
London 1972, Adelaide 1980, 1985, 2009
Sydney 2010; Adelaide 2010
Sydney 2013 X2; Melbourne 2013; Adelaide 2013
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:03 pm

its4inthemorning wrote: To me the last three studio albums seem to have a lot in common….. I know you will like what you hear.
I would say you have gotten to know me pretty well in this regard!
As you would guess, I am thrilled with Old Ideas, to put it mildly. (!!)
Likewise, I doubt if it comes as any surprise that Darkness is my very favorite. As soon as I heard the opening guitar, it had me. And the lyrics got me too… his voice when he sings “…Just drink it up” is so awesome.
Or maybe my favorite is Crazy to Love You (I know…again with the guitar) I loved the lyrics where he sings about wanting to head for the highway and “I’m old and the mirrors don’t lie”. I appreciate how he repeated my favorite line, “Her braids and her blouse all undone”, but of course the song is much too short.
I am also in love with the song Lullaby. This one might have something to do with the fact that as I was listening to it for the first time, I was lying on my back under some pine trees with my new headphones on and a few white clouds passing overhead. It was the perfect setting for that song, and for the entire album.
These are just my first impressions though, and I know I will have even more favorites on this one.

(Thank you especially for your Old Ideas, Mr. Cohen)

AlanM wrote: Try listening in the dark.
Alan, it’s funny that you would say this, because I stumbled into this on my own just yesterday! So far, I have listened to each album for the first time while driving alone in the car on my way to work. I take a quiet highway along the river surrounded by fields and hills, so it’s peaceful and the perfect time to listen without interruptions. But now that summer is here, I don’t have much opportunity to drive in the car by myself (I am on break until August), so for my first hearing of Old Ideas, I just put on my headphones and found a quiet spot to lie down and close my eyes. Not exactly dark, but the same idea. And YES, you are absolutely right; it is the perfect way to listen to him. It has always felt like he is right next to me when I listen to him, but now it sounds like he is really there too. No doubt the headphones help with that. I also need to pay strict attention to your recommendation to let my mind wander and not concentrate too much on the lyrics. I sometimes have a hard time letting my mind wander without grabbing a hold of something. This is probably why I have never been very successful with meditation. But, I will certainly try.

Thanks again everyone for your feedback! I don’t have to tell you how special this all is for me.
Vickie
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B4real
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:47 am

vlcoats wrote:
Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:03 pm
Thanks again everyone for your feedback! I don’t have to tell you how special this all is for me.
Vickie
As I've said before, this has been a healing process for me and a pleasure to help here in some way.

Firstly, I thought I’d add this LC quote to the previous ones about how he feels about his words because he’s also quoting Bob Dylan which I thought you might like :) It’s from The LC Files – LC Looks Back On The Past 2005.

“'Something is happening', as Dylan says, 'but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones'. So that’s the way I feel. So what is happening or what has happened to me or my writing or my lyrics, I’m not interested in the explanation, even my own, I’m only interested in the feeling that is just answering the appetite to describe moments and feelings that somehow has not been described in what is available".

Just after saying that, he quotes some lines from Crazy To Love You, so he’s had them together this way for at least seven years before they were recorded:
"I had to go crazy to love you, I had to go down to the pit, I had to go crazy to love you, I had to let everything fall. I had to be people I hated, I had to be no one at all. Tired of choosing desire, I’ve been saved by a blessed fatigue, the gates of commitment unwired and nobody trying to leave".

This song was only sung live a couple of times. Here it is at Ghent on the first night of the 2012 OI tour:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzFANFG4Di8

Darkness was originally called The Darkness and a lot of people still refer to it that way. Ha! I knew that intro would suck you in right away! It was played at a lot of concerts with varying versions before and after OI album was released:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkWMqs67Lhw
Nashville 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA8hE1CJmJo
Lille 2010

Just for comparison here's LC without his guitar singing Darkness at Quebec 2012 -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvzXH5bdHHg

My favourite is Amen. I love the violin played here by Robert Korda. You may have noticed in the CD liner notes that he has OBM after his name. Remember one of my previous posts saying that term is a Jewish custom used when referring to someone who has passed away. This song was recorded when he was still alive and released here after his death.
Here’s Amen at Ghent on the second night of the 2012 OI tour with Alex on violin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k0hSdvlKcg

Lullaby on the album is very different to the earlier versions sung live at the concerts.
Here are a couple of them from 2009:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUjVhQc1aIY
audio only and the first time it was played in public

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InQ69VP182s
another version

There is at least another version but no link available.

Enjoy!
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:34 pm

B4-
I am glad to hear that this is helping you process and heal. Such a loss everyone here has been going through I know.

You are right that I loved the quote with mention of Dylan :) Mostly, I like hearing Leonard's own take on his writing. However, how would he know whether or not what he is describing has never been described before unless he had somehow exhausted every avenue to find it-- which is of course impossible. Regardless, there is no way anyone could describe what he is feeling or thinking but himself. Everyone has their own unique take on things, it's just that so few of us are able to express things in a way that reaches anyone at all. Lucky for us, he was so very good at it.

Thank you for the links. I especially loved the first two Darkness videos with him on guitar. Such a great song. The more I hear it, the more I like it. Funny that it was once called The Darkness; that's how I typed it by accident when I was writing about it earlier So many of his song titles start with "The", that I have to check each song before I write about it!

All your great YouTube links have prompted me to call our satellite internet people to see if we can get an upgrade, and we are in luck. They have upgraded their satellites to a 'new' generation of service, so it should improve our speed some, although it will never be as fast as regular internet. I love living out in the country, but every once in a while, I would trade a little of this solitude for better internet!

I have been reading "Leonard Cohen Prophet of the Heart" by Dorman and Rawlins. It is slower going for me than the Simmons biography. Maybe it is the writing style, or maybe they are being too intellectual for me, but I am only about 1/2 way through. There is one thing I was curious about though regarding Leonard and Marianne. They give one of the reasons that he and Marianne never took their relationship further as "no Cohen can marry a divorced woman...". I was wondering how true that is. Not that any of you necessarily know, it was his business alone, but I have wondered about their relationship often. Was it because she was not only a gentile but also divorced or was it just because of time and space which can erode any relationship (especially in the young)? Or maybe it was all the temptations in his life. Or hers? I know it is none of my beeswax, but I have always been a sucker for a good love story. It would make a great movie. And then there was Suzzane Elrod. It will be interesting to see how Dorman and Rawlins explain that one.

Back to the music... I love that I have finally caught up to his later years so I can start watching the videos on YouTube once in awhile and am starting to feel that maybe it is time to watch one of the DVDs that I have been waiting to open. I have Songs From the Road and Live in London. Any suggestions on which to open first? I don't think I will be ready for the next CD for a bit, but would like to see him perform some of the songs I have been listening to all this time... after all, if I were smart enough to heed my inner voice years ago, I would have been able to see him perform live around the time that Old Ideas was released. (if only, if only...)

Thank you again.
Vickie
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:16 pm

Good morning,

I find that I am now checking this thread out on an almost daily basis, I guess like B4 said, it's a way of healing.

B4, thank you for the wealth of information you provide, especially the quotes. Never saw the LC quote with the Bob Dylan "Mr. Jones" reference. Highway 61 Revisited is my favorite Dylan album and the only one I have. Many good songs there besides Ballad of a Thin Man (Mr. Jones) including Queen Jane Approximately, It Takes a Lot to Laugh it Takes a Train to Cry, and Desolation Row. I am impressed with your artistic endeavors, maybe it is jealousy because I am just not wired to to create art. To me the technicalities of music such as being able to even read it much less playing an instrument are as alien to my nature as being fluent in in Swahili.

Alan, it is nice to see someone else is following this thread, please chime in more. Actually I wish more people would, I am sure many out there have more meaningful and interesting things to say than I do.

Re Old Ideas, just listened to it again and these lyrics struck me:

From Going Home, of course "He's a lazy bastard living in a suit." Given the efforts he put into his craft, I always thought this was his wry sense of humor coming across. But then, LC was a strong critic of himself, so maybe he felt he could have created more had he tried harder. In any case, when he sang that lyric in concert, it always drew laughs from the audience.

Also from Going Home is the enigmatic "Brief elaboration of a tube." Many have theorized what this means, but none of those explanations ever satisfied me. A mystery that will never be solved.

Amen is chock full of interesting lyrics, I love "The laws of remorse are restored."

In Show Me the Place he says, "A thread of light, a particle, a wave." I recall from physics courses that there are two theories about light, the particle theory which treats light as if it consisted of a stream of particles like atoms, and the wave theory which explains light as if it were waves, such as what you see when you throw a rock into a pond. These theories must have been where that lyric came from. LC, in the midst of composing a song about life and love and faith, drops in a zinger from Physics 1!

From Darkness we have "I said is it contagious? You just said drink it up." He could have labored for ten years and not come up with a better way to say that.

All of the songs on Old Ideas are strong ones, but my favorites are the first four (Going Home, Amen, Show Me the Place, and Darkness) and the last one (Different Sides).

Vickie, I see from my Astronomy magazine that you are due for a treat this summer. On August 21, there will be a solar eclipse (moon crossing between earth and sun) which will be visible in certain areas of the US. According to eclipse maps, you will see a 94% eclipse (94% of the sun will be masked). Be sure to follow guidelines for viewing safely to avoid eye damage.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:09 pm

Thank you 4!

I love your feedback as always. it's interesting to see what songs others find significant and why. I see you like the same lyrics on Darkness as I do. I missed the physics reference in Show Me the Way. I guess I was always more into biology and chemistry, but I appreciate the insight you shared. As for the tube line in Going Home, that one had me wondering what the heck he meant also. When I am ready to really explore the rest of the forum, I will have to check that out to see what other people said about it.

Also glad to hear that you enjoy Highway 61. It is definitely an awesome album. I have often been asked what Dylan album is my favorite. Depending on how I'm feeling I might give a different reply but I can never narrow it down to less than two or three.

I am looking forward to the eclipse. I remember seeing one, or at least it was near to one, years and years ago when I was living in Seattle barely out of high school. I was working at a furniture shop and we all put down our tools and walked outside. Nobody asked the bosses. We just did it. I remember how eerie it was when it got dark like after dusk in the middle of the day and so quiet except for a dog barking. I still can hear that. And don't worry, I will do what they say to protect my eyes.

Thanks for sharing! I'm glad you are contributing to this thread.
Edited to add this PS... Like you 4, I am somewhat jealous of those who can create or even read music, however appreciation of music is a talent all its own, don't you think? And we can count ourselves lucky in receiving that in spades!
Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:12 am

Vickie,
Even though I too live in the country and by the sea a few months ago I installed a new very fast internet service and it’s excellent. I hope your new satellite service will be faster as well.

I haven’t looked anything up yet about Leonard and Marianne but I think they simply slowly drifted apart regardless of religion. Having said that this poem, Days of Kindness on the last page of Stranger Music comes immediately to mind. Actually it’s quite appropriate to post it now because of the Hydra dedications for Leonard at the moment. He’s reminiscing in this poem about his time at Hydra with Marianne and maybe the reason why they parted. It may be just a poem but I feel there’s a certain truth in it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxyEN9ddQyw

EDIT: I just remembered reading what Leonard said about their parting in the same interview with the Bob Dylan quote:
“I don’t remember how we split up, somehow we just moved and we just separated. The periods of separations became longer and longer, and then somehow it collapsed. Kind of weightlessly, like ashes falling. There was no confrontation, there was no discussion, in fact I don’t remember how it happened. She was in Oslo, I was in New York struggling to make a living, and she was, I suppose, struggling to find some sort of situation, to take care of the child, and the distances grew and grew until we were leading different lives.”

Back to Recent Songs album and The Gypsy’s Wife. Suzanne Elrod was the inspiration for this song written when they were starting to go their separate ways. The same situation applies for the poem he recites here Slowly I Married Her from DOALM where she was the muse for many other poems in this book. This clip is part of a link I posted back then – The Song of LC 1979 by Harry Rasky. I’ve always loved this clip and the whole film is a favourite of mine!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2byWWMmf20

EDIT: Possibly you couldn’t get two different ways of LC's parting between the two women but here’s a comparable association. The one above a simmering volcanic eruption and the first one soft ashes falling!

As regards the live albums – I suggest watching Live In London first because it was filmed in 2008, the first year of the last epic tour. Then watch Songs From The Road which is a compilation from 2008-09. Keeps everything in a chronological time line.

4,
Thanks so much for your kind words about my postings (I hope the Jikan ones enjoy them too ;-) ) and my art! About the latter, I think if anyone has an overwhelming desire or need to do anything they will find a way for that to become a reality – whether it’s painting a picture, playing a musical instrument or discovering new science or physics formulas. You just have to want it bad enough and be focused and tunnel-visioned and it will happen! Ha! yes, I did say recently on the forum I was an optimist!

And to both of you, speaking of Eclipse - that's one of my favourite songs from John Denver -
here with vision of eclipses and sunsets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBt2QuR2vd4

....told you I had an eclectic taste in music :)

btw - still on planetary alignments, it's the Winter Solstice here today.
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:15 pm

Just some odds and ends:

Thanks B4 for the poems by LC about ending relationships, Marianne wrote a book a few years ago about her relationship with LC which I found interesting, looking at things through her eyes. Maybe I will retrieve it from our bookshelves and post a passage or two. The whole business of Leonard communicating with her in her final days is very poignant.

In my mention of Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited, I forgot to mention one of its most memorable tracks, Like a Rolling Stone. When first released as a single it was truncated and omitted the final verses, they could only be heard by listening to the album. (I see there is evidently a way to edit one's post after it has been sent; how does one do that?)

Vickie, I agree with B4, you should now view your Live in London DVD. I will never understand how you had the discipline to put it aside this long, but the long wait will make the viewing experience even better. Watching that DVD was the act that reconnected me with LC after so many years. Like I said once before, you will sense that, on that night, there is no place on the planet that Leonard and his band would rather be. There is no doubt in my mind that Live in London will captivate you, the only question is, how many viewings will it take before you are able to put it aside. Will await your impressions, hope your husband enjoys it as well.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:51 pm

B4-
Thank you for the video links! I loved hearing him recite Days of Kindness and talk about how he hopes the memories are good for the people he thinks about "from his spine". I also loved what he said in the second clip about the end of The Gypsy's Wife. I read somewhere that someone had said he was being hypocritical in the line "... he who comes between them will be judged", but I like how he explained it in your video link by saying even though a couple is in the midst of a psychic catastrophe, it's not an invitation to take advantage of it. That is so true and sadly happens all the time. The poem on that one was beautiful too. And he isn't bad to look at either, is he! I tried to search for the film "The Song of LC 1979" by Harry Rasky in hopes of finding a video I could order of it, but nope! I did see that it is on YouTube and that another awesome clip either you or 4 had shared (about "The Window") is part of that film as well.

How true what you said to 4 about if someone wants something badly enough, it will happen (regarding playing music or whatever). It isn't all talent or even desire is it? Hard work is always there waiting to see how serious we are about anything worth having. Thanks for the reminder (ugh!) :)

Yes, you are in winter now aren't you! I forget how far away you are. Amazing.
Thanks again!

Just saw you posted too 4! To edit your post afterwards, there is a little pencil looking icon right in front of the red exclamation mark at the top of your post. Just click on that and whatever you forgot to add or need to fix can happen! I will be watching Live in London first then!!

V

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