Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

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

Postby vlcoats » Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:36 am

Alan-
Your Sting quote made me laugh out loud and Dave too when I read it to him. I was happy to hear that you are with us daily. I am here daily too, but really need to stop spending so much time in posting... not only do I have work to do, but sometimes a little tape on my mouth would be a good thing!
AlanM wrote:One of the many joys of being retired is that I don't have to respond instantly to the demands (too strong a word?) of my clients. So ... I've been thinking.....
Sorry for being impatient but thank you for responding!

In retrospect, I share you feelings on Heather and Ladies Man... but regarding Ten New Songs, not so much. In general, I agree that it didn't grab me as much as most... and after Heather, I was hoping that it would, but there is that poem/song (A Thousand Kisses Deep), right? And there is your and Allan Showalter's YouTube video of it... and other songs there too.

I loved what you shared about the 3 'most recent' album, and your personally perceived similarities which I also agree with. In fact, I loved your comments on Leonard's music in general. I solidly agree with your comment that if he had only recorded Songs of Leonard Cohen....that would have been enough.
The lyrics don't just seep into the soul, they dive in.
I loved this most of all. I wish I could have been at your gathering in Melbourne. I would have raised a glass to Lynch as well... and to the rightness of the universe regarding how it turned out (this time at least).

Thanks for your post!
Vickie
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:59 pm

B4real wrote:.....just wait until you listen to the very last track on the last live album Can’t Forget – A Souvenir Of The Grand Tour 2015. In fact, Alan filmed LC performing this live at the Sydney Opera House. It’s so different to the normal banter...
B4-
I forgot to tell you how much I loved the intro on that last track on the Can't Forget live album with Leonard's story about the stages that men go through. It cracked me up and Dave as well! I knew Dave would like it because he has called Leonard cute twice before. And that intro was definitely cute!

Right now I am playing a game where every couple days or so I reach into my box of Leonard CDs and mix them up and pick one out without looking. That is the one I listen to next. Sometimes I will only play it through once but my rule is no skipping around on the CD and no going to the next CD until I have heard all of the one that I picked regardless of which one it is. However if it's one I like, I will listen to it over and over until I'm ready to move on. As you can guess, I usually listen to them over and over LOL. I like the game, because I have noticed that very often there will be a song that I might not have noticed much at first but after I have heard it a few more times, I often end up getting very attached to it. Like Alan has said, like an old friend.
I'm sure this game, or something like it, is nothing new to you all, as you have been listening to him much longer than I have.
Vickie
Had to edit because I was trying to write this at work on my lunch break and did poorly with it, so realized I had to fix it when I was reading it to Dave tonight...
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:26 pm

Sorry, composed a reasonable (but hardly compelling) message this morning concerning the Old Ideas/Popular Problems/You Want it Darker Trilogy, but I mis-submitted it, and now it is gone in the ether.

Have no appetite to recompose it, but one point I recall is that the reason we may like to lump the last three albums together may not lie in the songs' subjects and lyrics, but in their musical treatments. Patrick Leonard produced the first two of these albums and was involved in the last one, and he was partly (or mostly) responsible for a return to instrumentation minimalism (and to acoustic guitar on several cuts). Thus, the albums present in a way that is similar to each other (and also to Leonard's earliest albums).

My neglect of this thread (and the Fool thread) is not due to lack of interest, but to lack of time.

Maybe someone has thought of a new topic to explore?

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
2017 NOVEMBER 5-8 - MONTREAL LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:12 am

4!

I can't imagine your post not being compelling, so I am sorry you lost it. But, I like what you said about those last 3 albums, because I feel that is why I love them so much.

I don't have a new topic, but I have thought from today. I was on my way home from work, listening to the live Field Commander Cohen CD (a lucky pick from yesterday when I was playing my game of grabbing a CD from the box) and it came to the final song, So Long Marianne, and although the song isn't a one of my most favorites, I love very many parts of it. The line "You held onto me like I was a crucifix" hit me especially hard today. I was struck by the perfect beauty of his craft. Although I am very positive that he was just as prolific a poet as Dylan when it came to the works of art that came out of his head daily, I realize he shared much less with us than he produced. I was touched today by the realization of how hard he worked to make it perfect. He didn't exploit his natural talent... which he could have easily done... he decided instead to polish it and shine it and chisel it until it was just what he wanted to offer, and then on bended knee, he held it up.

I tried to explain that to Dave today when I got home and he said, "You're crazy", but he always tells me that, lol!

Vickie
PS- I don't mean to compare him to Dylan all the time and I hope it doesn't offend anyone, but it is the scale I have, so am using it.
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:16 am

its4inthemorning wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:26 pm
Sorry, composed a reasonable (but hardly compelling) message this morning concerning the Old Ideas/Popular Problems/You Want it Darker Trilogy, but I mis-submitted it, and now it is gone in the ether.
4, Before you’re ready to post simply get into the habit of copying your words first then if something goes wrong you’ll always have them on hand to post again :)

Live In Fredericton EP (2008) 2012
01. Dance Me To The End of Love
02. In My Secret Life
03. Heart With No Companion
04. Bird On The Wire
05. Who By Fire

The above is the only live album that we haven’t spoken about yet and it is a significant one. Maybe not foremost for the actual songs on it but because of what that night represented. It was the very first night of LC’s “comeback tour” on 11th May 2008 at the Playhouse Theatre in Fredericton, Canada with seating capacity of approx 700. Leonard wasn’t sure if people would come after his absence to the stage of 14 years so they thought this would be a good place to “test the waters” so to speak. As he says below in his intro to Ain’t No Cure For Love he admits to being a bit nervous plus more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9FpJ-xq7-g
Intro

The following next two songs from that first night are not on the album -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZWCgwzQ_4g
Hallelujah (with French intro)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66n-CowFMgw
Everybody Knows

Little did anyone know what that initial night would lead to!
It would be great if anyone who was in the audience could enlighten us all about their experience of that momentous night.

I find it interesting to see how the songs evolved (and the video quality improved) in the years to come from this their first exposure in 14 years to that last night in Auckland NZ in 2013.
its4inthemorning wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:26 pm
Maybe someone has thought of a new topic to explore?
And as I'm writing this a thought is that we could look at changes to a specific song from its inception to its last live performance - musically, words and delivery. And looking at Vickie's post above, even just the most favourite line from it and try to keep to one only, ha! Just a 'passing through' thought or two ;-)

EDIT: I forgot to say that I've recently listened to this quote from LC on Jennifer Warnes FBR LP Showcase 15th April 1987 Munich –
LC said: It has been conclusively established that I do not know how to sing but like the bumble bee who defies all the laws of aerodynamics I persist and I soar!

I laughed out loud!
Last edited by B4real on Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:50 am, edited 3 times in total.
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:40 am

B4,
Your post came right after mine, and I have only had a small chance to look for that live album on Amazon... it is not there from what I can see, but I will keep looking for it elsewhere. I would love to have it. I remember reading about it in the Simmons biography. She made it sound like a touching performance, so like you, I would also love to hear what anyone present has to say about the experience of being there.
Thank you for the links, and thank you for posting.
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:09 pm

Calling MaryB,

Mary, you saw Leonard three times in 2008 when he first returned to the stage, we would love to hear your thoughts about the atmosphere at the venues before the concerts, the concerts themselves, post-concert meetups, etc. I know some impressions may have been erased over the nine years since, but anything you do recall would be interesting to read. Give it a go!

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
2017 NOVEMBER 5-8 - MONTREAL LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:22 pm

Its4inthemorning,
keeping a copy, as B4real suggests, is one way of trying not to lose too much work.
But I'd rarely manage to post anything if I didn't write it all in a text processing software first, and from there copy it to the forum software and do the fineries, like quoting. My own lack of skill and a very poor and unreliable internet access would get everything lost pretty often, so I know that kind of frustrating experience...
On the web, there is such software available for free download; LibreOffice for example is not too bad. It works for Windows, Linux, and MacOS 10.8 and newer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LibreOffice

As for your musical explanation concerning the first three and the last three studio albums, it is certainly valid and a good point.

Vickie, there is a difference between elaborating precise descriptions of The Approximate, and sloppy approximations failing to describe the world. Leonard Cohen opted for the first.
(Can't say much about Bob Dylan, I lost him from view in the mid-1970s.)

B4real, may I suggest comparing two lines instead of only one?
Joan of Arc, lines 3 and 4, the habitual text versus "Can't Forget".
(Gives me an excuse to advertise some more of my own stuff. Don't fear, this time it's just a few lines: http://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=36018)
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AlanM
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby AlanM » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:43 am

its4inthemorning wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:26 pm
I recall is that the reason we may like to lump the last three albums together may not lie in the songs' subjects and lyrics, but in their musical treatments. Patrick Leonard produced the first two of these albums and was involved in the last one, and he was partly (or mostly) responsible for a return to instrumentation minimalism (and to acoustic guitar on several cuts). Thus, the albums present in a way that is similar to each other (and also to Leonard's earliest albums).
Spot on, 4, I agree completely.
Jean Fournell wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:22 pm
Can't say much about Bob Dylan, I lost him from view in the mid-1970s.
Jean, I also lost Bob Dylan mid 1970s. I still love his early songs.

My current reading is "MI6 The History Of The Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949". It is quite a long and detailed book that I am enjoying thoroughly.
However, on occasions my thoughts wander elsewhere at the mention of one of the MI6 agents, Lieutenant Commander Cohen, who was recruited in 1937.
Every later reference to him uses the title "Commander Cohen" and each time I see it, the lyrics of a certain song come to mind.
The book does not make mention of him using a parachute or attending diplomatic cocktail parties.

Off topic, I know, but an interesting little anecdote.

Alan
p.s. I'm still here Vickie.
Last edited by AlanM on Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Too much Leonard Cohen is never enough.
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:09 am

AlanM wrote:p.s. I'm still here Vickie.
Whew! ;-)
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:41 am

Thank you Alan for the "off topic" subject regarding Commander Cohen (although no subject regarding Leonard is off topic) I shared it with Dave and he laughed because he listens to comedians on his work commute, and one of them (Patton Oswalt) has said that "a sudden and inexplicable interest in World War II is a warning sign that a man is getting older" He knows that I have loved WWII since I was a teenager, so whenever he finds further proof of Patton Oswalt's theory in me, he teases me that I am just an old man. :)
Jean Fournel wrote:B4real, may I suggest comparing two lines instead of only one?
Joan of Arc, lines 3 and 4, the habitual text versus "Can't Forget".
When I read this, I compared the lyrics on the liner of SOLA to the lyrics on the liner of Can’t Forget, but they show lines 3 and 4 as identical. I couldn’t figure out why you picked those lines to compare,when they were obviously the same. So I followed your link and read your post regarding the mountains and the waters, but that didn’t clarify things at all. In fact, I confess it confused me more. So, I reread B4’s original suggestion regarding this topic:
B4real wrote: And as I'm writing this a thought is that we could look at changes to a specific song from its inception to its last live performance - musically, words and delivery. And looking at Vickie's post above, even just the most favourite line from it and try to keep to one only, ha! Just a 'passing through' thought or two.
After reading that, I thought maybe Jean was talking about the delivery of the lines, not the lyrics themselves. So I listened to both versions. Only then did I hear that the lyrics were indeed not the same! The liner notes didn't have the correct lyrics for what was on Don't Forget CD!! I am thinking B4 might have pointed out that they were different on the Can’t Forget version and I forgot. She is the lyric person in our group.

Anyway... the lyrics on SOLAH are:
“No moon to keep her armour bright,
No man to get her through this very smoky night.”

While the lyrics on Can’t Forget are:
“No man to keep her armour bright,
No moon to get her through this dark, this very smoky night.”


One could say "so what"...six of one, half dozen of another-- maybe Leonard just switched the words on a whim. But I always find it hard to believe that Leonard did anything regarding lyrics “on a whim”, and this particular change of lyrics really changes how Joan is perceived regarding whether she needed a man or not. In the SOLAH version, she appears to need one very much, as she can’t even find her way and is lost without one. In the Can’t Forget version, a man is helpful, but she doesn’t need him to find her way. In fact, apparently, she doesn’t really even need the moon, as she is “riding through the night” without one. I was just discussing this lyric change with Dave, and he agreed with the 2nd version. He said (pardon his French), “She’s Joan of Arc! She doesn’t need shit!” I had to agree with him.

As for which of the 2 versions I like best, I like the performance on SOLAH much better than the duet on Can’t Forget, but I like the lyrics better on Can’t Forget.

Regarding the post you linked us to Jean; it seems you agree that Joan doesn’t need the man to find her way any more than the lead mare needs a stallion to guide the herd. Right? At first I thought you were referring not to 2 versions of those lines, but to 3 (Before, During, and After), and I wondered if there was another version you were referring to, but then I decided the lines were just representing your own progression of thought in interpreting both versions of the lyrics. Is that right?
B4real wrote: Live In Fredericton EP (2008) 2012
01. Dance Me To The End of Love
02. In My Secret Life
03. Heart With No Companion
04. Bird On The Wire
05. Who By Fire

The above is the only live album that we haven’t spoken about yet and it is a significant one.

I have just downloaded the MP3s of these songs off of some site that Dave found for me. They were free so who knows what kind of viruses I just downloaded along with them, LOL! I tried to buy them, but I could only find the vinyl version, and we don't have a turntable. Not that buying a turntable just to hear another version of Leonard Cohen songs that I already own, would be out of the scope of the length I would go to for my infatuation with Leonard. Thank you B4 for alerting me to this small live album. What a wonderful night that must of been in Fredericton for the fans that lived there! I love his voice in these songs. It sounds like he is smiling and treating each song with joy and respect.

Speaking of the lengths I would go to for Leonard, I am watching the approach of the tribute concert with a sense of excitement mixed with a sense of the surreal. You know how it is with any life altering occurrence, you always say to yourself, "If someone had told me a year ago that I would be....(insert whatever crazy thing you are about to find yourself doing), I would have never believed them." To think that less than a year ago, I didn't own even one of his songs! I know I have said this before, but thank you all here for helping me get to know his remarkable talent. I have learned so much, not only from you all, but from the man himself. I feel that I will continue to learn more even though he is gone. I especially want to thank 4 for responding when I first reached out for guidance. It would have been so easy, I am sure, to pass over my little post and wait for someone else, if anyone, to answer it.

I have just finished A Broken Hallelujah by Leil Leibovitz. It was well worth the read. I especially liked one of the passages where he spoke about the song "Who By Fire", which is on the Fredericton album. He pointed out that the lyrics, "Who shall I say is calling?" were not just Leonard being defiant. Leibovitz said, "He was channeling one of Judaism's core traditions, which held that despite their divine origin, God's decrees were not exempt from human scrutiny." I thought that was interesting. It is that tradition that attracted me most to Judaism to begin with. I bring up the book A Broken Hallelujah to ask if anyone has a suggestion for a biography I could read next? I will be reading Stranger Music and Beautiful Losers first, so I am in no rush, but I like to have something waiting.

Last of all, are there any suggestions/tips for me at my first Leonard event? Any ideas in how I should approach my time there, any suggestions on how to best absorb it all? I am open to it all. And Alan... please don't tell me to close my eyes all of the time... that might be dangerous! Just kidding. Actually, closing my eyes during some of the songs might be a good idea?

Sorry for the very long post... I have been stewing on stuff, and the upcoming trip to Montreal has me full of emotion.

Vickie
PS- Not sure why they say "Pardon my French". Regarding my heritage, I am curious why. Does anyone know?

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