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. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Thu May 04, 2017 4:40 pm

its4inthemorning wrote:
Thu May 04, 2017 4:30 pm
Amazon just delivered a NEW Leonard Cohen album. It's titled Recent Songs, have any of you heard it?
Oh yes! I I'm quite the expert on that album so please let me know if you have any questions! ;-) Ha I know most of it is not at all new to you! But I am listening to "I'm Your Man" for the first time on my way to work, so we will both have something 'new' to hear today!
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Fri May 05, 2017 3:09 am

Hi 4, unfortunately I wasn’t at Lucca, I was referring to both the soundcheck videos and that I understood how you felt about that unplanned hour of your day. I couldn’t help making a numerical pun on our shared number 4 about it!
Glad to see you are also enjoying your “new” album ;-)

I love the casualness of the soundchecks and you never know what will happen!
Here’s a spontaneous Happy Birthday to Mitch for the 1st August from Pula 2013.
If you look closely you can see a coatless Leonard serenading Mitch with his mouth harp :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXbSQuHD3dI

Thank you Maarten for the video!
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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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Fri May 05, 2017 7:44 am

Vickie, and others who are silently reading your journey (feel free to join in :) ) I thought we could recap visually on LC’s songs thus far by the way of a classic video documentary on the BBC in 1988. It’s called Songs From The Life Of Leonard Cohen and for those who haven’t seen it yet the footage features clips, interviews and some songs from his 1988 I’m Your Man Tour.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqcT5ckJvLs

Below is a track listing and which album the original song came from:

First We Take Manhattan...........I’m Your Man 1988
Suzanne..............................Songs of LC 1967
Chelsea Hotel # 2...................New Skin For The Old Ceremony 1974
Take This Waltz .....................I’m Your Man 1988
Hallelujah ...........................Various Positions 1985
Who By Fire..........................New Skin For The Old Ceremony 1974
Bird On A Wire.......................Songs From a Room 1969
Red River Valley......................written by James Kerrigan (LC spontaneously plays mouth organ at Hydra)
........................................(he sang this at 3 known concerts and 1 soundcheck from 1975-85)
So Long Marianne....................Songs of LC 1967 (with a different verse)
Famous Blue Raincoat...............Songs of Love and Hate 1971 (rehearsal)
The Partisan..........................Songs From a Room 1969
Joan Of Arc...........................Songs of Love and Hate 1971
Ain’t No Cure For Love..............I’m Your Man 1988
Tower Of Song........................I’m Your Man 1988
Dance Me To The End Of Love......Various Positions 1985

I hope everyone enjoys it!

btw.... I simply must add that since I started posting here and hopefully helping Vickie and others learn more about LC "Along the way...." :) I have found that personally it has been most therapeutic for me dealing with his loss. I think it's true when they say that the giver gets more than the receiver! Either way, (literally and visually as above) there will always be a light in the window.
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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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Fri May 05, 2017 10:08 pm

A bit of humor on a rainy day.

I was always truly amazed that Leonard could remember all the lyrics without using any sort of teleprompter given that (a) he wrote so many songs and poems; (b) there were often additional lyrics/verses that were omitted in the final versions, but which might have still been lurking in his brain; and (c) he had attained the age at which we all start to become forgetful.

Here is a video from a 2010 concert in Wiesbaden in which Leonard commits the unthinkable--he forgets the second line of So Long, Marianne. Note that after the songs resumes and he sings "you make me forget so very much," the audience appreciates the appropriateness of that line. Unfortunately the video quality is poor in that we see him on the concert screen rather than on the stage, but that is the only version I find on youtube.

https://youtu.be/wym-_SlAA-w

Enjoy.

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 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Sat May 06, 2017 6:41 am

First off........ I LOVE "I'm Your Man" very much! It is so weird to be going through all these years of his career in such a short time. So many changes to absorb. I was worried that I wouldn't love it, because I had the impression from somewhere along the line that it wasn't as good as "Various Positions", but for me it is much better. I love his deep voice and his sense of humor. I loved "Everybody Knows" for his sly dark lyrics "Everybody knows you've been discreet...but there were so many people you just had to meet...without your clothes...and everybody knows". So perfect! And then of course what woman could be immune to "I'm Your Man"? Although I have to say in all honesty as much I love him, I'm not so sure if he would have been easy to have a romantic relationship with. His honesty must have broken many hearts. However, I would have given anything to be his friend. "Tower of Song" is a favorite too, and I can see now why so many people quote it when they speak of him. But my absolute favorite on this album is "Take This Waltz"... hands down. At this point, I don't even know why, but I was immediately filled with goosebumps when I heard it. I need to listen to this album more to find out why. The only song that I had a "what the heck?" reaction to was "Jazz Police". On a whole, this album was everything I was hoping and more!
B4real wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 7:44 am
I thought we could recap visually on LC’s songs thus far by the way of a classic video documentary on the BBC in 1988. It’s called Songs From The Life Of Leonard Cohen and for those who haven’t seen it yet the footage features clips, interviews and some songs from his 1988 I’m Your Man Tour.
Oh B4, you don't know how much I would love to watch this. Beyond the fact that I would love to see all of these songs at the stage in his career that I am currently on, the song "Red River Valley" is very special to me. I didn't know Leonard ever performed it. It is one of the earliest songs I remember my father singing on long car trips between Canada and Oregon. Does anyone know if this documentary is on DVD? I Googled it but didn't see it. Unfortunately, we live in a very rural area where the only internet is satellite internet and we aren't able to stream anything beyond a song or two. I will watch it a song at a time if I have to but would much rather see it in its entirety.
B4real wrote:btw.... I simply must add that since I started posting here and hopefully helping Vickie and others learn more about LC "Along the way...." :) I have found that personally it has been most therapeutic for me dealing with his loss. I think it's true when they say that the giver gets more than the receiver! Either way, (literally and visually as above) there will always be a light in the window.
I am so happy to hear this. I imagine this has been very hard for all of you that have followed him and have known his music all this time. From what I have seen in my limited exposure, he bared himself in his songs and poetry and worked so very hard to give what he did. If you you love him, I am sure you got that.

Thanks again everyone for sharing him with me, even if you are just reading and not responding. You are all special just because you get him.
Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby Hartmut » Sat May 06, 2017 4:59 pm

its4inthemorning wrote: Here is a video from a 2010 concert in Wiesbaden in which Leonard commits the unthinkable--he forgets the second line of So Long, Marianne.
Thank you! - I've been looking for this for a long time; but came to the sad conclusion that no video footage of that performance exists.
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Sat May 06, 2017 6:17 pm

its4inthemorning post wrote: I was always truly amazed that Leonard could remember all the lyrics... Here is a video from a 2010 concert in Wiesbaden in which Leonard commits the unthinkable--he forgets the second line of So Long, Marianne.
Thank you 4- how funny... and so cute when he looks up and goes, "What the?". I loved it!
Thanks for sharing
Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Sun May 07, 2017 3:57 am

4, I remember that video! It was ironically hilarious!

Vickie,
Happy to hear your reactions to the I’m Your Man album! I didn’t want to influence you by first saying my favourite song from that album but it is also Take This Waltz and I still get shivers when it’s played! I think the line, “And I’ll bury my soul in a scrapbook, with the photographs there and the moss”...definitely has something to do with it also plus the fact that it was played at all the concerts I went to on the last world tour. Leonard wrote this song and melody based on a poem called Little Viennese Waltz by Spanish poet Federico García Lorca who was a major influence in his early life of poetry.

Here’s what he had to say about it during his I’m Your Man 1988 tour: “I was 15 years old and I was wandering through the bookstores of Montreal and I fell upon one of his books, and I opened it, and my eyes saw these lines, ‘I want to pass through the Arches of Elvira, to see your thighs and begin weeping’. I thought, this is where I want to be ... I read along, ‘Green, how I want you green’. I turned another page; ‘The morning threw fistfuls of ants in your face’. I turned another page, ‘Her thighs slipped away like schools of silver minnows’. I knew that I had come home. So it is with a great sense of gratitude that I am able to repay my debt to Federico Garcia, at least a corner, a fragment, a crumb, a hair, an electron of my debt by dedicating this song, this translation of his great poem Little Viennese Waltz, Take This Waltz. I named my daughter Lorca, so you can see this is not a casual figure in my life”.

Tower Of Song has had quite a few humorous variations to it over the years in the last world tour. The very last one he ever did in Sydney 2013 is hilarious! LC’s droll sense of humour at its finest! It’s on the last live album, Can’t Forget – A Souvenir Of The Grand Tour 2015 so you’ll have to wait until then! I was friendly with one of the tour’s Australian film camera crew and every time Leonard would sing, “I was born with the gift of a golden voice”.... every night without fail, he would turn around to me from his camera (I was always in or near the front row) and roll his eyes in reaction to the audience’s (including mine) response!

About Jazz Police – This song was performed at approx. 12 concerts in 1988 in Canada and the USA but I think the only visual of it is Austin City Limits. If your satellite connection is not stable for the whole show, here it is singularly and you could watch the other songs individually from YouTube as well. The usual Star Trek theme song is here but he scats in this song at the concerts and not on the album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmaMYMWg6rE

Here’s an explanatory excerpt from The LC Files about it:
One of the frequently asked questions about the song considers its beginning. How or where did Cohen get the idea for the song? In an interview in Musician Cohen gives the story. It began during the making of the record Recent Songs when he worked with the fusion group Passenger. Often the band would sneak bits of jazz riffs into the songs, which Cohen admitted he had to watch out for. Between Cohen and the band grew an understanding that if he caught them playing jazz riffs (augmented fifths or sevenths is the example he gives) he would call them on it. Initially he was himself the jazz police! The intent was to then take the idea of a 'jazz police' and let it run on into some type of fruition, be it absurdity or full expression. It took 9 years (1979-1988) for the song to develop and be recorded; a testament to Cohen's well know practice of working and reworking pieces of poetry and songs in time consuming detail.

Songs from the life of LC isn’t on a DVD as far as I know but most of them can be individually watched on YouTube one at a time if your satellite internet won’t let you watch the complete link.

For some reason I had a feeling you would like Red River Valley so here’s an audio version of it by LC at the Birmingham soundcheck 1979 ....Yeehaw! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p98246laTNQ

As well as Red River Valley there are a couple more ‘cowboy’ songs I think you might like - Streets of Laredo and I Ride An Old Paint in the links below. I couldn’t find them individually so hope this is OK. It’s an audio compilation album by Dr H Guy called The Other Songs of LC vol1 & vol2 (those two songs are on vol2). You can download it and another compilation album he put together, Another Other Songs of LC from his site here -
http://cohencentric.com/2010/01/25/now- ... hen-album/
http://cohencentric.com/2010/05/20/pres ... hen-album/

or watch all The Other Songs of LC here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KPPQJrr-0s

I’ll stop now before I really get carried away!
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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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun May 07, 2017 6:07 pm

B4, thanks for so many video links. Whenever I get the urge, I will come here and sample some.

It's great that you got to see LC a number of times in Australia (sorry Vickie, NOT meant to rub it in). Given the distance and logistics, it would have been easy for the band to skip Australia or gone there less; I am happy that he recognized that he had a strong following down under and accommodated them. Always dreamed of visiting, but I am entering a stage where, for the first time, reality sets in, and you begin to mentally cross things off on your dream list. But just maybe....

Loved Take This Waltz from the first time I heard it, it is always hard to get it out of your head every time you hear it. That I guess is a testament to the tune. The lyrics are a kaleidoscope of beautiful imagery. Whenever I look outside on the morning after a nice snowfall, I always think, "gallery of frost."

I usually do not overthink LC's lyrics (maybe because that is a skill I do not possess), I am happy to just sit back and view the images. Someone famous once said, and I am paraphrasing, that over-analyzing poetry "is like cutting open the blackbird's throat to see what makes it sing." I do very little cutting.

I find it remarkable that Take This Waltz, which includes such phrases as "shoulder where death comes to die," "where the doves go to die," "very own breath of brandy and death," and "sentenced to death by the blues" never comes across as depressing or down-beat. To me it is somewhat uplifting, go figure.

Favorite lyric is "garland of freshly cut tears," where does he come up with lines like that?

Biggest faux pas--For a long time I thought the line about the scrapbook ended with, "photographs there, and the moths." (Well, it sort of makes sense that there could be moths flying out of an old scrapbook, doesn't it?

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 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Sun May 07, 2017 9:24 pm

B4- Thank you so much for your reply and all you shared about this album!
B4real post wrote: I still get shivers when it’s played! .....Leonard wrote this song and melody based on a poem called Little Viennese Waltz by Spanish poet Federico García Lorca who was a major influence in his early life of poetry.”.
I do remember reading about Lorca being such an influence in his life but didn't realize how MUCH of an influence. Now I will have to find some Lorca to read. I did watch a YouTube clip of Leonard accepting an award in Spain and he mentioned Lorca on it (I told myself it was okay to break my own rule of not browsing through YouTube looking for Leonard because he didn't sing in the clip!).

How lucky to be sitting in the front row at the concerts in Australia. I would have been happy to be at a concert of his at all, but but oh so jealous of everyone in the front!

I am embarrassed to say (as a child raised on Star Trek) that I didn't recognize any similarities of the theme song in Jazz Police, but when I listened to the clip you shared, there it was! Thank you also for sharing the explanation of where the song came from. After hearing it the first time, I Googled the term ‘Jazz Police’ and thought I saw something somewhere about how it is a term used as a measure of coolness, as in, "You're wearing that to the club tonight? Somebody better call the Jazz Police!" but not sure where I saw that now.

Thank you for the link with Red River Valley, I loved it! I will watch the others tomorrow morning. Our internet works best early in the day. I find it interesting that Leonard had such an affinity for old cowboy music. I know his first band was the The Buckskin Boys and he spent some time in Tennessee, but I wonder if there is more to it than that?
its4inthemorning post wrote: I usually do not overthink LC's lyrics (maybe because that is a skill I do not possess), I am happy to just sit back and view the images. Someone famous once said, and I am paraphrasing, that over-analyzing poetry "is like cutting open the blackbird's throat to see what makes it sing." I do very little cutting.
I love that quote about the blackbird. I often love snippets of lyrics/poetry just for the sound of the words themselves or the image they create without having a desire to know exactly what they mean, but I do sometimes find myself imagining an overall theme or I might make up an event that I think it is about. Usually I’m way off. I do think Take this Waltz could just as easily have been titled Take this Life because I imagine it is about our lives in general. Maybe that’s why the repeated mention of death doesn’t bother me either. And don’t worry 4, I also thought he said “photographs there, and the moths” the first time I heard it! Makes sense, right? But then when I read the actual lyrics, they made sense too of course!

Thanks again, both of you, for your thoughts and for sharing everything you know about LC with me. I want to learn everything about him that I can, to try to make up for all the years I was senseless enough to ignore him. I keep checking my mail for one of the two biographies I ordered, but neither has arrived yet! I did just order the next 3 albums on my list from Amazon (The Future, Ten New Songs, and Dear Heather) but I am happy to listen to the ones I have for a while.

Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun May 07, 2017 10:28 pm

In this same section (Leonard Cohen's Music) there is a post that fits in perfectly with Vickie's "studies." Someone named Roy posted a very thoughtful and well-written piece on that album, anyone interested in LC should read "I'm Your Man Reinvented Leonard Cohen at Age 53."

It was posted more than eight years ago, need to browse around this forum more often.

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 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Mon May 08, 2017 7:39 am

4 and Vickie, glad to be of service!

.....and here's a link recently from Feb 2017 (this came up first when I searched) I think to the same or similar article that 4 is talking about -
I’m Your Man reinvented LC at 53 years: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=37256
and a direct link to the writer from Pitchfork: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/226 ... al_twitter

4, I’ve heard that very applicable blackbird analogy before and actually read somewhere (can’t find it at the moment) that Leonard agrees with the underlying principle of it. Personally, I say be cautious with your scrutiny because too much can destroy the very thing that drew you to it in the first place. And Vickie, you're never way off! We all see different things in LC's poetry and songs and that's the beauty of his words! This is not the quote I was looking for but he did say this:
When I was at school there was a book that was very popular called Seven Types of Ambiguity. One of the things it criticized was something called "The Author’s Intention." You’ve got to discard the author’s intention. It doesn’t matter what the author’s intention in the piece is, or what his interpretation of the piece is, or what his evaluation or estimation of the piece is. It exists independently of his opinions about it.
btw - at the moment in Australia "Seven Types Of Ambiguity" is on ABC TV as a series.

Just a little more about Take This Waltz connections:
Here is Lorca’s original poem -
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=415&hilit=little+viennese+waltz
just scroll down the page to find it.

look at the second last entry on this page .... Yes, I’m guilty too ;-)
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1485&start=90

actually the whole thread is fun to read!

And Vickie, seems you will be very busy with new LC material soon so please take your time and enjoy the experience.
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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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Mon May 08, 2017 4:46 pm

Wow. The I'm Your Man...at age 53 piece was full of info, even if it 'cut open the blackbird's throat' a bit and was a little intimidating. One of the reasons I haven't really delved into the forum is because it is so intimidating. So much has been said about his music and his writing by people who have known his talent for so many years that it is almost overwhelming to me and makes me feel like, who am I to join all ...that? And I am afraid if I read too many opinions about his work that it will make it harder for me to have my own. I will get there eventually. If I started reading everything now and delving into all of the stuff that is out there, I would get lost in it and never get through all of the albums, and I am not patient enough to wait that long to hear You Want it Darker. Or maybe I am not smart enough to keep it all straight :?

My favorite part was of I'm Your Man... at age 53 was the end where he says "Leonard took this responsibility very seriously", because that is one of the things I love about him. He took his responsibility as a poet very seriously, and I am glad he worked so hard at it. Lyrics that hit you like that shouldn't come easily to anyone.

Thank you also B4 for the quote about Author's Intention. It fits right into what we were talking about and having your own opinion of someone's art.

And especially thank you for the link to Lorca's poem! I loved it. I looked him up and noticed he was a handsome guy, not that it matters, but that is always fun. I will definitely read more on him when I have time.

Loved the topic about misheard lyrics too! :lol: It's so funny when you finally realize what was actually said.

Thank you again for helping me along this way. I hope I am not frustrating you too much. Please don't give up on me. I will get there.

Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Tue May 09, 2017 5:11 am

Vickie,
I'm happy to help as much as I can!
I'm glad you enjoyed IYM link – I wouldn't have looked for it without 4's prompting :)

No need to feel intimidated about the forum – everyone here is kind and understanding and they all had to start somewhere in discovering LC. Yes, there is a mountain of information here written by multitudes of people with varying views over the years. In the long run, the only opinion that matters is your own so keep reading, looking and listening in whatever order or speed takes your fancy and don't fret on the process; just enjoy it as it comes.

Interesting coincidence you should say “that” title at this time because before you mentioned it, I had this paragraph below already to start this post!

Ah, just when you think it's safe enough to go back into the water ....
Last night was the first time I've felt brave enough to play LC's last album You Want It Darker since Nov 7th last year. It sure has an additional connotative feeling now ....

I had just before that read these words below by Yoshin David Radin and now how could I not listen :cry:
When Leonard was only a few months away from death, I asked him why he was using the last ounces of his energy to produce yet another CD.

He said: “There are hundreds of thousands of people in this world who have been so kind as to listen to my music and this is my last chance to thank them.”

Who says something like that? Only someone who had himself poured his heart into countless poems and songs and was so touched that his heart had been received — and that was at the core of the Leonard Cohen sangha, the community of those who could laugh and cry together with him.
....Amen
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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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Tue May 09, 2017 4:20 pm

B4-

This is exactly why 4's suggestion to listen to the albums chronologically made so much sense to me. Even though I am so curious to hear that successful final album, I know I haven't earned it yet. But you have!

I am so glad that you have listened to it again. Of course you know that is what he would have wanted.

Love,
Vickie

PS- Thank you for the Yoshin David Radin quote. I like hearing how LC felt about his art.

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