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 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:57 am

I am so glad you responded! I told my husband that if nobody replied, I was just going to keep posting anyway! Please don't feel badly. There are no ill feelings here, and I will continue to share my experiences with each album as I go, just hoping others will share their feelings about each album too. I have really enjoyed this experience, and it has become more than just what it might seem to others. Doing this chronologically is my way of making up for not paying attention earlier. It is also the reason that I have not ventured into other areas on this site (Poetry, etc). I haven't explored because I don't feel qualified to contribute or discuss until I have at least heard all of his studio albums. Then I will check out everything else. This forum is here because you all love Leonard Cohen, and I just want to catch up to everyone a little bit. I plan to live a good little while yet, and I want to continue to discover and explore him for the rest of my life, so I am in no hurry.

Yes there is trepidation every time I open one of his albums! When I first started listening to Dylan, I was also behind everyone like this, mostly because his beginning albums were before my time (not before I was born, but before I was old enough to connect). I didn't listen chronologically but often wished I had. And you are right that like Leonard, it would sometimes take me more than one hearing of the album before I totally loved it. But I would just play it over and over and then BINGO! This would never happen if the artist had crap to share after their first few hits. So, I am fine with not loving every album of LC's right away.

Thank you for your description of "Dance Me to the End of Love" in concert! It was perfect. ("Shadows moving on the dark stage...") And made me again so jealous of you all for being able to see him live.

How horrible about the young woman being mauled by her pit bull mix. I am guessing there is more to the story, but they can be unpredictable sometimes. We still have "Lucky" in our home and have an appointment to have him evaluated by a vet/trainer that was trained through Cesar Millan (Dog Whisperer). He is great so far, and it is obvious that he has had training somewhere along the line, but one of the reasons we are only fostering him at this point is because you never know. Decades of breeding for a specific purpose (dog fighting) cannot always be loved or trained out of a dog. We are keeping him separate from our pugs and in a crate when not supervised. His attitude towards people is submissive, even strangers on our property, but we are not sure about other animals yet, hence the supervision.

Back to Leonard, I was happy to learn that he was also an animal lover!

Another question for anyone.. can you recommend another biography? I am tempted to read Sylvie's over again, because I feel I rushed through it. Again with the rushing (I know!), but I like to REALLY absorb and experience things. I just don't' always do that the first time.

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

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:07 pm

Ira Nadel wrote a biography in the 1990s, I believe it would have covered Leonard's life and endeavors through the albums you have heard plus I'm Your Man and The Future. It was the first such biography I ever came across, and I still have my copy somewhere.

Nadel's book was well researched and written and I learned a lot about Leonard from it. While Sylvie's book is more comprehensive and, in my opinion, the "gold standard" for LC biographies, I would still suggest reading Nadel's biography. I recall an interesting quote in the book from Buffy Sainte-Marie in Nadel's book, which I just googled:

"There's something uncomfortable about hearing a Leonard Cohen song for the first time. It seems to lack roots or direction or something. But be patient; that's you, not him. The melodies are 'unguessable,' but listen again. When you have gotten used to the idea of chord x following chord y, though it has possibly never dared to do so before, the pattern becomes clear to you, and clearly unique it is."

What she said was definitely true for me with respect to a number songs, "Famous Blue Raincoat" in particular. While I always loved that song, something made it unconnected or disjointed in some way, until I considered Buffy's comment; then it all came together.

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 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 9:03 pm

Thank you 4! I have ordered a copy of the book from Amazon. I found a collectable hardcover edition, slightly used. :) They said it is a first printing, first US edition. Not that it matters much, but kind of cool for a used price.
Now that you mention it, some of his songs are kind of like, "Hmmm? What's this?" at first (although others are totally and mind blowingly an instant connection for me). I never attributed it to them being unguessable but that sums it up rather nicely doesn't it! I have noticed that his lyrics are often unexpected and take a totally different tract than the norm. No doubt one of the reasons why I love him.

I will let you know what I think of the book. Not quite ready to move on to the "I'm Your Man" CD. I want to get a little more used to this more matured version of him from the "Various Positions" CD first.

Thanks again! Have a great week!
Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Mon May 01, 2017 3:16 am

Hi Vickie,
I reckon 4 is correct about Various Positions by Nadel, it's a great read. Six years before that he wrote A Life In Art about the early years and it’s a good read. Before those books Prophet Of The Heart was considered the first comprehensive bio and is worth reading as well. Both of Jim Devlin’s books include some different and interesting information which I found most helpful. Sylvie’s book was excellent but I also would have liked to have read the information I know she left out! Ha!

Here’s a partial bio list from the LC files. I haven’t included those more recent books about LC. Actually, the full link to the LC Files is on the top of this page here on the forum. If you haven’t already done so please take a virtual tour around it. There is so much information that Jarkko has munificently gathered since at least 1995 about Leonard!

Biographies
• Leonard Cohen by Jacques Vassal, France 1974
• Prophet Of The Heart by Loranne S. Dorman & Clive L. Rawlins, USA & UK, 1990
• So Long Leonard by Christof Graf, Germany 1990
• A Life in Art by Ira B. Nadel, Canada 1994
• Various Positions - A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira B Nadel, Canada/USA/UK 1996
• In Every Style of Passion by Jim Devlin, UK 1996
• Partisan der Liebe by Christof Graf, Germany 1996
• Came so far for Love by Paul Barrera, UK 1997
• Songs of a Life by Christof Graf, Germany 2002
• So Long Marianne by Kari Hesthamar, Norway 2008
• Leonard Cohen Hallelujah by Tim Footman, UK 2009
• Leonard Cohen - Titan der Worte by Christof Graf, Germany 2010
• Leonard Cohen - A Remarkable Life by Anthony Reynolds, UK 2010
• Leonard Cohen - La Biografia by Alberto manzano, Spain 2010
• I'm Your Man - The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons, USA/UK/Canada/Germany/Holland/Spain 2012 - Italy/Israel/Norway/Poland 2013 - China/Finland/Slovenia 2014 - Taiwan 2015
• Léonard Cohen: Le Gagnant Magnifique by Alain-Guy Aknin & Stéphane Loisy, France 2012
• Leonard Cohen: Un Canadien Errant by Viviane Gravey, France 2013
• Leonard Cohen - L'homme qui voyait tomber les anges by Christophe Lebold, France 2013
• A Broken Hallelujah by Liel Leibovitz, USA/UK 2014
• So Long Marianne - A Love Story by Kari Hesthamar, Canada 2014
• La Historia de Leonard & Marianne by Alberto Manzano, Spain 2016

I hope that helps!

btw... I'd like to say I've been enjoying your journey and take your time in doing so - there's so much to savour :)
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 01, 2017 4:56 am

B4- Thank you so much, first of all for responding and being positive, and second of all for the wealth of info regarding bios! Yes, the reason I am asking for bios is because I know Sylvie had to have left a ton of stuff out. I feel hers was written for those of you who have loved and followed him for years. I know there is a wealth of info on the internet, but for some reason, I want to read books about him instead of doing what everyone keeps telling me to do, which is to look around on the internet and to check out all of the info on the forum indexes. Maybe I am being old fashioned or maybe it's because I am a librarian, but more likely, I am doing what makes sense to me, even if it might be weird to anyone else. Partly, I don't feel capable yet in having my own opinion on him yet, until I have heard all of what he put out to the public in his albums. But at the same time, I want a few more details about him as he was growing up and growing into the great influence he became. So I am just going through his albums one by one and delving into a little biography stuff, because if I had been here from the beginning, I would have been doing that all along. And then I will want to go deeper and will be better able to understand where everyone else is coming from on the internet and on the forum when they discuss him.
Thank you again B4 for the awesome biography list. Is there one that shines for you that you feel might fit my crazy approach?
Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Mon May 01, 2017 8:55 am

Ah Vickie,
In days of yore there simply wasn't any internet and books and face to face were the only way to learn about anything! From early childhood I loved my local library and that was where I discovered so much about Leonard - his poems and songs as well as those early bio books. The librarian had to order all them in especially for me! Over the years I read all the available books in Australia on him!

About Sylvie leaving material out of her book, I generally said that tongue in cheek! But I have read or heard somewhere that she said some of the things he or others told her weren’t for general publication! I reckon it’s probably similar stuff (if they knew it) that all the other authors maybe left out as well! And in the long run, it’s probably better that way.

Those books or authors I mentioned at the beginning of my last post on the previous page are all worth a read but Sylvie’s is definitely the most up to date. I haven’t read the older ones for a long time. In the last few years I have bought and read a few of the newer ones but most of them to me seem to have a lot of repetition. For something different as a visual artist and an LC concert goer I could relate to Sharon Robinson’s photographic book that I bought in Dec 2014. It’s not the usual biography; it’s a visual journey of the last world tour from 2008 to 2013 called On Tour With Leonard Cohen. At the start of the book Leonard says, “She has an eye as fine as her ear…” Lots of great pictorial memories from those last years or it could be an insight for those who couldn’t be there at that time. They say don’t be sad it’s over, just be glad that it happened and I am. In a comforting way, time is elastic. But I regress now.

Back to the albums –
The Recent Songs album is a definite favourite of mine and I prefer it to the next one in order Various Positions even though I like it too. Being really stringent my favourite songs from VP are Night Comes On, Hallelujah and If It Be Your Will. And as 4 says, Dance Me To The End Of Love creates a new meaning to it because of the last long world tour!

From the same year as Recent Songs in 1979 comes a live album released in 2001. Needless to say, it is for sure another absolute favourite of mine:

Field Commander Cohen tour of (1979) 2001
01. Field Commander Cohen 4:25
02. The Window 5:51 (violin solo by Raffi Hakopian)
03. The Smokey Life 5:34 (duet with Jennifer Warnes)
04. The Gypsy’s Wife 5:20 (violin solo by Raffi Hakopian)
05. Lover, Lover, Lover 6:31 (includes two long oud solos by John Bilezikjian)
06. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye 4:04 (violin solo by Raffi Hakopian)
07. The Stranger Song 4:55
08. The Guests 6:05 (violin solo by Raffi Hakopian)
09. Memories 4:38 (sax solo by Paul Ostermayer)
10. Why Don’t You Try 3:43 (duet with Sharon Robinson, solo by Paul Ostermayer)
11. Bird On The Wire 5:10 (guitar solo by Mitch Watkins)
12. So Long, Marianne 6:44

You could say it wouldn’t really be out of order to listen to it now :)
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 01, 2017 4:09 pm

Thank you B4! I have ordered the biographies "Prophet of the Heart" as well as "Various Positions".

I too have loved "Recent Songs" admittedly more than "Various Positions", most especially "The Window" and "Ballad of the Absent Mare". I haven't heard very much about "I'm Your Man", which is the next CD on my list, but I heard a later version of the song "I'm Your Man" on a Sirius XM special right after Leonard passed. We happened to be on a road trip to Montana at the time, and that special is one of the things that prompted me to at last start this journey. It was sang when he was much older, in that whispered almost-speaking voice, and I was taken by the lyrics. I haven't heard it since, so I am curious for the original.

The live album "Field Commander Cohen" sounds great, especially with Raffi Hakopian on there! I will look forward to getting to that one. I plan to listen to the rest of the studio albums while also reading biographies and then go back for everything else (live albums, videos, poetry, novels, etc) while continuing to read the bios.

Thanks for your thoughts!
Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Mon May 01, 2017 8:41 pm

Vickie, I hope you don't mind, I am sending you a PM, it relates to something I do not want to post here.

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

Postby vlcoats » Mon May 01, 2017 9:39 pm

Got it and replied. THANKS!
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Wed May 03, 2017 12:14 am

Vickie, here is a 2013 concert soundcheck video you may enjoy:

https://youtu.be/0km8qEcUJtA

Maybe going back on tour in his late 70s was not something Leonard had planned on, but he sure seems like he's having a good time.

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

Postby B4real » Wed May 03, 2017 1:25 pm

4, I always love the songs (Alex's violin of course) and everyone's casual attire from that soundcheck!

Seeing as I’m Your Man is the next album in line I thought those who didn’t know this might be interested. He wasn’t the first to officially release the first two songs on this album! They are First We Take Manhattan and Ain’t No Cure For Love and were actually introduced to the public at least a year earlier on another official album Famous Blue Raincoat sung by Jennifer Warnes and produced by Roscoe Beck. It has been said by LC and others that through her dedication, belief and perseverance (it took 7 years of constant rejection) of his songs when he was out of the public eye in America for some time that she and this album was responsible for his “resurgence”. In fact, it was listening to Jennifer’s wonderful album when I first heard those two songs.

Six of the eight songs from I’m Your Man album were sung live here at TV KVCR Austin City Limits recorded on Halloween night Oct 31st 1988 and broadcast in 1989. This is considered LC’s first major TV performance in America and is a milestone for him. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpjaHqvrz0g
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 » Wed May 03, 2017 4:13 pm

4-
I LOVED the soundcheck. When I first heard "Dance Me to the End of Love" it wasn't an immediate favorite but has since grown on me and I find myself humming it around the library. It has a very catchy melody. It reminds of something that would fit in perfectly on a Godfather soundtrack. I loved seeing how he communicated without words to everyone during the soundcheck, the backup singers especially. I also love how their voices are a perfect foil for his on this video. Sometimes on the studio albums I have wished that the backup singers were less obtrusive.
Thank you for sharing the video!!

B4- I had heard about Jennifer Warnes in Sylvie's book and am anxious to start "I'm Your Man". I did hear a couple of the songs from Warnes' album during the Sirius XM special on Leonard after his death. I often wish I could hear that special again because I had missed so much of it as I lost reception through tall trees and mountains, but the portions I did hear held me spellbound from Spokane to Missoula that day. I plan to search it out after I have heard all of his studio albums.

I am going to give "Various Positions" one more play and then it is on to number 8! After I have heard the songs on the album, I will definitely watch the link you shared with us B4!

Thanks everyone!
Vickie
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Wed May 03, 2017 5:18 pm

4 to B4,

Thanks for the Austin City link, I had not seen it before. It cost me an unplanned hour of my day, but I am not complaining!
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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B4real
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Thu May 04, 2017 6:49 am

My pleasure to be of service to you all 8)
.... B4 to 4 ....and that's a big 10-4 ;-)
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
Posts: 213
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:59 pm
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

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

Postby its4inthemorning » 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?

B4, were you at Lucca, or was your comment on the sound check based on seeing the video?

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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