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 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:32 pm

Yes,I have been re-playing albums and groups of albums and just songs here and there....filling my days as I dragged my feet until time to play the last one. Which I finally did.

I am sure that I don’t have to tell you how much I love You Want it Darker!! You would already know that, wouldn't you? I have listened to it over and over in the past 2 days, and each time, the last song comes too quickly. And yes, B4, there is no way I could stay dry eyed while listening to it. It is amazing to me that he made this album at all, but it is most wonderful that he made it so well…

Some thoughts on it…..
The opening of the title track You Want it Darker was chilling and comforting all at once. The music itself makes it one of my favorites, and then the ominous tone of the verse made it good fun. He doesn’t sound afraid of G*d, and I love that. Another favorite part was what sounds like a cantor towards the end, or at least it reminded me of the cantor that undertook the officiating of my conversion. It also made me smile when he says, “I didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim” because just last week, I heard an exchange between a young lifeguard at our small community pool and a group of young boys along those same lines. The boys were roughhousing at the pool’s edge. Nearby were signs clearly forbidding pushing others in, diving, etc. Obviously trying to be friendly with the younger boys when he meant to reprimand them, the lifeguard told them to at least stand closer to the pool if they were going to be pushing. The boys looked at each other dumbfounded and then back to the lifeguard, and one of them said, “You mean it’s okay for us to push each other in?” It cracked me up.
Like you B4, I loved Treaty, especially the line “I do not care who takes this bloody hill”. I am wondering who or what is he asking for a treaty with? So many of the songs on this album seem that they could be strictly religious, but then again… maybe not (shrug).
On the Level is a favorite for lots of reasons. I like how he says, “You smiled at me like I was young, it took my breath away.” And of course “when I turned my back on the devil, I turned my back on the angel too” is perfect. I like to imagine he wrote it for some of my lost loves, as surely they must feel the same :) (ha-ha) Seriously though, this one goes deeper than that for me and reminds me of just regret in general and how we sometimes feel about our life decisions
Leaving the Table is so obviously a goodbye that it’s hard to hear. So for now, I am just trying to take it at face value. I don't want to wake up screaming “No!” in the middle of the night.
I can’t profess to really know who he wrote If I Didn’t Have Your Love for, but it certainly seems like it was for all of you who have been his loyal fans and who really ‘get’ him. If not, then maybe for his children or even G*d, but I think he always appreciated knowing that his music and his words and his poetry all really meant something to so many people. If it is for you, I know you appreciate it as much as he appreciated you.
I love the strings in Traveling Light which seems a song of regret but also acceptance. And I love how he really growls out “I used to play one mean guitar” the second time around.
I told my husband that I feel It Seemed the Better Way is an anti-Christianity song or anti-something song, but maybe that's just me. Whatever he was trying to get at, I love the way he did it. (“Lift this glass of blood…”) and that mournful violin.
I also really loved the tempo in Steer Your Way, how it comes at first between the verses and then just builds. And the message? I would really like to figure that out some day, but for now, I am glad that it made me finally look up what Mia Culpa means. It was always one of those phrases that I didn't give any mind to, but this time I did.

Again I feel that I have been too late in finally 'discovering' Leonard, and I wish so much that I had heard this album before he left, like you all did. I have wished the same with every album.... I feel like I have let him down and especially let myself down by losing all of the time that I could have been listening to him and learning from him. And I didn't even know it.

Dear Mr. Cohen,

Again, I am sorry it took me so long to find you. I have been afraid to listen to your last album. You have been so very alive to me through this whole journey that I have never wanted it to end. I was worried that when it did, then you really would be gone after all, just like they say you are. But you are no more gone now than you ever were, and it was always too late for me to beg you to stay anyways.

I didn’t really need to worry after all though, did I? You have left so much of yourself here that my journey really can never be over, and like the guardian angel in that prayer from my childhood, you will “….ever this day be at my side… to light, to guard, to rule, to guide...”.

Thank you for leaving behind so much to light the way.

Love,
Vickie
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:40 am

Vickie,
I truly love what you have written to Leonard and said about this last album. I know you were delaying listening to it and the reasons for that but I think these words Jean wrote on the previous page are very appropriate at this time –
Jean Fournell wrote: Vickie, you are still in the process of opening a door. Behind that door, with luck, you might discover a land where a master of the art has sown karma seeds into the wind.

But for now see if you can solve this puzzle and figure out what could be coming next :razz: (4, you know I just can’t help myself !)
CLUE 1 - B4real wrote: If your ears have been burning you must know that 4 and I have been thinking about you too
CLUE 2 - B4real wrote: I think you'll find it’s most timely and beneficial to re-listen to the previous albums…
CLUE 3 - 4 wrote: Vickie, you are approaching the end of your "Introduction to Leonard Cohen" studies. Don't worry, there will not be an exam (*) and you get to grade yourself!
CLUE 4 - Vickie wrote: 4--- As for my final exam on "Intro to Leonard Cohen", if I were to grade myself, I would give myself an A for effort, and C for comprehension.
CLUE 5 - Vickie wrote: to reach the end of Introduction to Leonard Cohen 101

The answer(s) will be revealed very soon....(4 knows!)....just have to change the date ;-)
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

Postby vlcoats » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:05 pm

????????
What, what, what?
B4real wrote: The answer(s) will be revealed very soon....(4 knows!)....just have to change the date ;-)
??? (4 help me out here) Argh!
Impatiently yours,
Vickie
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:14 pm

Vickie,

Your post had me tearing up, for it made me recognize the deepness of your sense of loss and your regret for not discovering this amazing man and his work earlier. It was so thoughtful and sincere, particularly your homage to Mr. Cohen at the end. And to answer your question, yes, we did know you would love #14!

You were reluctant to finally listen to the last album because of a fear that doing so would somehow end the magical journey you have been on these past months. I had mixed feelings as well, because I feared it would draw our little thread here to a close. I hope that will not be the case.

So, your "Introduction to Leonard Cohen" course is now completed. Congratulation, you passed with flying colors! May we interest you in enrolling in "Advanced Leonard Cohen Studies"?

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

Postby vlcoats » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:35 pm

4-
It had me tearing up too, as I tried for an hour to say the right thing without coming across either maudlin or cheesy but finally gave up and just went with how I feel.
I don't think our little thread will draw to a close, or at least I hope it won't too.
its4inthemorning post wrote:May we interest you in enrolling in "Advanced Leonard Cohen Studies"?
In answer to that question, most definitely yes!
Vickie
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:42 am

Ah Vickie,
Confession time! 4 and I have been doing a wee bit more than thinking about you ;-) Seeing as you were nearing the end of this initial knowledge stage about Leonard, 4 had a great idea I think he was subliminally hatching (see Clue 3) and asked me if I would design something to formalise that landmark. 4 had some words he wanted included in my design concept and I happily did that in the first one below. But in the process as I am wont to do, I kept getting other design ideas and words - the result is that I’ve decided you will be graduating from three different LC institutions and hereby present you with your well-deserved Diplomas :D

UHI-diploma.jpg

FCCA-Diploma.jpg

UOTUH-diploma.jpg

btw - I didn't change the date because the balance wasn't right and I didn't want to change other things.

Congratulations! I hope you like them!!
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

Postby vlcoats » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:00 am

B4real wrote: Congratulations! I hope you like them!!
Oh B4 and 4!! You guys crack me up! I LOVE them! I would say I don't deserve them, but I do! They are awesome! (sorry for using that word 4... but, I work with kids, and they rub off on me!) I also love the name of the schools, and the quotes on all of them are perfect. The first one is especially appropriate, "Please understand, I never had a secret chart to get me to the heart of this or any other matter." That has always been a favorite line of mine and really typifies what this journey has been like. I was never really sure where I was going to end up, I just knew where I was heading and that was to listen to each album in turn. It has been such an experience to see the changes he went through and somewhat disconcerting to watch him grow old in fast forward, all while trying to absorb what he was saying. Thankfully it is all recorded, and I can listen again and again, because I think I missed most of it this first run through!

I would like to seriously thank the staff of the illustrious academy ;-) for guiding me on my way and being here to answer my questions and encourage me. I really do thank you both for hanging in there and spending the time you have. I am especially grateful to 4 for answering my plea for advice in the very beginning and giving me the perfect answer to my question, "Where do I start?", and to B4 for being a wealth of knowledge in all things lyric-related as well as providing so many links and pictures to further my studies! (I keep the picture of Leonard in Tennessee next to me at work)

I know, or at least I hope, that we can continue our discussion as I further my studies. I would love to know your recommendations! I am going to finish the Prophet of the Heart bio and will be watching the Songs From the Road DVD next!

You guys are really something else.
Thanks again!!
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:22 am

Vickie, I’m so very pleased that you love your Diplomas :D And I’m also pleased via PM to know that 4 does too :D We had only been communicating by words so he never had any visuals and literally took me at my words and trusted me. Thank you 4! Speaking of words, he insisted I include that verse from The Stranger Song and of course he was absolutely right; as he was to suggest the chronological order of listening to the albums. In your situation I don’t think I could have been so disciplined as you to do that! 4 is very wise and thoughtful! And me, well as I’ve said before I get so much pleasure from doing things like this by way of artwork or providing info etc. besides, I also am still learning and sharing what I know makes me remember things I may have not done so readily except for our conversations here.

I think I'll let 4 suggest how to proceed from here (because he's good at it!) but just for reference here's a chronological list of the live and compilation albums:

Live Songs 1973 (five new songs)
The Best Of Leonard Cohen 1975
Cohen Live 1994
More Best Of Leonard Cohen 1997 (two new songs)
Field Commander Cohen tour of (1979) 2001 (my favourite!
Live At The Isle Of Wight (1970) 2009 (which you already have)
Live In London (2008) 2009 (which you already have)
Songs From The Road 2010 (see below ;-) )
Live In Fredericton EP (2008) 2012
Live In Dublin (2013) 2014
Can’t Forget – A Souvenir Of The Grand Tour 2015 (five new songs - love the last "song" ;-) )

But for now let your succeeding journey continue and enjoy Songs From The Road!
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

Postby its4inthemorning » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:18 pm

Vickie, glad you enjoyed our little bit of fun, most of the credit is B4's as my only contribution was to suggest including The Stranger Song lyric followed by Leonard's sign-off from FBR. I knew The Stranger Song was one of your favorites, and in a way the "secret chart" lyric implies that everyone must interpret the songs for themselves.

Vickie said, "I was never really sure where I was going to end up." In a way, that summarizes how Leonard lived his life and created his works.

Bev said, "4 is very wise and thoughtful." I am almost certain that such a compliment has never before been applied to me, and although undeserved, I thank you.

Let's all give some thought as to how this thread can be adapted to "Advanced Leonard Cohen Studies."

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

Postby vlcoats » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:11 pm

While we are thinking...

I watched Songs From the Road last night. Although Live in London was a great DVD of what looked to be a wonderful concert (again, my regret at never, ever seeing a concert of his at all!), I have to say that I enjoyed Songs From the Road much more! Every song was special. Famous Blue Raincoat was definitely exceptional and Avalanche was unique for the fact that he was solo, and I always like him best that way. He captivated the audience and of course I would expect nothing less from him. I loved the liner notes on each song's performance too. Plus, it came with a Miracle Fish!

Edited to add to PS's
B4- You mentioned that your ancestry search had some interesting people in it... any relation to Joan of Arc or other famous soul?
4- Did you ever get a picture of the two fawns you caught napping in your garden or did their mother decide your yard wasn't the best place to leave them again?
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:33 am

I have ordered my first live CD...Live Songs... after reading about it in Profit of the Heart. The authors also bring up the theme of Alpha and Omega in his work. Which of course reminded me of the term B4 coined of an alpha journey. I am actually enjoying the bio but will be glad to complete it soon. They have some very interesting thoughts about him, most of which I basically agree with. They don't seem particularly objective though LOL.
Lately I am playing my collection on random mix instead of album by album. Really enjoying that! I don't think I will ever get past my amazement with him. I find it hard to imagine now that only a few months ago, I was without him.
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:43 am

vlcoats wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:11 pm
B4- You mentioned that your ancestry search had some interesting people in it... any relation to Joan of Arc or other famous soul?
Vickie,
No Joan of Arc in my ancestors but one of them also met his fate in a most horrible way dying for what he believed in as well. He was hung, drawn and quartered in the Tower of London! He was the first notable ancestor I discovered and thus began the un-folding tale and it’s still not at an end! Seems like both of us have been on an alpha journey and are now continuing from its direction and discovering things we never ever thought we would! I feel like I’m on the most outstanding and unbelievable episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" without the camera on me!! .... probably a good thing considering some of my reactions! There are heroes and villains, triumphs and tragedies of abbots, knights, crusades, conquests, barons, dukes plus dare I say it and I quote, “thought to be descended from” a big one!! If that quoted “thought” is correct then it is truly mind boggling!! I’m still trying to wrap my head around all that my ancestry entails as it is before that last statement! I’m now looking at history in a much more personal way – it really is a living, breathing thing! As I said before....you just never know ....

But back to Leonard, I love anytime he plays and sings Avalanche. To me it is the essence of him.
It’s interesting to compare the one you have just heard on Songs From The Road to his first official rendition on Songs Of Love And Hate.

I love this mid-career version too – the body language says it all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxaOcHcrd8k

And finally, probably the last available vision (thank you Albert!) of him singing Avalanche:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BmhcvGptwU

Ah, another mesmerizing journey through history ;-)

And I know you will enjoy Live Songs!
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

Postby vlcoats » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:17 am

B4real post wrote:I’m now looking at history in a much more personal way – it really is a living, breathing thing!
Wow... yes, what a discovery for you! And here I thought everyone in Australia descended from criminals :) History has always been a favorite subject of mine, but coming from a 'transient' background, between U.S.A. and Canada, I received a sketchy understanding of the history of both (and subsequently Europe and the world). My current knowledge is a result of curiosity, the history channel, and the fact that due my gypsy lifestyle, I have also held many jobs, and one of them was travel agent (I might have mentioned that). It enabled me to visit the Tower of London- by far my favorite part of that city! How cool that one of your ancestors was interned there! I would love to hear more about it!

Thank you for the link for Avalanche. I liked the "stare, and stare, and stare....". I might have said this before, but I feel he was in prime mid-career, and Recent Songs is a strong favorite of mine. As I listen and listen, I am starting to solidify which songs and albums are my favorites. I am still drawn to the first 4 albums, but his last 3 albums are really resonating with me now too.
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:36 am

B4real wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:43 am
How cool that one of your ancestors was interned there! I would love to hear more about it!
Vickie,
I thought I’d better not clutter Leonard’s forum with my ancestors antics :) and I've sent you a PM.
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

Postby its4inthemorning » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:13 pm

Always enjoy reading the posts here, including when they drift a bit from Leonard.

I am sure I mentioned this before, Avalanche was the first Cohen song I ever heard (the first song on the first album I ever heard), and it has always been a favorite. "I stepped into an avalanche, it covered up my soul" perhaps portended how Leonard's work would captivate me all these years. Loved the video by Albert Noonan. He and his wife Marie are fans of the first order, and his videos are among the best. (Somewhere, perhaps on the old "Heck of a Guy" website, there was am interview with Albert where he talked about his videos, but I cannot find it right now.) Albert and Marie are from Dublin, we had the pleasure of meeting them in Las Vegas.

Tower of London is a must-see for anyone visiting London, it is steeped in history. Much of the perimeter outside the walls is a nice green grassy lawn. I remember walking the perimeter and being taken aback by a sign that explained how that nice grassy lawn was the site of many, many executions.

Re studying ancestors, it makes one realize how totally insignificant we all are. Unless you are one of the very few who accomplished something memorable, everything that your life was--every event, undertaking, success or failure, love or hate--will be erased from time in just a couple of generations. And everyone's treasure trove of family photographs will eventually wind up in some land-fill. If, in a hundred years, our ancestors research us, will they find anything beyond when we were born, who we married, what children we had, what we did for a living, and when we died?

Still thinking about "Advanced Leonard Cohen Studies." What if, every so often, someone suggests a topic for discussion (this could be a particular song or album, a theme running through many songs, an event or period of Leonard's life, almost anything), and this topic is discussed until no one has much more to add?

Vickie, sorry, no fawn pictures, they scampered away as soon as they saw me.

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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