Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby LisaLCFan » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:36 am

vlcoats wrote:...I am not a coward usually, but I have yet to listen to the 5th album. ...

Loved "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen"!
As for the film, I am glad you liked it -- I thought you might!

As for your trepidation over Death of a Ladies Man (we've not helped much by instilling terror!), you know, you can always break your rule and skip it for now (save the worst for last, perhaps? Ha-ha!). Of course, perhaps you should just get it over with, give it a listen, and then see how you feel. It isn't that bad -- I didn't like it at first, but then one day it sort of clicked, and I was able to appreciate its various moments. They are still Leonard's lyrics, after all, no matter what Spector did with the music, and so that may be something on which to try to focus, when you finally take the plunge!
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby LisaLCFan » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:40 am

MichaelB wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:27 pm
Hello---This is MIchael B. I'm new here but I've been listening to and been enthralled by Leonard Cohen for 48 years. He's always soothed me and gotten me through difficult times. I cherished each new album of his. I have a core of favorite songs but always return to So long Marianne. Have heard it perhaps 100 times but never tire of it. The world is a far better place for his having been in it. He'll forever be with us in his magnificent music.
Hello! Welcome! You may have noticed that it is quiet around these parts these days, just a few folks chatting here and there (some of whom are talking about Cohen...). So Long Marianne is one of my main favourites, too -- I never get tired of hearing it (I think I've heard it a million times, but that may be a slight exaggeration ;-) ). All the best, and Cheers!
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:23 pm

LisaLCFan wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:36 am
Of course, perhaps you should just get it over with, give it a listen, and then see how you feel. It isn't that bad -- I didn't like it at first, but then one day it sort of clicked, and I was able to appreciate its various moments. They are still Leonard's lyrics, after all, no matter what Spector did with the music, and so that may be something on which to try to focus, when you finally take the plunge!
This is what I am hoping... there will be redeeming moments. I don't want to skip it, and I wonder what it must have been like for those having no reason to dread it back in 1977. I am trying to channel their excitement and honor that moment in time. I imagine them waiting for another great Leonard album, blindly assuming the best, rushing to the record store to purchase it, excited they rip it open, put it on the stereo, and then.....
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:48 pm

Well, I did it. I opened and listened to the “Death of a Ladies’ Man”. You warned me that it would not be pretty, but still I kept thinking, “How bad can it be? It’s Leonard Cohen!” I even ventured to hope, “Maybe I have a better appreciation of him than others, and I will actually like this album.” But no…. everything I have heard and read about it is true.

I read the lyrics first, which I normally do, and although they didn’t quite seem pure Cohen to me (?), I still thought they were awesome … but the tunes? I read somewhere that LC himself had called the album “grotesque”, and after hearing the music, I can understand why he said that. What a mess. Not only was the sound muddy and just that horrible pop 70s crap that I never even liked as a little girl, but the song genres were all over the place. One song would be like old rock and roll and then another was kind of country and then who knows what? I blame the whole thing on Spector. Obviously he continued to spiral down after this all the way to the bottom.

My husband doesn’t have the level of appreciation for Leonard Cohen that I do (but thankfully has other redeeming qualities!), but I like to hear his take on the albums after I have heard them a few times, and he is always willing to listen. This time, I confess that I only played the CD once before I was in bad need of someone else to commiserate with me. His response? He just laughed and said, “That poor bastard.” Obviously he has come to expect more from LC by now. I imagine Leonard would have just shrugged his shoulders at my husband’s remark, but since I never saw him in person, much less do I know what he was really like, so I am only guessing.

I know you have all made your peace with “Death of a Ladies’ Man” long ago, and so will I…. eventually. So far, I can listen to “Memories” a little without cringing too much and maybe a couple of the others, but I have already ordered the next 3 CDs in line and am anxiously awaiting their arrival!

On a more deserving note, "Yay!" for Leonard Cohen receiving Artist of the Year in the Juno Awards!

Happy Spring!
Vickie
its4inthemorning
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby its4inthemorning » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:00 pm

Vickie, best wishes for a speedy "recovery."

The next three albums might be characterized as LC's 1980's work.

None of the albums are really thematic, each is a rather eclectic mix leaning towards ballads, but occasionally reflecting the changes that were occurring in the music world. Generally speaking, many of the songs include a lot more instrumentation, but very tastefully added to the usual captivating lyrics. No trace of the problems that ruined DOALM. It was during this period, I believe, that LC first worked with Sharon Robinson, a collaboration that continued, in varying degrees, until the end. Poor Sharon, I believe she lost her husband in 2016 as well as Leonard.

I need to spend a lot of time with the three albums you are awaiting, as my quick review of the track lists indicates some gaps in that I cannot recall some of the songs. Just for fun, I am noting my favorites below.

Recent Songs (1979): "The Guests," "The Window," and "The Gypsy's Wife." (I guess this was LC's "The" period.)

Various Positions (1984): "Dance Me to the End of Love," "Night Comes On," and "The Captain."

I'm Your Man (1988): "First We Take Manhattan," "Everybody Knows," and "Take This Waltz."

Of course, this is no way indicates a dislike of ANY of the songs on these albums.

Hope you like these albums as much as you did the first four. I think you will.

Curt
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 LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:55 pm

its4inthemorning wrote:
Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:00 pm
Vickie, best wishes for a speedy "recovery."
:D Thank you! I tried to listen to "Death..." again, immediately followed by "SOLAH" as an antidote!

I look forward to seeing what I think of the songs you named. You have not steered me wrong yet! I have already been curious about some of them, having seen them mentioned on the Leonard Cohen Facebook page and in other places while reading about him. The CDs should be here in a couple days. I will of course start with "Recent Songs'. "The Gypsy's Wife" sounds interesting judging by the title alone. I know I could just look up the lyrics now, but that would spoil the fun for me! I am so glad I am doing it this way. It has been awesome so far!

Vickie
its4inthemorning
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby its4inthemorning » Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:52 pm

Vickie, the reward for using your disciplined approach (not listening to songs before you get to that album) is that you get to experience something akin to 'waking up on Christmas morning as a child and opening your gifts' many times over.

I know I could NEVER be that disciplined.

Late March snow made this year's daffodil display somewhat disappointing, but everything is finally greening up, cherry tree is blooming, and tulips are almost ready to bloom. Usually I start vegetable (and some flower) seeds indoors, but the time got away from me this year, so we will have to visit the garden center. When you do income tax work, spring never really starts until April 15!

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 LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby LisaLCFan » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:35 am

Hi Vickie,

So, you have experienced DOALM (it is easier to write it that way!), and survived! What made me actually enjoy that album was finally listening to it again after I'd been on a serious Cohen-bender, having listened to all of his other albums repeatedly for so long that I was yearning for something "new" (or at least "different"), but still Cohen. DOALM was just what I needed at that point in time (it was the only thing available!), and I acquired an appreciation for it. But, it remains at the bottom of my list, nonetheless! :lol:

I don't recall your having mentioned listening to "Live Songs", which came out in 1973. Please don't forget the live albums -- they contain some real gems, and are sufficiently different from the studio albums that they really are whole "new" experiences, even if you've heard the songs before. On that note, "Field Commander Cohen" is another live album (following "Recent Songs") that you must not forget! And then, after you've heard the "I'm Your Man Album", "Cohen Live" is essential (with an astoundingly wonderful version of Joan of Arc, amongst others -- it is actually one of my favourite albums, period!).

By the way, you mentioned being a bit taken aback at the variety of different musical styles on DOALM -- please don't be too off-put by that element: it isn't the only Cohen album to contain a potpourri of styles, as you will learn!

Cheers,
Lisa
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:24 am

LisaLCFan wrote:
Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:35 am
Please don't forget the live albums -- they contain some real gems, and are sufficiently different from the studio albums that they really are whole "new" experiences, even if you've heard the songs before.....
Hi Lisa! I have given this serious thought even before I started my journey. I have been torn between doing the studio albums first and then the live albums or doing them in order like you mentioned. I decided on the studio albums first because I wonder if artists sometimes are coerced into putting out live albums, and I also it would give me another 'mini' journey to go on after I have reached "So You Want it Darker". I know I will yearn for something after that. However, now that you have brought it up, I am second guessing my choice. Maybe you are right, and they really do belong together. Decisions! If only all of the decisions in my life would have such sweet outcomes regardless which way I lean!

As for the potpourri of style on DOALM, I really do like a variety of genres. I think I was just so overwhelmed by everything that was so 'off' about the album, that it was just one more thing. I was already feeling disoriented by the time I finished the first track! :? Hopefully I won't feel so much like I walked into the wrong house again during the rest of my journey.

I have asked a moderator to move our conversation to another area on the forum, to save this area for people who are new to the site. Hopefully we can all continue the conversation there! ;-)

Your garden sounds awesome Curt! Daffodils are a favorite of mine. A well-loved song of my father's was "Seven Daffodils" by the Limeliters from their silly live album, "Tonight in Person".

Vickie
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby LisaLCFan » Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:45 am

vlcoats wrote:...I have been torn between doing the studio albums first and then the live albums or doing them in order like you mentioned. I decided on the studio albums first because I wonder if artists sometimes are coerced into putting out live albums, and I also it would give me another 'mini' journey to go on after I have reached "So You Want it Darker"...
Actually, I really like your idea of saving all the live albums until later as a mini-journey of its own! Why not? However, you watched "Isle of Wight" -- so I wasn't sure if you'd just accidentally overlooked "Live Songs", which is why I asked. The videos of Cohen's concerts are, of course, very much like the live audio albums.... On the topic of videos, what about "Bird on a Wire" (amongst other documentaries that followed)? Those could be another mini-journey!

Incidentally, I seriously doubt if Cohen was "coerced" to put out live albums (not that it would have done any good -- he seemed to have a fair bit of control over his albums!). As I said before, a Cohen concert was a very different experience from a Cohen studio album (which becomes more apparent in the 1980s and onward), and so I think that we are very fortunate to have recordings of both, to experience his songs in what was often two very different formats. You will, in time, know exactly what I mean!

Enjoy!
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:27 pm

LisaLCFan wrote:
Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:45 am
However, you watched "Isle of Wight" --
Good morning Lisa! You have made a good point. This just goes to show that I am not as disciplined as I am trying to be! I couldn't resist seeing him in action. I wanted to watch his body language when he was interacting with his songs and after reading Simmons' biography, I was very curious about that particular performance. Now after your comments on the differences between his studio and live performances from 1980 on, I am also curious about his live albums and other videos. I think I will stick with the studio albums for now and save the live albums, but I might succumb to another video along the way...
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:32 am

I haven't heard from a moderator whether I should continue to post our conversation on the "Hello, I'm new to this forum..." but hopefully it is okay. I appreciate your feedback Lisa and Curt and anyone else who wants to chime in!

I have been listening to "Recent Songs" for almost 2 weeks, but I am feeling like I have just started it!! I don’t know if I am getting overwhelmed by this album or by LC in general, but a person could spend weeks on the lyrics of this album alone. Of course they aren’t lyrics but poetry, and not even Dylan can compare to him. As I am trying to digest this, I am also drawn to listen to ALL of the CDs again, minus DOALM (sorry LC), and I keep feeling like I am rushing things. At the same time, I want to listen to all of his stuff NOW, because he is already gone, and I want to catch up. I am feeling bad again for not listening to that nagging feeling through the years that told me to check him out. But there it is.

I love all of the tracks on “Recent Songs”. Especially the message and the violin on “The Guests”, the baritone on “Humbled in Love“ (along with the refrain “why so bitterly turn..”), the haunting melody and poetry of “The Window”, the unnameable emotion that “The Traitor” brings out, the familiarity of “The Gypsy’s Wife” (even though I have never heard it before), and what I have yet to discover about “Ballad of the Absent Mare” which I love already because for one thing he names himself in it and for another, I love animals and anything western and of course the poetry. But if there is one thing I have learned so far, I will find other favorites on this CD and all of them, maybe even DOALM someday.

How sad that he is gone, and there is nobody to replace him.

Happy Spring, Pesach, and Easter to everyone that loves him!

Vickie
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby LisaLCFan » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:28 pm

vlcoats wrote:... I keep feeling like I am rushing things....
Hi Vickie,

You clearly have a different concept of "rushing" than I do! It seems to me that you've set a rather leisurely pace, all things considered! Besides, there are no rules, there is no "wrong" way to go about this journey: whatever you do is "right", so stop sweating it, and just enjoy! ;-)

I am glad that you like Recent Songs. That album, indeed, has some of Leonard's most poetical lyrics. As for the music, I've always been rather fond of the mariachi band (in a moderately bemused way)! All in all, a huge contrast from its predecessor.

I can hardly wait until you get to the 80's! I have a fondness for that era of Leonard's work -- it was when I discovered him, and the three albums that are next on your list were the ones that most resonated with me for a very long time. Be prepared for more contrasts from what came previously, but good ones, I think!

Cheers,
Lisa
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vlcoats
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby vlcoats » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:20 pm

LisaLCFan wrote:
Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:28 pm
I can hardly wait until you get to the 80's!
I am about to go on to the 80s, but it will be a couple more days. I am still stuck on the the poetry of "Recent Songs" and in awe of his talent. Plus we have been crazy here on the farm. Not only the usual spring chores, but someone shot a dog on the ridge across the river from us and after searching for two days, we found him halfway up the ridge under a pile of brush. After a couple weeks in the vet's and a sheriff investigation, (where we found out that shooting a dog for no reason in Idaho is NOT against the law! :shock:) he is safe at our place. It has turned our life upside down. He is a 75-pound pit bull (of course), but unbelievably sweet and well mannered. Not sure why I am sharing this story, but listening to Leonard on my way to work and back is incredibly calming and centering for me, which I need right now! I think my favorites on "Recent Songs" are "The Window", "The Gypsy's Wife", and especially (right now) "Ballad of the Absent Mare". My husband likes "The Guests", and recently told me, "I just realized why you are so infatuated with this guy. It's the lyrics, because you love poetry so much." Too funny! Like I haven't been saying that for the past 4 months!

Take care! (haven't heard from "its4inthemorning", hope all is well)
Vickie
its4inthemorning
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Re: Hello, I'm new to this forum... (introducing yourselves)

Postby its4inthemorning » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:51 pm

Hello Vickie (and Lisa),

I too have thought, maybe our ongoing dialogue is misplaced in this section of the forum, but of course anyone can feel free to chime in, so what harm is done?

Sad news about the dog, and really admirable that you and your husband took the time to find it and minimize its suffering. Pit bulls have a bad reputation, but some can be very friendly, it depends on how they were raised. No excuse for shooting it unless it threatened the shooter or was killing his animals. I am involved with an animal shelter down here, and sadly we see many, many cases of pit bulls being raised to be aggressive, and then abandoned when the owners don't like the result.

Tax day has finally passed, so I now have some time to devote to music. Will start with a refresher course on Recent Songs, I am especially interested in "Ballad of the Absent Mare" which I seem to now barely recall.

I vaguely recall an interesting video where Leonard was being interviewed in his kitchen and plays (a recording I think) of "The Window" to get the interviewer's impressions. If I find it I will post a link. Will have more to offer on "Recent Songs" when I do my homework. (Previously I characterized "Recent Songs" as part of Leonard's 1980 period, but Lisa is right of course, these songs were all written and released before 1980.)

We visited Montreal a couple of years ago and were so taken by the city that we are tentatively planning another trip this summer/fall. Aside from the various LC landmarks, there is plenty to see; Montreal is a beautiful city, and its residents are friendly and justifiably proud. Lisa, where in Canada do you reside?

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 LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!

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