Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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B4real
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Wed May 10, 2017 9:11 am

Vickie, I just realised that you previously had asked about the country & western influence in LC’s life. I’m not an expert on this but as you know he was interested in C&W from The Buckskin Boys days and probably was before that as well. I do know that The Boys repertoire included Red River Valley, Cannonball Express, You Are My Sunshine, Redwing and Turkey In The Straw. We know about Streets of Laredo and I Ride An Old Paint from my first post at the top of this page. A couple more are Regina and Tennessee Waltz. I remember reading or hearing that in the 60's or 70’s he said because he lived in the country he could only get the US armed forces radio and they played a lot of C&W which he said did influence him. And of course, I'm sure you know that he looked up to Hank Williams - in fact, 100 floors above him in the Tower Of Song ;-)

I know you like Ballad Of The Absent Mare and here’s briefly how he arrived at the idea for that song as told by Jennifer Warnes:
Leonard had found some old pictures somewhere. They were called The Ten Bulls, old Japanese woodcuts symbolizing the stages of a monk's life on the road to enlightenment. These carvings pictured a boy and a bull, the boy losing the bull, the bull hiding, the boy realizing that the bull was nearby all along. There is a struggle, and finally the boy rides the bull into his little village. "I thought this would make a great cowboy song", he joked.
......I asked Leonard if he would bend the lyric in a couple of places, for a cowgirl, and he sent me this new version, now titled The Ballad of The Runaway Horse.
Listen here for her version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BD7CFwiIsI

And a couple of appropriate visuals –
The first one on the white horse is when he rode it up on stage in 1970 at Aix-en-Provence festival in France. If I remember rightly something happened to hamper their normal mode of transport and LC and the band acquired some horses and actually rode them all the way to the festival concert and Leonard decided to make a grand entrance on stage. I think it would be fair to say mission accomplished!

1970-aug-2nd-Aix-en-Provence,-France-festival.jpg
1970-aug-2nd-Aix-en-Provence,-France-festival.jpg (41.28 KiB) Viewed 888 times

The second one is in the 70's at his Tennessee farm.
“O come with me my little one, we will find that farm
and grow us grass and apples there and keep all the animals warm”.

In the late 60’s LC bought a somewhat uncontrollable ornery horse from a neighbour, Kid Marley who was a rodeo champion. I suspect this horse could have a presence in BOTAM as well. When LC wrote Chelsea Hotel #1 in one of the versions of it he mentions both Kid Marley and also another neighbour Willie York who is mentioned alone in other versions of CH#1.

“I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
Then I went to Tennessee
Sittin’ by the creek with Willie York
And Kid Marley came to visit me”

1970's-Tennessee-farm.jpg
Nashville Columbia studio A was where Songs From A Room and Songs Of Love And Hate were both mainly recorded.

If you’ve read or seen all or part of this that’s OK, I thought it would be fun to post a cowboy theme answer anyway!
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. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Wed May 10, 2017 4:11 pm

Thank you so much for the cowboy themed post! By coincidence, I happened to be online looking for tickets to our local rodeo (The Lewiston Roundup!) when I was waiting for the page to load and got sidetracked by this forum and saw your 'cowboy' post. I love it!! Yes, I had heard a couple things before but not all, and I hadn't seen the pictures. I especially love the one of him taken in Tennessee. I wonder, did he get the uncontrollable mare settled down? It seems that the more I learn about Leonard the more I like him.

About the rodeo, people who know me are often surprised that I go, because they know I am an animal lover and rodeos aren't always kind to all the animals. I don't have an explanation except for my love of the west in general. Growing up, I never wanted to play princess, I wanted to be a cowboy! I loved the version of BOTAM written for Warnes.

Thank you again for the awesome post and the great pictures! A perfect way to start my day!
Vickie
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Hartmut
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby Hartmut » Wed May 10, 2017 11:40 pm

B4real wrote: About Jazz Police
The usual Star Trek theme song is here
Huh. I never made that connection. - Is this well known for everybody but me?
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B4real
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Thu May 11, 2017 6:23 am

Vickie, I'm glad you enjoyed that! .... and another coincidence, this time about the rodeo connection!
My sister and her family have horses too; they keep them just for riding and she says they're big expensive but lovable pets!
I don’t think that Tennessee horse was ever truly tamed because Leonard could hardly ever get a saddle on him let alone ride him. I know the white 'stage' horse was a stallion and I think this one was too. Not that it matters too much but it was a 'male' for sure; I don't know what colour it was :)

Hartmut, it’s not one of those songs most people would pay close attention to so perhaps the bridge of it went undetected for some! Hummm .... Maybe I should have used it in the Song Hunt game ;-)
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. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Thu May 11, 2017 3:50 pm

Good morning B4-

I have printed the picture of LC on the TN farm and have it on my desk at work. It reminds me not only of him but our little farm too, which is always calming. We don't have horses, we have 3 donkeys. The large one Sam is in my avatar with me and we have 2 mini donks (Buttercup and Cha-cha). Your sis is right, equines are expensive but they are fun!

I have a question for anyone here. Our son is getting married in July and has asked me to pick a song for the Mother/Son dance at the reception. Any ideas? I want to pick a Leonard song of course, but I suppose it doesn't HAVE to be. I would like to make up for the fact that I wasn't able to teach him about LC as he was growing up, which I should have. At least he was educated in Dylan and other favorites. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Also wondering what 4 thought of his 'new' album...
its4inthemorning wrote: Amazon just delivered a NEW Leonard Cohen album. It's titled Recent Songs, have any of you heard it?
Thanks all,
Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Thu May 11, 2017 4:23 pm

Vickie,

You should have asked your question about the Mother/Son reception dance before the recent talk about "Take This Waltz." Right now that's the one that seems perfect to me, and it's hard to imagine anything else!

Brings back memories of our wedding, we (mostly Joann) arranged the whole affair, it took place at the farm house we had just bought and were living in (and still do). We used "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" as the music when Joann descended the stairs for the ceremony; I think at one point we had considered using "Joan or Arc," but abandoned that idea when we realized we would be the only two in attendance who ever heard it. The clergyman performing the ceremony was a fraternity brother who went on to become a Moravian minister, he was kind enough to do so despite our lack of roots into that, or any, formal religion. The whole affair was extremely unorthodox for 1982, but a good time was had by all. Sorry for straying off-topic.

I will give you a rundown of "Recent Songs" when I have more 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
2017 NOVEMBER 5-8 - MONTREAL LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Thu May 11, 2017 4:40 pm

its4inthemorning post wrote: "Take This Waltz." Right now that's the one that seems perfect to me, and it's hard to imagine anything else!
Yes! I didn't want to sway anyone with my idea of what would be perfect. I was afraid with the mention of death, it might be too heavy, but the music is so beautiful, and who but us would pay that much attention to the lyrics, right? ;-) I will include it with a couple other so he can pick, but since his fiance's family is Hispanic, I hope to sway them with the fact that it was based on Lorca's poem.

Your wedding sounds awesome. Especially the old farm house part! I've always loved old houses, especially old farm houses. Our son is getting married at a winery in Oregon. They live in Portland.

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

Postby vlcoats » Sat May 13, 2017 7:28 pm

:( So, what do you do when someone you care very much about doesn't care for Leonard Cohen? (Besides feeling shocked and betrayed that is.)

It's not my husband. He tolerates the state I am in after discovering Leonard very well. It is our son. He prefers I pick another artist for the Mother/Son Dance at his wedding reception. My husband said it is my fault for asking him what he thought. He said I should have just said, this is the one I have chosen... period. But it is their wedding not ours, and I want them to be happy. I supposed I could pick a Dylan song. Our son grew up listening to him, so I am guessing that it would be accepted. Or one of the many songs we shared when it was just him and me in the 90s. But, I am definitely disappointed. I should have guessed this might happen when he didn't comment on the copies of the first 4 CDs I sent him.

I don't have a lot of people in my life that I am very close to, so I won't have to go through this much. I have already found out that most acquaintances and work-related friends will just give a blank stare when I talk about LC, and that doesn't bother me much. Even the music teacher at our school who I expected to understand only said, "Yeah, he's that guy who wrote Hallelujah." (!!?!! :shock: ) I don't need to talk to anyone about him, but it is a disappointing surprise to me when people who I really care about don't get him. I feel like if they get me, they should get him.

Anything like this happen to you?
Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Mon May 15, 2017 5:20 am

Me again.

I received both of the biographies I ordered. Prophet of the Heart by LS Dorman & CL Rawlins and and Various Positions by Ira Nadel. I am starting with the first only because it was published first. However, I love the dust cover of the second. I wanted to attach an image of each but it doesn't seem so easy to do that on the forum.

The Dorman/Rawlins book is so different from Simmons'. Sylvie seemed very objective and left me wondering sometimes if she even liked the guy! This biography (so far..) leaves no doubt that they do. It seems a little intellectual (not sure if that is the word I am looking for) but hopefully I will get over that. I like things simple and big picture, because if someone dissects something too much, I have to keep rereading what they are saying to see how it fits into how I perceive the big picture. I did like the physical description of him in the beginning and that of his home in Montreal, and I loved how the author describes his irritation with being examined by them. I wouldn't have even let them in my front door, so kudos to LC for being so gracious!

Still listening to all of the music so far, and I haven't opened The Future yet. I have new favorites all the time... even from the first album... I am really loving One of Us Cannot Be Wrong right now. I love the images he uses to describe what I assume was unrequited love, plus that melody! I still have Take This Waltz stuck in my head too. I will wait a little bit for that to subside before I go on to The Future.

Thanks for being here.
Vickie
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Wed May 17, 2017 11:26 pm

its4inthemorning post wrote:... "Take This Waltz." Right now that's the one that seems perfect
Hello 4,
Not sure if you saw my post about my son not choosing this song. He said that although he knows Leonard Cohen means a lot to me now, he hasn't been with me to listen to his music, so the music that reminds him of me is Dylan. He has chosen Make You Feel My Love, which isn't exactly my favorite Dylan song and doesn't hold a candle to Take This Waltz, but it is their wedding, and I want him to be happy. I told him it was perfect!

Hope everyone is doing well and that I continue to hear from you and B4 and Lisa and anyone else who would be kind enough to jump in. I have appreciated your input and feedback. I guess no man is an island... not even a hermit.

Thanks!
Vickie
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B4real
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Fri May 19, 2017 12:26 pm

Hi Vickie,
I've been busy with other things. I hope you are enjoying the bios and albums - take your time, no need to hurry!

You were asking about posting a picture, the instructions below should help you:

If you want to use a picture already on your hard drive –
Click Post Reply. Below the space for your message, there is a tab on the bottom left hand side that says ‘attachments’. Click on it, and then click on ‘add files’ and your computer will be connected. Find your image in it and click on it and click ‘open’ on your computer. The photo file will be shown as being added to your post. (You may also attach files by dragging and dropping them in the message box). If you want the photo in a particular place in your post just click where you want it to be shown then click ‘place inline’. Click ‘preview’ if you want to see your image before you click ‘submit’.

If you are posting directly from the web -
Click Post Reply. Click "insert img" above where you type your message - it will look like this [img][img], right click and paste the copied image address of the picture in between the two "img"s. Click ‘preview’ if you want to see your image before you click ‘submit’.

NB: You can't post an image over 256KB if you are posting from your computer's hard drive - you will have to re-size it to under 256KB, then you can. It doesn’t matter what size it is if you post direct from the web because it’s just a link.
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. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Fri May 19, 2017 4:30 pm

Thank you B4!

I am going to try attaching the book pictures. (judging by the preview, it looks like it works!)
This is the one I am starting with, "Prophet of the Heart" by Dormin and Rawlins
Resized_20170514_182759.jpeg
I really like it so far. It took me a little to get used to the writing style (my issue, not the author's) and now I am really enjoying it. The descriptions of his early life, family, and Montreal are great! My husband and I just had our DNA tested for the fun of it, and the results said that my gene pool mix (French, Scottish, Scandinavian and Greek) makes it "highly likely" that I belong to the "Genetic Community" of "French Settlers Along the St Lawrence". Amazing what they can tell from someone's spit! I do remember my family saying we were "French Canadian", so knowing about that very (very) distant connection to LC made reading about his early life in Montreal more fun. It also seems that "Prophet of the Heart" is more descriptive and detailed, as well as more subjective, than "I'm Your Man" by Simmons, but I am liking that!

Below is the other book, "Various Positions, a Life of Leonard Cohen" by Nadel. Being a librarian, I love physical characteristic of books and this one has a cool dust cover.
20170508_193819.jpeg
I haven't started it yet. (It probably comes as no surprise that I like to do one thing at a time.) It looks good though. Of course all of the books about him look good! For an artist that none of the people I talk to have a clue about, he sure had a lot of books written about him.

I am about to listen to #9, The Future. I am excited for this one! That might be because I have read it was his last album for several years. The bits and pieces I remember being said about it, make it sound almost apocalyptic. Like always, though, I am a little scared to open it. I have been a little scared to open each one.

Thank you for the directions on posting a picture!
Vickie
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B4real
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby B4real » Sat May 20, 2017 9:35 am

Hi Vickie,
Nice to know my instructions worked for you!
That’s an interesting DNA connection for you in all ways and meanings! LC said he was told that one of his paternal ancestors go right back to the first Jewish priest (kohen) Aaron in the Bible. Being told that he said he felt a certain sense of duty to continue in his own way, “the tradition”. Also he has given priestly blessings at his later concerts and here's one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4imJ7wWB9FU
Btw, I think all with the Cohen name may lay claim to the same biblical descendant.

And it is a curious coincidence that you were just talking about DNA because a few days ago I sent back my own sample – should take 6-8 weeks for the results. My brother who is almost identical in looks to Alex (LC’s last violinist) has just showed me his results and they inspired me to do it. They are Scandinavian, Great Britain, Europe East and West, Finland/North West Russia, Greece/Italy and the Iberian Peninsula. Like most Aussies we are a mix of many nationalities. It will be interesting to see how mine vary with his in % etc.

In reply to what you said about people “not getting” Leonard:
At first encounter, personally I can say that not everyone realises who he is :razz: That scenario aside, I think a lot more people have become aware of him in recent times but he was, is, and will always be in a category all of his own, far above and beyond the madding crowd. That fact alone finds most still trying to figure him out! You know, put simply, I feel that he was doing what we all are doing; trying to cope and searching for something - whether it be answers to everyday living or questions on a higher level. The way he went about it was categorically not so simple!

As regards The Future album I am going to break my protocol and reveal here and now that my absolute favourite song from this is Anthem :D It’s one of my very favourite LC songs. If I have influenced your choice that’s OK ;-)
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. continued...

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun May 21, 2017 6:22 pm

Now you two have done it, talking about this DNA testing! Curiosity is getting to me, maybe I will follow through with a test of my own. Another thing to add to my to-do list.

Sadly I have been Cohen-free for awhile, just when I started to listen to my "new album," my stereo went on the blink, no right channel at all. I could just put in mono mode, but am loath to do so as many recordings (not sure if this applies to LC's) lose a lot if the stereo effect is removed. Hopefully I can get the problem fixed in short order.

B4, thanks for the instructions to post photos, I never really knew how to either. If or when I have an appropriate photo, I will try to post it here.

Vickie, you had previously asked if other fans also had the experience of knowing almost no one else who appreciated LC. I just mentally reviewed all of our relatives (siblings and spouses, nieces/nephews and spouses, grand nieces, and grand nephews) and categorized them with respect to feelings about LC and his music. Here are the sad results:

Fans (into LC and have seen him in concert): 2

Mostly Indifferent (slight curiosity, but no real interest in LC: 8

Absolutely Indifferent (not even the slightest interest in LC): 17

Openly Hostile: 2

Too Young/No Exposure: 13

The results would be even worse if they included friends, I cannot think of any that would even fall in the "Mostly Indifferent" category. Alas, this is the cross most LC fans are destined to bear.

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 5-8 - MONTREAL LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Sun May 21, 2017 8:19 pm

Thank you for the link with the blessing B4. It was beautiful. I wish I knew more Hebrew, but I only know what I have taught myself, and it is not enough. Excepting my son, I am the only Jewish person I know, so I haven’t had much opportunity to learn. One thing I share with Leonard is a fascination with religions and a respect and curiosity about them. I am not overtly religious; but I did of my own accord change from Catholicism (the religion I was raised in) to Judaism after the adoption of my son 25 years ago. It wasn’t easy to convince the Cantor who guided me through my conversion that I was sincere, but in the end he welcomed me into the faith. I observe the holidays in my home but have always felt a little awkward at temple. It is the singularity of the faith that drew me to it and the stoicism of the Jewish spirit that made me want to join them, and I am content to feel a part of them in my small way. Ever since my conversion, I am asked over and over why I did it, when I had no ties to it beforehand. After discovering Leonard Cohen and learning more about him, I feel he is one person that would not have asked me that.

It sounds like you Aussies are mutts like your North American counterparts! I guess it doesn’t really matter where we are from, but there is something comforting about knowing your history. And so interesting! It fires the imagination. Our results took over 8 weeks to get back. It is weird how the % mix can be different in siblings. I don’t understand it all, even though the science teacher at the school I work at tried to explain it to me. You will have to update us on what your mix is when you receive it!

And 4! , now you have to tell us your DNA results if you do it. My husband's were much more purebred than my own. His was over 60% Great Britain (Welsh). Although while my connection was "Very Likely" to the "French Settlers Along the St. Lawrence", his connection was only rated as "Possible" to his "Genetic Community" of "Settlers of Southeastern New York". I find the genetic community part most interesting. We used Ancestry.com by the way.

So sorry about your stereo 4! I hope you get it fixed soon. I was wondering what you thought of Recent Songs. I have placed it towards the top of my list for sure. I have read mixed reviews about it which surprises me.

I loved what you both (4 and B4) had to say about the lack of other fans. It is frustrating but mostly confusing to me that EVERYBODY doesn't LOVE him. I have often struggled to accept that not everyone feels the exact way that I do about things. I have never minded being different, and I am often surprised to find out that I am, especially when it comes to something I feel should be universal. It probably makes me sound self centered (not an attractive characteristic). Anyway, it is nice to know that that I am not completely alone in loving Leonard, and that in fact, there are thousands and thousands of people that do. I just don't know any of them, except on this site. I wonder what it is in our brains that makes us take to him, as if it could be tested for as easily as DNA.

As for The Future……… what an amazing voice LC grew into! This album practically shakes the ground. I love it of course, but don’t have a clear hands down favorite yet. I do have some random impressions and have underlined the songs I especially like:
The Future- I have never really gone crazy for the first song on any of his albums (except for Avalanche) but this one I liked a LOT. However, when I first heard the lyrics “crack and anal sex”, I felt a little like I did when I heard my dad say the F-bomb once in the wee hours when he thought I was asleep. It boggles my mind that LC would have been about the same age as my father if they were both alive. His music makes him ageless to me.
Waiting for the Miracle- I am glad for the length of this one because I LOVE it! I want to call it haunting but that isn’t the right word. It is yet another of his songs that brings out a nameless emotion in me.
Be For Real- I know he didn’t write the lyrics, but really, does it even matter what he is saying here? It is that voice, and that is all that matters. It touches you in a deeper place than the bass drum did when you were 5 years old watching the parade go by.
Closing Time- It’s country music and I’ve already shared my affinity for all things western, so of course I love it. It leaves me wishing that the country songs on every radio here in Idaho had such interesting lyrics!
Anthem- So beautiful! Even my husband liked this one and said it was his favorite on the album (!). It has so much going for it, but of course the lyrics are the main thing. It has so much more than the famous “crack in everything” to offer though! My very favorite line was “They’ve summoned up a thundercloud, and they’re going to hear from me.” Boom!
Democracy- Not a favorite. I think it’s the drum and the music that made me shrug my shoulders (apologies to anyone who finds this one awesome).
Light as the Breeze- Not sure what he is saying here, but I love the way he’s saying it. Obviously about sex, but it’s all mashed up with those other things. That’s why I really love this one. It is so rich.
Always- I’ve been waiting and waiting for a pure blues song by LC!! The blues have always been a favorite genre of mine so I love it!! The only disappointment is that he didn’t write it himself.
Tacoma Trailer- I was ready to dismiss this without even hearing it. I mean, a Leonard song without words, are you kidding me? I could not have been more wrong. I was surprised how much I love it. It proved to me that the emotions brought out by Leonard Cohen are not just because of the lyrics. This made me cry and wonder what it was all about just as much as any of his songs have so far.

Sorry for the long post! I would love to hear more what you thought of these songs, and the album over all, was it a favorite?
Off to do chores....
Vickie

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