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essential cohen seems incomplete

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:25 am
by blonde madonna
Disclaimer: I am new so forgive me if this has already been said.

It is a shame that Leonard Cohen, in selecting from his work for this collection, neglected Songs of Love and Hate and ignored Death of a Ladies Man. They are both sentimental favourites of mine, being among the first albums I owned.
I recently read negative comments Cohen has made about recording Death with Spector (and the whole world now knows how crazy this guy is, but that's a whole other topic for discussion) but I think it is a fantastic album.
I love the soundscape Spector has created behind Cohen's songs. The falling piano notes on the title track are sublime, there is nothing like it in the rest of Cohen's songs. Memories is so tongue in cheek fantastic when played really loud and the emotion in Paper Thin Motel and Don't Go Home With Your Hard-on make the songs on Ten New Songs (which I also love for different reasons) sound so anaemic!
It is the same with Love and Hate, so much anger in Dress Rehearsal Rag and Diamonds in the Mine. My younger self responded to it as I never would have to Dear Heather's respectable poetry.
Is Cohen uncomfortable with his younger self?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:16 pm
by John Etherington
Hi BM,
I like the "Love and Hate" and "Ladies Man" albums as much as you do, and felt far more passionate about them at the time of their release than I did about "Ten New Songs". Let's face it though...while we might love these albums, Leonard had to live them, and they might bring back memories he may not particularly relish. Compilations are always going to disappoint someone, because inevitably someone's favourite will be left out. Obviously the sequence and mood of a compilation has to be considered too. Overall, I cannot fault the "Essential LC", but I would have liked to see "Joan of Arc" and "The Window" included.
All good things, John E

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:45 pm
by jarkko
As far as we know Sony was also playing an important role when the songs were selected for the Essential collection.

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:05 pm
by lizzytysh
One of the things I also recall about the selection process for this album is that we appeared to be given a small part in the selection with one, final song... the others considered givens, and its coming down to which of these two. I believe it was Sony that opened it up to our opinions, though it may have been Leonard, as well, or just Leonard, period.

It came down to being between "Master Song" and "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" ~ we all voted, with some giving their reasons why. Ultimately, "Master Song" wasn't included, but I'm not sure how much, in the final decision-making, our views were considered. As I recall, we learned later that Leonard seemed to prefer that it be "Master Song" that made the cut.

I'm not so sure I'd vote the same way today as I did then. "Master Song" is just so dense with meaning. I voted for the sentimental/inspiring impact the latter has had in my life.

[It seems like it could have been "So Long, Marianne vs. "Hey, . . . ," but I really think it was "So Long, . . . "]

Jarkko or Tom could probably clarify everything that's in question here.

~ Lizzy

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:35 am
by tomsakic
I vaguely recall that *Leonard* asked us to vote between So Long Marianne and Master Song, we voted Master song but Marianne was included. (What's logical.)

Also, as much Sony actually had its ways, my impression was that this was Leonard's selection after all (or at least approved, with minor changes [I'd swear that The Guests and VP songs are maybe LC's intervention.). But I believe Jarkko knows better

Coming to *commercial* selection, my wouldn't be much different, I'd maybe only make 1988-93 songs less accented and add The Window and one from DOALM.

The main progress with this album was that Reecnt Songs was finally accepted by both Leonard and Sony (although with The Guests which got good air time in France and Germany in 1979 so it was some kind of commercial choice, a smuch it's funny to say so for such a song - I think The Window, The Gypsy Wife are much better choice.)

Also I still am particularly pleased by so many VP songs as Leonard seemed do avoid them (including their live versions in More Best Of etc). Leonard's intervention is probably incluision of Dance Me... in live version, as live tracks are against the concept of The Essential series, but we do recall his words that he nailed the song only in 1988 live arrangement, so this released 1993 version is the preffered one (although I do like 1985 studio version).

Joni Mitchel had those albums Hits and Misses. While Hits were commercial singles (like LC is badgering us woth Closing Time - OK, it was minor hit on charts in Canada, what's unusual for him, but it's not "essential"), Misses were her preffered selections.

Leonard's Misses would be Master Song, Stories of the Street, The Old Revolution, Last Year's Man, Sing Another Song Boys, Nancy (live), [hm, Take This Longing is commercially essential?], Iodine, Death of a Ladies' Man, Ballad of the Absent Mare, The Window (live), The Gypsy Wife (live), Lover Lover Lover (live), Bird on the Wire (live), The Stranger Song (live), [now, VP I'd say that the same songs from official release are appropriate here! So Sony Essential is little strange as this part is totally new to previous "best of" presentations of Leonard], after If It Be Your Will great bridge is to Ain't No Cure For Love [ :lol: ], Take This Waltz, I Can't Forget, I'm Your Man, Hallelujah (live), One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong (live), Who By Fire (live), Waiting for the Miracle, Anthem, Light as the Breeze, Joan of Arc (live), Everybody Knows (live), A Thousand Kisses Deeo, Love Itself, Here It Is, Boogie Street, The Letters, Morning Glory, The Faith.

That's my selection. Oh my, I just puit out parts of my feedback suposed to "My own essential Leonard Cohen" thread 8) But it's easy to write what, I still don't know why and how.

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:05 pm
by Joe Way
Hi Tom,

I recall the fan's choice between Master Song and So Long Marianne. I think that the issue became moot because Master Song was too long to be included (unless something else was jettisoned).


Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:49 am
by tomsakic
So Long, Marianne - 5:37
Master Song - 3:47

Something else, I'd say :wink: (Sony probably, or LC's own logic. Can you imagine greatest hits without Marianne?)

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:07 pm
by blonde madonna
Hang on a second Tom
My most humble self thinks you have that wrong.
'Master Song' was a long song on 'Songs of Leonard Cohen' but maybe it has been shorter elsewhere (which is why I have a thing against 'best of' compilations).

I totally agree that 'So Long Marianne' can not be left out, I love that simple yet not so simple line:
'it's time that we began to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again'
The unexpected change in sequence says so much about how much we cry.

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:34 pm
by tomsakic
Indeed seems odd. My impression was also that Master Song is *pretty* long.

But timing data comes from The Leonard Cohen Files.

Gonna check somewhere else.

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:37 pm
by tomsakic
AMG says:

Master Song - 5:54 (what I seems to roughly recall from back of my CD).

So Long, Marianne - 3:37

As on The Files both Suzanne and Master Song are counted as 3:47, it's obviously wrongly repeated. (But Marianne is prolonged?) Errare humanum est.

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:32 pm
by Manna
I just checked what I have on my pod - Master Song (Songs of LC) is 5.55, So Long, Marianne (from The Essential) is 5.41.

But I would have picked So Long Marianne over Master Song, just because So Long Marianne is more fun for me. Well, another day I may have chosen the other, but I've been in a good and silly mood today.

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:51 am
by DBCohen
Tom Sakic wrote: That's my selection. Oh my, I just puit out parts of my feedback suposed to "My own essential Leonard Cohen" thread 8) But it's easy to write what, I still don't know why and how.
You bet! People are waiting for ages for you to keep your promise and deliver your tsunami, while you go dancing at another party! I'll call you traitor to your face! 8)

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:50 am
by tomsakic
Only Martha Wainwright can call me traitor to my face 8) :wink: