Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:34 am

Greetings,

I had responded to Vickie's last post with comments on "categorizing Leonard's music," but after I thought I posted it, it disappeared. Really no need to try to recreate it, the conclusion, after many words, was that one cannot categorize his music.

I stumbled across youtube videos of Leonard's October 3, 2012 Barcelona concert, or at least a good part of it. Because Vickie never had a chance to see Leonard live, I thought she might want to view it all or in part, because it really shows things from a viewer's perspective, especially a viewer seated in row ten or so in front of Javier. I know this, because we were at that concert, and that is where we were seated. (This concert was mentioned in my September 10 post on this thread as Flashback #4.)

The link I will provide is for Part I, and at the end it automatically goes to Part III (Part II was evidently lost). What I find interesting is that the video concentrates on what I was focusing on at the concert, mostly Leonard of course, and also Javier and Sharon and the Webb sisters because they were the performers most visible from our vantage point. The person who recorded the video must have been seated several rows in front of us. The video is a little jumpy at times as he changes directions and focus, and sometimes he did not start recording until a little after a song had begun. But all in all, he did an admirable job, I wonder how much one can actually enjoy a concert if they are recording it?

Some things to look for: Leonard seems a little tired and subdued at the start, but gradually becomes his old self. Javier is from near Barcelona, he seems to enjoy playing for the hometown crowd. Surprises from the Webb sisters, they take over some lines that Leonard normally sings. And of course, the monkey scene in "First We Take Manhattan."

Several times in the video the camera pans to the area we were seated, but he avoided showing us (maybe for the best). The women with the roses were right in front of us. And no, I was not the audience member you hear singing the "Marianne" chorus with vigor.

Here is the link.

https://youtu.be/yzfplTrU1Vg?t=1

BTW, I like Vickie's suggestion about further discussions on the last three albums. Sad that "Steer Your Way" did not win the Grammy award, it is my favorite song on the Darker album.

Hope everyone is well.

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 "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:53 pm

Hello again!
We have been busy getting our house ready to put on the market, and we also went to Montana to visit my nephew. I finally have time to respond!

I wish you had not lost what you wrote about categorizing Leonards music. I will bet it would be worth reading. It's something that I think of often. His music has so many elements of various genres. Of course there's folk-rock, soft rock, blues, jazz, country, pop, rock, etc. and on and on. Some of the most beautiful compositions are classical in style to me. I was just thinking that when I was listening to the opening notes of The Window on my way to work today. We have lost such an amazing guy. It seems impossible that he was allowed to go. What was G-d thinking?... "I can just make another one."??

Thank you for sharing the videos from Barcelona. I have been watching them on my lunch hour at work in bits and pieces.

As for Darker, you said that Steer Your Way is your favorite song on that album, but you didn't say why. I honestly cannot pick a clear favorite from that last album. I love the title track, I love Treaty, I love On the Level, l love It Seemed the Better Way, and I love Steer Your Way. So I would like to hear why you picked that one. I'm curious if others have a favorite from that album, what it is, and why.

Missing you all lately...
Vickie
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:48 pm

Vickie asked why "Steer Your Way" is my favorite song on the Darker album.

What immediately drew me to "Steer Your Way" was the music, not the lyrics. Actually this has been the case many times in the past with his other songs; Leonard is most known for his carefully-crafted lyrics, but his ability to come up with tunes to wed them with is often also amazing. I particularly like the use of the violin, especially in the haunting "year-by-year, month-by-month, day-by-day, thought-by-thought" refrain.

But as I listened to "Steer Your Way" more, my fondness of--or more precisely, my fascination with--the song developed into something much deeper and personally painful.

"Steer your way past the RUINS of the altar and the mall."

"Steer your way through the FABLE of creation and the fall."

"Steer your way past the palaces that rise above the ROT."

"Steer your heart past the truths THAT YOU BELIEVED IN YESTERDAY, such as fundamental goodness and the wisdom of the way."

"Steer your way through the PAIN that is far more real than you, that SMASHED THE COSMIC MODEL, that BLINDED EVERY VIEW."

"And PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME GO THERE..."

"They whisper still, the ancient stones, the blunted mountains WEEP."

"Let us die to make things CHEAP."

All of these lines, and others, speak to the u-turn that has been made in the advance of civilization, the decisions to discard beliefs, traditions, and institutions because they were not perfect, and to replace them with self-absorption, and with accelerating chaos.

No one can know what Leonard was thinking when he wrote these lyrics, and I dare not put words in his mouth, but the lyrics really hit home with me. Time may prove me wrong, but I will go to my death bed believing that I was profoundly fortunate to live at least part of my life at a time when brotherhood-of-man and quality-of-life were still advancing, and with the knowledge that, by inaction, I was partly responsible for what came after.

I hope I am still allowed to say such things in public!

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 "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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AlanM
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby AlanM » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:06 am

vlcoats wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:53 pm
I honestly cannot pick a clear favorite from that last album.
Vickie, I have been trying to come up with something new to say about this album and I totally agree with your statement.
For the last couple of weeks I have been listening and absorbing You Want It Darker on my morning walk. This in itself is obviously not a hardship. My favourite song seems to be the one that is currently playing.
What has come to mind on occasions is this Bob Dylan couplet:
Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody
When I paint my masterpiece

In many ways this album could be considered Leonard's masterpiece, it certainly is smooth like a rhapsody.
Is he singing? Probably not. Is he reciting beautiful poetry - probably more so. How are the word pictures, emotions, etc. that he has given us as a parting gift? Nothing short of brilliant and uplifting.
I love this album, it penetrates my soul.

As an aside - listening to Leonard Cohen can make one fitter! Initially the album ended when I was about 50 metres from my front door. This morning I put my key in the lock just before the last verse of the reprise of Treaty. So as well as penetrating my soul it has helped my ageing body.

Alan
Too much Leonard Cohen is never enough.
London 1972, Adelaide 1980, 1985, 2009
Sydney 2010; Adelaide 2010
Sydney 2013 X2; Melbourne 2013; Adelaide 2013
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:13 am

Hello all,
I also haven’t much more to say or have further info about this album but I simply wanted to catch up with everyone here on this thread. And Alan, I remember that giant hill on your walking route – if that is still the case you must be fit!

If I was forced to choose only one song from this album it would be Treaty and I’m including String Reprise /Treaty because I like to hear them as one song. I love the combination of the old and new words to make a perfect statement and I love the violin.

I think of the YWID album as Melody of the Soul מנגינה של הנשמה. I remember reading somewhere that Adam called this album mytho-theological. He also said while he and his father were making it they could hear the inner glow and smiles that happened on some of the songs – I don’t know which ones but it would be an interesting exercise to speculate their titles or applicable lines ;-)
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:15 am

I'm so happy to hear from everyone!

4- Have you ever thought so much about something that someone said and how you would respond to it that you feel like you actually did respond to it? That's what happened to me with your last post. But after looking back into our thread, I see I didn't respond at all. There were things I agreed with and things I didn't and I wasn't sure how to express either one. Then I ended up overthinking it until I said nothing at all. But, I do know what I wanted to say about your last sentence. That would be... yes- you are still allowed to say whatever you want, as far as I am concerned. And I hope you keep doing that, because otherwise we would miss so much.

Alan, I especially like what you said about the album penetrating your soul. I'm so new to Leonard, that it may seem insincere for me agree with you, but I know this last album will be a companion for me again and again as I get older and closer to following Leonard into the great wherever he is.

As for whether or not it is healthy or makes one fitter to listen to Leonard, I keep driving slower and slower as I listen to him on my way to work, but I don't know if that's keeping me safe or distracting me from driving!

B4, I remember you saying that you liked Treaty, so I have always thought of you everytime I hear it. And I have wondered what you liked about it and what lines meant the most to you and why. Thank you for answering sone of those questions and also for sharing what you read Adam had said about the album. Wouldn't if be nice to talk to Adam about his dad? I think about that from time to time and like to imagine he would talk mostly about the past 5 years and even further back to Hydra or Montreal.

Jean, we haven't heard from you on what song or songs you liked most on that album but hopefully we will!

Dave and I have been very busy with having our house on the market and showing it to prospective buyers. Anyone who has sold their home knows how much fun that is! I will keep you posted on how it goes.

Thanks to you all for writing!
Vickie
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:24 am

Hi everybody.

Just as "String Reprise / Treaty" to me is and is not one with "Treaty", I have and have not a preference for that gorgeously beautiful masterpiece closing the "Darker" album "like a rose on its ladder of thorn" picked by one who knows why he's picking it.
As for the underlying smile, ringing through the whole album, it makes me think of the smile in the Flower Sermon.

In the "Darker" album, for me, Kyozan Joshu Sasaki's "more sad" (dating back to the recording of "Various Positions") is fully accomplished now (beyond "But he does say what I tell him"); while the trilogy Old Ideas / Popular Problems / You Want It Darker, as a whole, strikes me as an illustration of the 10th Ox-herding picture, produced by someone who has been granted the privilege of eventually finding his home there, and who on top of that knows

Then lay your rose on the fire;
the fire give up to the sun;
the sun give over to splendour,
in the arms of the High Holy One


how to sing the light containing both day and night.


Edit: "More sad" dates back to the recording of "New Skin For The Old Ceremony", not "Various Positions".
My apologies.
Last edited by Jean Fournell on Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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... for a while
... for a little while...

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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:32 pm

I have been listening to You Want it Darker again after reading all of your posts, and I think the songs that speak to me personally are On the Level and Traveling Light. I might have mentioned before, when we discussed the album the first time, that I liked to imagine that anyone who ever ended a relationship with me might sometimes feel like Leonard expressed himself in On the Level, but my attraction to that song is more than that. I have often wondered about why Leonard never seemed to really find a soul mate for long. I am not sure if it was just because he was chasing tail or because he just didn't want one. Some of those questions seem to be answered by Traveling Light. Of course, maybe neither of these songs are about relationships between a man and woman. Maybe they are about the relationship between a man and the big whatever. like so many of his songs or even all of his songs are. But still, I like to think of him being involved in ordinary things, so I like to imagine some of his songs really are about having his heart broken by a woman or breaking the heart of a woman. I like to imagine that he might have yelled at someone and lost his temper or had small and petty thoughts like the rest of us. I think that is why it hit me so hard to stand at the foot of his grave in Montreal, because it helped remind me that he really was just a man, and he lived through the same things that we all do.
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:08 am

Vickie,
Some of your speculations about relationships may be answered in Death Of A Lady’s Man poetry book. During an interview Leonard said, “There are the answers to all your questions in this book. All the answers are here; it’s all in here”. But see it in the context of that time. It is human nature to want to find the perfect partner to share this mortal life with. This doesn’t happen sometimes because you can be looking for something that doesn’t exist but you don’t realise it until it becomes not so pressing for that to be what you thought it was. (phew!) Some people are lucky to find what they’re looking for and others are able to adjust their thinking. Some people settle for that and others can never do that. As Leonard said years later, “I never found the girl, I never got rich, follow me” :)

And your words have made me realise that I do have another favourite song from this album - If I Didn’t Have Your Love and in my eyes it is a love song and it could be said, a deliberate reversal of feeling to Did I Ever Love You on the previous studio album. It’s difficult to have a favourite line but I’ll venture these –

“If the sea was sand alone
And the flowers made of stone”

Of course, being B4real, I totally relate to this repeated line, “To make it real”.

... but I hesitate to stand where you stood in Montreal because then it would be for sure “to make it real”....
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:14 am

B4real wrote:It is human nature to want to find the perfect partner to share this mortal life with. This doesn’t happen sometimes because you can be looking for something that doesn’t exist but you don’t realise it until it becomes not so pressing for that to be what you thought it was. (phew!) Some people are lucky to find what they’re looking for and others are able to adjust their thinking. Some people settle for that and others can never do that. As Leonard said years later, “I never found the girl, I never got rich, follow me”
Thank you for your insight...yet again. In my mind, our lives are too short not to adjust our thinking but on the other hand, there are those things for which we should give no quarter, so I see that side also. I am looking forward to reading Death of a Lady's Man more than I was looking forward to hearing Death of a Ladies' Man. ;-)
And your words have made me realise that I do have another favourite song from this album - If I Didn’t Have Your Love
It is funny that you mention this song, because it was the one that made me think of those who love Leonard most, especially you and the others in our thread.
... but I hesitate to stand where you stood in Montreal because then it would be for sure “to make it real”....
I think if I had come to him before he was gone instead of after, I might feel the same. But for me, the fact that he was gone before I finally came to him, standing there was the only way I could reach the realization that he really was here... he really did exist.

PS- so nice to hear from you B4!
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:33 am

Vickie, it’s always good to talk to you and others here too!

And still speaking poetry on the music thread :) Having just said that, it reminds me How To Speak Poetry is an excellent “poem/prose” which covers four pages in Death Of A Lady’s Man. There are two poems here that also appear one each on the albums DOALM and Recent Songs as songs; the last one added to and name changed. The book, like its almost namesake album, is a little different to LC’s poetry books before and after. Some people like it, and others don’t. It has an interesting dual format and a definite full-on vocabulary! Every time I read this poem in it I always smile at this line, “disguised as a hat, I will rip off your eyebrows” – I always want to put an exclamation mark at the end of “eyebrows!” And interestingly, I would go so far as to say that the first sentence from this same poem was the basis for a well-known line in his endlessly covered most famous song in the world :razz:

I do have a favourite poetry book but pro tem I’ll leave you guessing ;-)

And I’m really getting ahead of myself so that’s it for now!
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:47 pm

Re "hesitating to stand where you stood in Montreal,"

I feel (felt) as does B4. The whole Memorial Event, of course, made the fact that Leonard was gone real, but the act of standing at his grave site was just too real for me to consider, I did not want that final finality. (But after looking at the photos, maybe I was wrong, the bits that the mourners had left somehow seemed to express hope rather than finality.)

BTWB4, there are so many fans in Australia, perhaps some (ahem, you and Alan), should contact whoever is in charge of the exhibit and make a case for visiting Oz.

Nice to see people stopping by here again.

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 "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:06 am

B4real wrote:And still speaking poetry on the music thread
I have to confess that I am speaking music on the poetry thread as well...
Every time I read this poem in it I always smile at this line, “disguised as a hat, I will rip off your eyebrows” – I always want to put an exclamation mark at the end of “eyebrows!”
I have not yet read the poem you are talking about yet (in my stubborn way), but for some reason the line you quote reminds me of these lines from the Jewel song called Daddy:
"I'm gonna use your tongue as a stamp
I'm gonna rip your heart out the way you did mine, Daddy...
Go ahead and psycho-analyze that"
I do have a favourite poetry book but pro tem I’ll leave you guessing.
I love how this thread makes me look things up ("pro tem")!

4- I would have liked to visit Mont Royal with you and Joann... after we both had been there on our own, of course.

Vickie
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:46 am

Just saw something on the forum that was very interesting, it concerns the "concert" Leonard played at the London mental health facility in 1970. This "concert" was mentioned in Sylvie's book and elsewhere.

It is a pdf of the facility's newsletter from years later recounting the event, on pages 6 and 7. Not being technology inclined, I will direct you there by saying, go to the "Live Performances" topic beneath this one and look for "Leonard Cohen at the Trust 1970." In that thread, scroll down until you get to Hartmut's post on 3/6/18, that is where the link that works is.

The recording of the concert--which remains unavailable--may be the first known recording of Famous Blue Raincoat. Hope you enjoy the article, too bad it was not longer.

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 "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:37 pm

4- Thank you for sharing that pdf of the article on the concert Leonard did at the Trust. I remember reading about it first in Sylvie's book and then again a couple other places after that. We would all love to hear the recording of that, but I respect that Ian kept his promise to Leonard and didn't share it. I would say it is up to Adam now on whether it should, if ever, see the light of day. I remember reading something else about that concert regarding an interaction Leonard had with one of the patients, but they didn't mention it in that article. Maybe it was out of respect to the patient.

I wanted to write today also to tell you about something that happened on my way to work yesterday!

I was listening to a copy of a live recording from 1985 (by the way....many, many heart felt thanks go out again to our friend Alan for his much appreciated gift!!) and a song came on that I HAD NEVER HEARD BEFORE!!!!!!!

It was Do I Have to Dance All Night.

It was so much fun to hear a song I had somehow missed during my induction studies! ;-) First of all, I loved it, especially the lyrics.... pure Leonard! Second of all, how did I miss this?? I searched for any mention of it in our lengthy thread but could find nothing (I may have missed it??). I immediately Googled it when I got to work and watched the fine video made by Allan Showalter based on the 1976 version about 10 times. Then I listened to it again on the way home and plan to hear it again when I head to work today. I have often noticed the comments here on the forum by members wishing so much that there might be yet-unreleased songs of Leonard's that will be revealed, and I have to confess that I have often thought, "But he already left us so much! How can you be so greedy?" However, now after hearing a song of his that I have not heard before, I can understand their sentiment a little better (although I still feel there is yet so much to be gleaned from what we already have).

Thanks for listening about that... I know it sounds a little crazy that I would be so excited about hearing one song, but I know everyone here understands!

Editing to add-- on the way to work I was wondering if maybe this song was on one of the live CDs or videos because it seems a little familiar. Maybe as I was going through everything at the beginning it escaped my notice?? Either way, I'm glad I noticed it now!
Vickie

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