For the purpose of balance and contrasting observations (and advanced LC studies
) I thought I’d impart some facts relating to the actual songs themselves that happen to be on the New Skin For The Old Ceremony album. Some info you will know and some maybe not. Firstly from Leonard’s point of view (which I know Vickie is always interested in
) plus some alternate lyrics I that haven’t already posted and there are still more around.
Is This What You Wanted
“This is a song which represents a dialogue between you and your ideal lover. The ideal lover is not present for this particular dialogue, if indeed your ideal lover exists at all”.
You were the sensuous woman
I was the very reverend Doctor Freud...
I was only/just Steve McQueen
You were that famous XY/fancy/lubricating/expensive KY Jelly
I was only/common/ordinary Vaseline
I was always bold/shabby/clean/vulgar/Mr Clean...
I lay here chained with only one
You defied/betrayed/destroyed your precious/holy/sacred solitude...
Chelsea Hotel #2
“I began that song; I would say ah, the very late sixties. As the years went by I began to realize that it was Janis Joplin who gave me the seed of the song. Often a song develops from the gift of another individual, as though somebody hands you the song. It may take years to develop. Well, while I was working on the song I wasn't even sure it was the song Janis Joplin had given me but as I began working on it I understood what that seed, the seed gift, or the seed origin or the genesis, that thing from which the song develops, that softens the heart enough to receive ah, whatever the energies are that produce the song, that it was Janis Joplin. And as the years went by I began to want to acknowledge that gift.”
You told me once again how you’d prefer younger men...
You fixed yourself, you said, “Well never mind,
we aren’t pretty but we have the music”...
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
When you spoke for the widow and the orphan...
Lover Lover Lover
“I wrote this next song about a year ago today, in the Sinai desert. I made it for the soldiers that are on both sides.”
I cannot change your name, he said
It is my very human word
Your name is mine, he said
But you repeat it like a mocking bird...
Oh but my judgement never faltered
It is written in the heart
Peace to those who be with me
Field Commander Cohen
“I don't quite remember the genesis of that song, except that "Field Commander Cohen" is an ironic description, although I always loved the Army. And my father had intended to send me to the Kingston Military Academy actually. And if he'd have lived, I would probably have been in the Canadian Army. "Field Commander" in a sense, I think that grew from touring, in the sense that when you're on tour, it is that kind of leadership, rather than any executive leadership, because you are on the field, and it is moment to moment decisions. And you do have a group of men and women to keep together under sometimes strenuous circumstances.”
And be your sweetest self at first
‘til you conceive a deeper thirst
then go to where the selves are from
summon them and let them come
‘til love is pierced and love is hung...
Why Don’t You Try
“There are songs of greeting and songs of parting and then songs to those we are stuck with. This is a song to one whom one is stuck with, one whom one is sealed in a long conversation and a long embrace. In the first two verses we examine their predicament from various points of view, for which the French would have many interesting explanations. In the last verse, I attempt to marry the poor devils.”
Just open up your greedy little hand...
There Is A War
“There is an earlier version and I guess a less charitable version of the predicament. But it's important to have that because even in the midst of this flood or catastrophe which we are in, these are the days of the flood, these are the final days. In a sense all the institutions are and have been swept away and the ethical question is: "What is the proper behaviour, what is the appropriate behaviour in the midst of a catastrophe?" That song is a kind of war cry to strengthen to participants, to inform them that there was a conflict, but it's an uncharitable song and it's very difficult to sing correctly without making it sound like a slogan. There is a proper way to sing it but I don't think I've discovered the right way.”
Why don’t you come on back to the war, we can still get married...
Why don’t you dome on back to the war, let’s all get even,
Why don’t you come on back to the war, you don’t look that pretty when you’re sleeping!
A Singer Must Die
“In this next song I wrote from the feeling of being on trial - everyone's on trial -. In every living-room there's a trial going on, in every bedroom there's a trial going on, not just in the courtrooms, not just in the jails, but in the most private places of our lives, yeah we subject each other to judgement and to trial.”
OK then/So save me a place in the ten
three/twelve/twenty/thirty/forty/sixty dollar grave
With those/the whores who take money/put money on/ for the pleasure/s they gave
With those always ready with those who undress
So you could/may lay/lie down with your head on somebody’s warm/breast...
I am so afraid that I listened to you
Your helmets, your truncheons/weapons the message comes through
It's your ways to detain, your ways to disgrace,
your knee in my balls and your fist in my face...
I Tried To Leave You
“I've written many songs of parting. Don't wanna feel that I'm leaving you anywhere that I'm not going. Anyhow, this is a song of staying. It's one of those delirious songs of monotony called marriage. This is a song written out of my old age, my middle-age, my wrinkles, my weakness, and my failures called Je voulais te quitter."
And all your precious/very special/important work it’s right before your eyes…
Good afternoon, my darlings, I hope you’re satisfied…
Who By Fire
"There's an old tradition that insists that on a certain day of every year the Book of Life is opened and in it is inscribed those who will live and those who die, who by fire, who by fire, who by water. The melody is if not actually stolen, is certainly derived from the melody that I heard in the synagogue as a boy. But of course, the conclusion of the song, as I write it, is somewhat different: 'Who shall I say is calling?' Well, that is what makes the song into a prayer for me in my terms, which is who is it or what is it that determine who will live and who will die? What is the source of this great furnace of creation? Who lights it? Who extinguishes it?"
This song is one of the very few which have no discernibly notable variances.
Take This Longing
“Buffy Sainte-Marie recorded an early version of this called "The Bells". It took me six or seven years to get a version for myself. I began while listening to Nico sing at the Dome on the 8th Street in 1966. I broke the code in Asmara and finished the song in the shed of St Dominique Street in Montreal later that year. I wrote this song long time ago for a German girl, her name was Christa. She had another name that she used in America (stage name Nico) but I found out that her name really was Christa (Pfaggen). The most wonderful thing about this girl which I discovered after I had given this song to her and sung it for her was that she was deaf. She never even heard it but she kept nodding her head in deep appreciation. This is the song I wrote for her.”
So give/all this beauty to the wind
Put your precious/pride to rest
And let me judge your famous love affair
In this very room where I have sentenced mine to total death
Yeah, I’ll even wear these laurel leaves
That she’s/he's shaken from her/his head...
You thought I want you to be good
Now you know that I want you to be best...
Leaving Green Sleeves
Based on Greensleeves an English 1530’s folk song using its first and seventh verses as LC’s first verse.
LC was once asked to sing this song at a concert and he replied:
“Oh I haven't sung that for about 300 years. I used to sing that when I was a troubadour in the south of France. My name was Artaud. I used to walk on those dusty roads singing Greensleeves. I haven't sung that for a long time”.
Sung only twice in concert and the line below contains the only alternative word.
To lie between your golden thighs...
4 wrote: Miscellany #3. Jarkko is champing at the bit to make his big announcement, stay tuned!
getting close now