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

Post by B4real » Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:25 am

Hey you guys,
I'm not ignoring you and I just wanted to say that I've been really busy lately with Christmas stuff and other things happening. So forgive me, but my brain is not into dissecting or discussing this album at the moment. I'll see what happens later :)
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to B4real ~ me
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

Post by vlcoats » Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:41 am

Hi 4!-
its4inthemorning wrote:Re the short Verse 8, if we conjecture that the words are dealing solely with romantic relationships, they take on a bit of a disagreeable tone
Sorry, when I said that this song was romantic, what I tried to say (not very well) is that romance doesn't just have to do with what happens in a relationship between two people, but it also refers to all of those things that can "sweep you off your feet". It can be things like reading the quests of King Arthur or JRR Tolkien's trilogy or seeing the temples on the Acropolis or watching the sunset in Hydra ;-) , not just the "hinge of a woman's thigh". I think Leonard was swept away by romance his whole life, by all forms of it. When he said in Verse 8 that he fought for something final... by 'final', maybe he meant 'important', which to me means 'truth'.
Anyway... I think I did a crappy job of explaining what I was trying to say! :)
As for the .303, I am not sure what gun his father left him, but the .303 is definitely a rifle. Dave got a 308 from my Uncle Bob, an elk rifle, while the 303 is more of a deer rifle.
Curiously, I too think of Suzanne Elrod when I hear the "I should have seen it coming" line, and for the same reasons. I cannot imagine him saying "Just to look at her was trouble" about his muse Marianne.
I am glad I am not the only one that thought that.
Since you took us to another level by focusing a verse, I will do so too.

"Then I studied with this beggar
He was filthy, he was scarred
By the claws of many women
He had failed to disregard
No fable here, no lesson
No singing meadowlark
Just a filthy beggar guessing
What happens to the heart"

Now, I might have been influenced by the video, but as I read these words I feel they must be referencing Roshi. After all, Cohen did study with Roshi, Roshi was fascinated with women, and ultimately that fascination caused scars (the public allegations of sexual misconduct). Does this verse strike anyone else the same way?
Now that you mention it, yes it does!

----
I haven't had a chance to read all of Jean's reply, so I will have to wait to respond to that...

And I see that we have just heard from B4! This is definitely a busy time of year... So glad you have check in.

Happy Holidays everyone... :D
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Post by its4inthemorning » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:03 am

A short essay, "The Inadvertent Gifts--Part 1"

It is in the early years of the new millennium:

I don't listen to music as much as I used to. When I do, occasionally, maybe a couple of times a year, a light goes off, and I remember three old albums that I bought in the 1970s. Most of my albums had been replaced by CDs, so listening to vinyl LPs meant hooking up the old Dual turntable. These three albums were strange in that no one except one college friend and (fortunately) Joann would ever listen to them with me. Ever. Joann and I had our semi-annual listen, wondered once again why no one else liked Leonard Cohen, and I put the albums back in their sleeves.

Across the country (what follows is written with extensive use of artistic license) Leonard Cohen still writes--he can't stop himself--but he is aware of, and perhaps resigned to, the fact that his musical career has been on pause for a decade and the record company has lost interest. Maybe that's not so bad, he thinks, could he ever perform again after the passage of so many years? And even if he could, would anyone pay to see him?

In the states, Canada, and further away in Europe, there remains a large base of loyal fans. They have been patiently waiting and hoping for some news about Cohen's musical career. Any news--even about the release of another compilation album--would be welcomed. But they too are becoming resigned to the sad reality that the body of Cohen's musical work is complete.

What could possibly intervene that could change the circles, spheres, and orbits of time-space already set in motion? Probably nothing--with the exception of the one thing that did: Kelley Lynch. We all know the story of what happened, so no need to go into that here. In recent years many have tossed about comments on the strange irony of Ms. Lynch's bad behavior winding up rewarding Leonard's fans. I thought that I would examine the extent of those rewards here--Kelley Lynch's inadvertent gifts.

The strategy for regrowing his retirement funds was based solely on touring (it would be futile to create new music that the industry would not release, and the industry would not release new music unless they were assured Cohen still had a large fan base). For those who have read Sylvie's book, we know how difficult it was for Cohen to make the decision to return to the road (and how important Robert Kory was in making that happen, thanks Robert). Cohen had been on the sidelines so long that he had a real fear of finding himself playing in almost empty venues--and small ones at that. So, how did the "touring thing" actually work out?

The initial tour started in May 2008, and was set in smaller venues in the Maritime provinces of Canada. These proved successful right from the start, so the schedule was gradually built out with more and larger venues throughout Canada and Europe. This "World Tour," which was certainly expected to be the last time Cohen would perform, continued in 2009 with Pacific, North American, and European legs, and in 2010 with North American, European, and Pacific legs plus a short final cluster of concerts in western North America (we saw Cohen perform for the first time at one of those final concerts, and I think everyone there in Las Vegas felt those would be his last shows). However, the success of the "World Tour," and Leonard's realization that there were still millions who wanted to watch him perform and help keep his music alive, were such that a new tour for the "Old Ideas" album was announced, to begin in Europe in August 2012. The "Old Ideas" tour continued to North America in late 2012 and in Spring 2013, and to Europe and then to the Pacific as 2013 wound down.

Not too shabby for someone who was older than 73 for the first concert and a few months past age 79 for the final one in Aukland, New Zealand four days before Christmas of 2013. During these final tours Cohen and his band played a total of 371 concerts in 187 cities in 31 countries. If you were lucky enough to attend any of these concerts, you know that they were almost religious experiences to many of the concertgoers. But, to me at least, what really brought them to a higher level was the quite apparent observation that Cohen, and everyone else on stage, was having as good a time as we were! Cohen was doing what he enjoyed doing, and there was no where else he would rather be. I tried to determine exactly how many concerts Cohen had done before his re-emergence, and my best number is 497 (perhaps our friend Maarten can verify or correct this). Thus, we have this remarkable factoid: Cohen performed 497 concerts prior to his age 59 and 371 concerts after age 73, and of his total 868 concerts, more than 42% were performed after age 73! This makes me feel good personally since I am still younger than 73, maybe there is still time for me to be a kid with a crazy dream.

All of these 2008-and-later concerts not only allowed us to see our hero, they also gave us opportunities to see some of the musicians that had been long-associated with Leonard: Sharon Robinson, collaborator and singer in the 1979 and 1980 tours, Rosco Beck, bassist in the 1979 and 1980 tours, Bob Metzger, guitarist in the 1988 and 1993 tours, and Mitch Watkins, guitarist in the 1979, 1980, and 1985 tours. We were also introduced to some fabulous performers who were new to us: Javier Mas, Neil Larsen, Dino Soldo, Alexandru Bublitchi, Rafael Gayol, and of course the sublime Webb sisters. Every one who accompanied Leonard on the "World" and "New Ideas" tours seemed genuinely honored to do so, and that shone through in their performances.

Because of the nature of her actions Kelley Lynch hardly deserves thanks for being responsible for the 371 concerts that Cohen fans were able to enjoy from 2008-2013. So let's just call it serendipity.

Comments are encouraged.

When I have time I am planning to write Part 2 discussing the musical aspects of the inadvertent gifts.

4

Edit 2/7/20: I was leafing through Sylvie's "I'm Your Man" and see that I should have offered thanks to Rob Hallet as well as to Robert Kory for being instrumental in Leonard's decision to tour again; Hallet, a prominent music promoter, made the extraordinary deal to Leonard that he could take all the time he needed to set up a band and practice (with Hallet paying the bills), and if in the end Leonard's final decision was to not tour, Hallet would eat the expenses and they would part friends.
Last edited by its4inthemorning on Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Post by its4inthemorning » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:14 pm

"The Inadvertent Gifts--Part 2"

This essay deals with how the misappropriation of Leonard's assets by Kelley Lynch ultimately provided inadvertent gifts to his fans. Part 1 spoke about the concert performances--371 in all--that Leonard wound up playing after he was forced out of retirement. This part will address the music aspects of Ms. Lynch's inadvertent gifts.

After the release of his "Dear Heather" album in late 2004, Cohen's musical output pretty much ceased. Perhaps there was some studio work after "Dear Heather," but I am not aware of it, and in any case, it yielded no fruit. Certainly Leonard continued to write, but maybe not with the idea of putting what he wrote to music. This all changed after he made the decision to tour again in 2008.

I think that anyone who attended "World Tour" concerts would have to agree that Leonard was enjoying himself immensely, not something that he had necessarily anticipated. So it seems logical that, as he re-entered the music world, his thoughts would turn to creating new music again.

Work on the "Old Ideas" album began after the "World Tour" ended in December 2010, and the album was released in January 2012. This set the stage for what proved to be Leonard's final "Old Ideas Tour" which started in August 2012. On that tour, Cohen performed seven of the ten songs on "Old Ideas" at various times, with most concerts including at least four.

Everyone has different tastes, and preferences for this or that Cohen song vary greatly. That being said--and not to diminish the songs I omit--I would say that these "Old Ideas" songs could easily find a place on one's list of favorite Cohen songs: "Going Home," "Amen," "Show Me the Place," and "Darkness." As for memorable lyrics (at least for me), consider these:

"Tell me again
When the victims are singing
And the Laws of Remorse are restored"

"Try me again
When the angels are panting
And scratching at the door to come in"

"Tell me again
When the filth of the butcher
Is washed in the blood of the lamb"

"The troubles came, I saved what I could save
A thread of light, a particle, a wave
But there were chains, so I hastened to behave
There were chains, so I loved you like a slave"

"I caught the darkness
It was drinking from your cup
I caught the darkness
Drinking from your cup
I said is this contagious?
You said just drink it up"

"You want to live where the suffering is
I want to get out of town
C'mon baby give me a kiss
Stop writing everything down"

After the "Old Ideas Tour" ended in December 2013, Cohen started work on the "Popular Problems" album. I believe that this album, like the one before it, was influenced a lot by Patrick Leonard. While Cohen could always churn out impressive lyrics, I theorize that he might have been having problems coming up with the tunes to go with them. (But I say this as someone who knows little about music and how it is made.) "Popular Problems" was released in September 2014.

To the writer, "Popular Problems" includes five songs that are on his favorites list: "Slow," "Almost Like the Blues," "A Street," "My Oh My," and "You Got me Singing." And thanks to Kelley Lynch, we were treated to these lyrics among others:

"All your moves are swift
All your turns are tight
Let me catch my breath
I thought we had all night"

"There is no God in Heaven
And there is no Hell below
So says the great professor
Of all there is to know
But I've had the invitation
That a sinner can't refuse
And it's almost like salvation
It's almost like the blues"

"And we who cried for mercy
From the bottom of the pit
Was our prayer so damn unworthy
The Son rejected it?"

"I see the Ghost of Culture
With numbers on his wrist
Salute some new conclusion
Which all of us have missed"

"You got me singing
Like a prisoner in a jail
You got me singing
Like my pardon's in the mail"

This brings us to the "You Want it Darker" album, released in October 2016 just weeks before Cohen's death. Everybody knows (where have I heard that before?) the sad and heroic story behind the making of "You Want it Darker," so it is not necessary to go into that here. To me, this album and the two preceding it (as well as the posthumous "Thanks for the Dance" which I view as a continuation of "You Want it Darker") are comparable to the "closing arguments" in a courtroom drama. The man has said what he had to say many times over many years (albeit with gradual evolution and refinements), these last albums, or inadvertent gifts, are meant to sum it all up. So what are his conclusions? Love is not easy, work is not easy. faith is not easy, life is not easy. But if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need (that phrase also sounds familiar).

"You Want it Darker" songs on my Cohen favorites list are: "You Want it Darker," "It Seemed the Better Way," and "Steer Your Way." Masterful lyrics include:

"Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came
You want it darker
We kill the flame"

"If the stars were all unpinned
And a cold and bitter wind
Swallowed up the world without a trace
Ah, well that's where I would be
What my life would seem to me
If I couldn't lift the veil and see your face"

"I wonder what it was
I wonder what it meant
First he touched on love
Then he touched on death

Sounded like the truth
Seemed the better way
Sounded like the truth
But it's not the truth today"

"Steer your way past the ruins of the Altar and the Mall
Steer your way through the fables of Creation and The Fall
Steer your way past the Palaces that rise above the rot
Year by year, month by month, day by day, thought by thought"

As mentioned above, Cohen's final album, "Thanks for the Dance," seems to me like a continuation of the Darker album, after all, he was working on some, or perhaps all, of these songs while "You Want it Darker" was being produced. "Thanks for the Dance" was released in November 2019, less than three months ago, and I have really not listened to it enough yet. But I already know that "Happens to the Heart" and "The Hills" are on my Cohen favorites list. Here are what I feel are three captivating lyrics from "Thanks for the Dance:"

"In the prison of the gifted
I was friendly with the guards
So I never had to witness
What happens to the heart"

"Her thighs they slipped away from me
Like schools of startled fish
Though I've forgotten half my life
I still remember this"

"I can't make the hills
The system is shot
I'm living on pills
For which I thank God
My page was too white
My ink was too thin
The day wouldn't write
What the night penciled in
But I know she is coming
And I know she will look
And that is the longing
And this is the hook"

These beautiful songs and lyrics, like the "World Tour" and "Old Ideas Tour" concerts referenced in Part 1 of this essay, are gifts that his fans would never have dreamed of as Cohen's career was winding down in the early 2000's. We have all indeed been blessed!

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

Post by vlcoats » Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:34 am

4!

What a great invitation to discuss the final albums. Thank you for your story (account, interpretation… etc.) of the final contributions of our hero/priest/leader after his being financially raped by Kelly. As someone who was not following him during his final years onstage and in the studio (remember that I didn’t even discover Leonard until after he was gone) the whole Kelly event seems irrelevant to me. His tours and final albums appear a natural progression of his talents, his teachings, and his legacy, just like his poetry is… because I feel it all would have happened anyway, so it is hard for me to see it as something that may have not happened if it were not for what that Kelly person did.

I want to find her unimportant. For example, let’s say that one of us… any of us… had something to share with the universe… something that would matter to other people and even change their lives… but let’s say we did not share it for whatever reason. Like maybe we were not inclined to share it, or we didn’t have the opportunity to share it. Would we not continue to have that thing regardless whether it was shared or not? And would we not continue to produce it and live it for our whole lives? Leonard had that something, but he was inclined to share it and had the opportunity to share it (which was all the better for us).

After reading your story though Curt, I think maybe you are right that we might not have had such easy access to his final contributions if it were not for the fact that he needed the money. Adam would have fulfilled Leonard’s destiny by recording it regardless, but getting it out to the rest of the world would have been difficult without the financial success of those final tours.

Still, I cannot bring myself to thank Kelly, even in a backhanded way (although Leonard himself alluded to doing that himself); because I am sure he would have continued to produce his something until his last breath. He had no other choice. In fact, even if the contributions of the final tours and albums had not occurred, everything that came before was enough.

Of course, the main point of this thread is talking about discovering Leonard's albums... and regarding
Thanks for the Dance, I liked that you gave particular mention to "The Night in Santiago", because I haven't heard as many kudos for this song as it deserves. To me, the soul of the song is in the very same lyrics that you quoted:
its4inthemorning wrote: "Her thighs they slipped away from me
Like schools of startled fish
Though I've forgotten half my life
I still remember this"
What a fine, fine account of one of those instances that live with us forever and is usually indescribable, but of course, as usual, Leonard describes it easily!

Vickie

edited for clarity and ease of reading
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Post by its4inthemorning » Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:58 am

Hi Vickie,

Yes maybe this will be the kickoff to discussing the final albums, especially "Thanks for the Dance."

Re Kelley Lynch, I never intended to give her any praise, or even notoriety, But I continue to feel that, absent her nefarious deeds, Leonard's fans might have seen more of his work in terms of poetry, but not music, and certainly not concerts. It is sort of like an old BBC television show with James Burke that was called "Connections." Each episode would begin with some event in the distant past, and step by step, show how it responsible for some modern innovation. In this case, Kelley Lynch's sticky fingers somehow caused what I term her inadvertent gifts to Leonard's fans.

I agree that "The Night in Santiago" has received very little mention or discussion. IMO the story must have its roots with some relationship that Leonard had years ago, some fond memories that never disappeared ("though I've forgotten half my life I still remember this.") I cannot recall ever reading that Leonard visited Chile, but there are probably other Santiagos. The lyrics I chose were among many that i enjoy. They say a good poet can create word-pictures, how about this one:

"The lights went out behind us
The fireflies undressed
The broken sidewalk ended
I touched her sleeping breasts
They opened to me urgently
Like lillies from the dead
Behind a fine embroidery
Her nipples rose like bread"

I think "The Night in Santiago" would have been improved if Leonard was able to record the lyrics to the final music, I am always amazed how good "Thanks for the Dance" turned out given the circumstances.

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

Post by LisaLCFan » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:00 am

its4inthemorning wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:58 am
...I agree that "The Night in Santiago" has received very little mention or discussion. IMO the story must have its roots with some relationship that Leonard had years ago, some fond memories that never disappeared ("though I've forgotten half my life I still remember this.") I cannot recall ever reading that Leonard visited Chile, but there are probably other Santiagos...

Just an FYI: Leonard's poem/song "The Night of Santiago" is actually based on a poem by Federico García Lorca, and fellow-member Hartmut has provided some informative links about the latter, including the actual poem in Spanish and in translation, here:

https://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic ... 93&t=38721.

To summarise what you'll find in some of those links, Lorca's poem was something of a typical "gypsy ballad", telling a story with elements of folklore. Considering Lorca's inclinations, it was unlikely that he was describing a personal encounter of his own, and since Leonard borrowed the poem from Lorca, although it sounds like the sort of encounter Leonard could have had, it probably was not. As in other poems that have provided a basis for a work by Leonard, he did change and embellish quite a few lines, as you will see if you read Lorca's poem.

Furthermore, the "Santiago" in the poem actually refers to Santiago de Compostela in Spain (not the Santiago in Chile), which has an annual "Dia de Santiago" ("Day of Santiago" in English, also known as St. James Festival/Feast of St James), held on the 25th of July each year. Presumably, "The Night of Santiago" is simply later in the day of that particular celebration.

Not related to any factual details about the song and its origins, I will add that I love it -- I love the way Leonard sings, I love the music and the rhythms, I find it to be infectious and very enjoyable! In fact, I could say something similar about the whole "Thanks for the Dance" album -- it is brilliant and an instant favourite!

I shall let you get back to your discussion, now. Cheers!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Post by its4inthemorning » Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:34 pm

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your post and the link to Hartmut's posts.

Your explanations about "The Night in Santiago" shed a lot of light on the background of the poem/song. For some reason I enjoy the song more in that context rather than viewing it as Leonard's remembrance of a personal conquest. In working on the poem/song, Leonard's mind would undoubtedly wander back to personal encounters with women, perhaps that is why he added, "Though I've forgotten half my life, I still remember this" which does not seem to appear in Lorca's poem.

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

Post by vlcoats » Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:26 pm

Yes, thank you for further info on The Night of Santiago!

I remember commenting to Dave when I first heard it that it was a very sexy song for a man in his eighties to write (and he has Leonard to thank, that I will expect no less from him when we are older, lol). I was about to look up how old Lorca was when he wrote the original, when I remembered that Lorca died a relatively young man. I looked it up anyway, and apparently he was 30 years old.

My favorite verse is the one with the fish which you have already highlighted, but my comment to Dave was prompted by the final line of this verse:

"Then I took off my necktie
And she took off her dress
My belt and pistol set aside
We tore away the rest."

I also find the music of this one to be very 'beguiling', a word I seldom use but one that fits well here.

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

Post by its4inthemorning » Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:57 pm

Poor Dave, to be expected to live up to the reputation of a notorious life-long womanizer--or to put it more delicately and in line with the theme of the song--aficionado of the fairer sex. I was browsing through the last section of "The Flame," and it struck me how many of Leonard's notebook entries had to do with his relationships with women. It's like he was unable or unwilling to ever forgot about any encounter.

Oh, I should apologize for my references to "Night in Santiago" rather than "Night of Santiago," just more proof that I have not listened to the album enough yet.

Not to put Santiago aside, but I have come to like "Puppets" a lot. I guess it barely qualifies as a song as opposed to a poetry reading since the music is so minimal. But that minimal music is just perfect. I looked in Wikipedia to find out more about the music, and see that they list all the musicians and which songs they participated in, something that I do not recall seeing on Wikipedia for other albums. Adam is credited with synthesizer on "Puppets," so I suppose that is the source of the beautiful, but eerie, gong sounds. Wikipedia also says that the Shaar Hashomayim Men's Choir is featured in "Puppets" which is nice little factoid. I get the sense that "Puppets" is portraying earth's mortals as puppets who really have no control over anything, and God as the puppeteer orchestrating events from above. Of course, this begs the question, why would God allow atrocities such as the Holocaust to happen? The old phrase, "God works in strange ways" doesn't really cut it. at least for me. Leonard might have an answer, but I suppose he would say we need to figure it out for ourselves.

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

Post by LisaLCFan » Mon Feb 10, 2020 7:24 pm

its4inthemorning wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:57 pm
..."why would God allow atrocities such as the Holocaust to happen?"...

Ah, yes, the eternal "Problem of Evil" for those who choose to believe in an omnipotent, benevolent, and omniscient God. There is, of course, no answer to this question, at least not one that will satisfy everybody. Possible options: a) god is evil (i.e., not benevolent); b) god is incompetent (i.e., not omnipotent nor omniscient); c) god is psychotic; or, d) there is no god. Many choose "d", because it explains things rather well and quite simply, without raising endless questions that cannot be answered. Dear old William of Ockham favoured simple explanations for things, those that did not involve making multiple assumptions. It is perhaps a bit ironic that William used his reasoning (which is now referred to as "Occam's Razor") to explain the existence of divine miracles, without apparently realising that an even simpler explanation is that there is no god.

Of course, the universe is a very complex place, and so there really is no persuasive reason to believe that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one -- it may well be that the most complicated explanations get closer to the truth. I doubt if I'll ever know, because, even if I do happen to stumble upon "the truth", I have no way of knowing it -- it would likely seem, to me, to be just one more possible answer. Some people are okay with not knowing, some aren't. I'm in the former group -- accepting "not knowing" these things as an inevitability of our existence makes life much more peaceful.

Regards!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Post by lschwart » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:30 pm

LisaLCFan wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 7:24 pm
its4inthemorning wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:57 pm
..."why would God allow atrocities such as the Holocaust to happen?"...

Ah, yes, the eternal "Problem of Evil" for those who choose to believe in an omnipotent, benevolent, and omniscient God. There is, of course, no answer to this question, at least not one that will satisfy everybody. Possible options: a) god is evil (i.e., not benevolent); b) god is incompetent (i.e., not omnipotent nor omniscient); c) god is psychotic; or, d) there is no god. Many choose "d", because it explains things rather well and quite simply, without raising endless questions that cannot be answered. Dear old William of Ockham favoured simple explanations for things, those that did not involve making multiple assumptions. It is perhaps a bit ironic that William used his reasoning (which is now referred to as "Occam's Razor") to explain the existence of divine miracles, without apparently realising that an even simpler explanation is that there is no god.

Of course, the universe is a very complex place, and so there really is no persuasive reason to believe that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one -- it may well be that the most complicated explanations get closer to the truth. I doubt if I'll ever know, because, even if I do happen to stumble upon "the truth", I have no way of knowing it -- it would likely seem, to me, to be just one more possible answer. Some people are okay with not knowing, some aren't. I'm in the former group -- accepting "not knowing" these things as an inevitability of our existence makes life much more peaceful.

Regards!
I have no objection at all to the general drift of what you're saying, but I did want to note that there are a few other possible options in response to the "problem of evil in a universe created by a benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient God." The really important one you leave out is often referred to as "the free will" solution. God, in his goodness, although it doesn't always feel like goodness to his creatures, chooses not to exercise his omnipotence in regards to his creatures' wills, allowing them to commit evil and to live in an imperfect and dangerous world. This also includes the idea that even God cannot overrule the logic that he himself created, so he can't grant free will without that entailing suffering. As Cohen put it in song: he "meant it as a kind of trial."

Some versions of this response curtail God's omniscience, others preserve it one way or another (some of them in ways that suggest what you call "incompetence," others in ways that redefine what's knowable, even by God, again by thinking about what could be knowable in a universe inhabited by free creatures, and one in which certain processes are allowed to decay into chaotic disorder--what Cohen called, in another song, "formless circumstance").

Of course, as you say, this response won't be any more satisfying to everyone than the others you list, but it's a very widely embraced approach in the various Abrahamic traditions.

Louis
Louis Schwartz

"The sea so deep and blind/ The sun, the wild regret/ The club, the wheel, the mind,/ O love, aren't you tired yet?" Leonard Cohen, "The Faith."

https://english.richmond.edu/faculty/lschwart/

https://www.facebook.com/mysonthedoctorRVA/

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

Post by LisaLCFan » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:47 pm

lschwart wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:30 pm
...there are a few other possible options in response to the "problem of evil in a universe created by a benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient God." The really important one you leave out is often referred to as "the free will" solution. God, in his goodness, although it doesn't always feel like goodness to his creatures, chooses not to exercise his omnipotence in regards to his creatures' wills, allowing them to commit evil and to live in an imperfect and dangerous world. This also includes the idea that even God cannot overrule the logic that he himself created, so he can't grant free will without that entailing suffering. As Cohen put it in song: he "meant it as a kind of trial."

Hi Louis! Thanks for the thoughtful response, very nice of you to take the time. I am, of course, aware of that "possible option" (I didn't say that my list was exhaustive ;-) ), as well as the fact that an awful lot of people seem to believe it. However, I shall be polite and refrain from saying exactly what I think of it!

As John Lennon put it in song: "Whatever gets you thru the night"! Cheers!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Post by lschwart » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:55 am

LisaLCFan wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:47 pm
Hi Louis! Thanks for the thoughtful response, very nice of you to take the time. I am, of course, aware of that "possible option" (I didn't say that my list was exhaustive ;-) ), as well as the fact that an awful lot of people seem to believe it. However, I shall be polite and refrain from saying exactly what I think of it!

As John Lennon put it in song: "Whatever gets you thru the night"! Cheers!
You're welcome. And refraining is, indeed probably best, since this isn't the place for getting into arguments about things like that. And it's not an option I'd feel obligated to defend, in any case, although it does have some virtues for getting through the night with some sense that the night has some meaning. Not that there aren't, of course, lots of other ways to do that--some involving God, others not.

Louis
Last edited by lschwart on Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Louis Schwartz

"The sea so deep and blind/ The sun, the wild regret/ The club, the wheel, the mind,/ O love, aren't you tired yet?" Leonard Cohen, "The Faith."

https://english.richmond.edu/faculty/lschwart/

https://www.facebook.com/mysonthedoctorRVA/

https://www.youtube.com/user/mysonthedr
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AlanM
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Post by AlanM » Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:52 am

I am heading back to the original intention of this thread, i.e. what Leonard's albums mean to me as a contributor to the thread, rather than what Leonard intended a meaning (or multiple meanings) to be.
In so doing, I am not criticising any sidetracks that have arisen. I have gone down quite a few side tracks in the past, and I am likely to do so in the future.

The Album: Thanks For The Dance.
I was delighted but a bit apprehensive when I heard that the work was in progress. Would it be up to the standard of so many of Leonard's previous albums, especial the "final" trilogy?
If the music was added to the lyrics, sung or spoken, how would that work out?

I listened briefly to the pre-release music and was very happy with what I heard.
I read the lyrics that were published prior to the release of the album.
When my CD was delivered, I resisted the temptation to listen to it straight away. I held off until the evening as I firmly believe it is best to listen to Leonard in the dark when my mind can absorb the words and music, but especially Leonard's hypnotic voice.
The words, as delivered by Leonard, "got" me straight away, but initially I was a bit less certain about the music.
However, after listening many times, I am now extremely happy with the magic that Adam and his colleagues have added to the recording. They have done a magnificent job and certainly to me it does not seem to be a "tacked on after-thought".

I really love this album and it is a valid 4th part of the final trilogy of studio albums.

I will comment on the individual tracks at a later date.

Alan
Too much Leonard Cohen is never enough.
London 1972, Adelaide 1980, 1985, 2009
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