My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Tributes & covers; Leonard's songs on the soundtracks and TV
John Etherington
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My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Postby John Etherington » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:32 pm

About 30 years ago I imagined a Leonard Cohen tribute event in London. My fantasy was to have it at the ICA in Pall Mall, where Leonard gave a poetry reading on the day after his first London concert, and to ask Julie Felix and Felicity Buirski to perform. Miraculously, this vision manifested earlier this year when the concert at St James Church Piccadilly took place. It was in close walking distance of the ICA and featured the two aforementioned ladies. With this in mind here's my vision of a "Songs of Leonard Cohen" concert featuring musicians who have played with Leonard, or recorded original tribute songs by or about him. Here's a prototype list of the artists who might perform, and some of the songs that they might sing. First, the ladies:

Judy Collins: Suzanne, Sisters of Mercy, Priests.

Joni Mitchell (if she's not retired) Rainy Night House, The Priest - from "Ladies of the Canyon" (both about LC).

Julie Felix: Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye, Bird on the Wire, Beside the Still Fjord (about Marianne and Leonard).

Jennifer Warnes: Famous Blue Raincoat, Song of Bernadette, Joan of Arc

Anjani Thomas: Nightingale, Crazy to Love You

Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen: Anthem

Sharon Robinson: Alexandra Leaving, Boogie Street

The Webb Sisters: If it Be Your Will, Coming Back to You

Felicity Buirski, Come to Me Darling, Four O'Clock in America (both about Leonard), The Window (which she played live in the Nineties, and which Leonard wrote when he was seeing her).

The Webb Sisters: If it Be Your Will, Coming Back to You

NEeMA: Lost in LA (from her album produced by Leonard)

First Aid Kit - You Want it Darker (their cover version from the Swedish LC tribute concert is excellent)

John Cale: Hallelujah - The first and best cover of the song.

Adam Cohen - So Long Marianne, Like a Man (obviously inspired by his father)

Nick Cave: Diamonds in the Mind (from the "I Came So Far for Beauty" tribute, as were the next two).

Jarvis Cocker - I Can't Forget

Rufus Wainwright: Chelsea Hotel No. 2

The house band would be Leonard's last touring band, and the concert would be at the Royal Albert Hall.

Hopefully this will manifest while all of the above are alive and well... Over to the universe!
Last edited by John Etherington on Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
John Etherington
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Re: My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Postby John Etherington » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:51 am

While I think of it, I'll add First Aid Kit to the wish list for my dream Leonard tribute concert! :)
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musicmania
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Re: My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Postby musicmania » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:57 pm

Great idea. Was Bob Dylan not the first to cover Hallelujah?
Personally I'd have KD Lang sing that song.
2009 Dublin 2010 Lissadell Katowice LV x2 2012 Ghent x2 Dublin x4 Montreal x2 Toronto x2 2013 New York x2 Brussels Dublin x2

Gwen's Leonard Cohen Journey: http://myleonardcohenjourney.wordpress.com/

"I did my best, it wasn't much"
John Etherington
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Re: My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Postby John Etherington » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:21 pm

Gwen - Dylan might have sung (or croaked :)) "Hallelujah" first, but John Cale was the first major artist to record it. I believe that K.D. Lang sang it at the Montreal bash. Personally, I thought her version was one too many.
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musicmania
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Re: My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Postby musicmania » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:44 pm

I've considered most, if not all the subsequent covers to be covers of John Cale's version. None remotely like Leonard, but for that I am grateful.

I do like Jeff Buckley's though. It was his that introduced me to Leonard. That moment I first heard it forever etched in my soul. An immediate need to discover the songs creator. The rest, they say, is history.
2009 Dublin 2010 Lissadell Katowice LV x2 2012 Ghent x2 Dublin x4 Montreal x2 Toronto x2 2013 New York x2 Brussels Dublin x2

Gwen's Leonard Cohen Journey: http://myleonardcohenjourney.wordpress.com/

"I did my best, it wasn't much"
Vicomte
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Re: My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Postby Vicomte » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:04 pm

Personally I cringe at 99% of covers and meetings where Cohen's songs are being sung by others. I would rather play a DVD of Leonard's than go and watch any show where performers pay homage to a song they can't get close to the original. Not awful of course but just not the same by a mile. No one sounds or covers his songs like Leonard himself obviously but to play a small part in this thread "If it be thy will" only has one person to me that I think understands and had the same feeling for the song and that is, Antony Hegarty (now Anohni).

By the way MM, many French believe Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah was written by him as well.
I guess it all started for me sometime around Christmas 1967 and now, goodness me, it's.........2017 and fifty years later.
No one ever listens to me. I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record.
Neil from The Young Ones
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musicmania
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Re: My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Postby musicmania » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:49 am

Vicomte wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:04 pm

By the way MM, many French believe Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah was written by him as well.
Well I prefer that to the people who think it was written for Alexandra Burke on the X Factor :roll:

I know I was late coming to Leonard, due to being born too late, but I am forever grateful I discovered him before that abomination. My outrage at the time was palpable!

I must confess at being in a minority who cannot stand Antony Hegarty (now Anohni) singing If It Be Your Will. For me Leonard and The Webb Sisters are the only ones that can sing that song.
2009 Dublin 2010 Lissadell Katowice LV x2 2012 Ghent x2 Dublin x4 Montreal x2 Toronto x2 2013 New York x2 Brussels Dublin x2

Gwen's Leonard Cohen Journey: http://myleonardcohenjourney.wordpress.com/

"I did my best, it wasn't much"
John Etherington
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Re: My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Postby John Etherington » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:38 am

Vicomte - As I'm sure you know, I've never been a great fan of Leonard covers. There were few recorded covers that I appreciated in Leonard's lifetime, but I thought Cale's "Hallelujah" was excellent, as was The Webb Sister's "If it Be Your Will". Also, I thought that Anjani's "Nightingale" and Sharon Robinson's "Alexandra Leaving" even had the edge on the originals. I personally wasn't so keen on Anthony Hegarty's cover. That said, tribute concerts have their place, and it's good that Leonard songs continue to be sung, if they can be sung well.

Gwen - Have you heard First Aid Kit's version of "If it Be Your Will"? It's at approximately 35 minutes of the Swedish Leonard tribute concert. They've given it their own unique treatment, with a very soulful ending. Furthermore, the version of "You Want it Darker", which precedes it, is absolutely stunning.
Vicomte
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Re: My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Postby Vicomte » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:22 am

John, apologies, I totally forgot Sharon and "Alexandra Leaving" it is absolutely superb. I agree about tributes have to be sung well but thus far I have not been impressed. We will have to agree to disagree about Antony, his feelings for the song just hits the spot. We have, I think talked on other threads and although the Webb Sisters performed admirably during the "come back years" myself and wife being old school, so originally we never thought Jennifer Warnes and Sharon Robinson would be bettered as backing singers on any tour. And then '88-'93 along came Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen and blew us away! I can even recall Laura Branigan and Donna Washburn (who sadly passed away recently) way back And ever further back, again Donna Washburn, Corlynn Hanney, Aileen Fowler and Susan Musmanno. So to my ear, I am sorry as I know you have supported the Webb Sisters, I do think the best backing singers were on Leonard's previous tours.

As we know music is for the individual to choose and no one is ever correct, so after 50 years I am as saddened as anyone else that we will never see Leonard play live again, good for the pocket, sad for the soul. Think I'll put a DVD on....
I guess it all started for me sometime around Christmas 1967 and now, goodness me, it's.........2017 and fifty years later.
No one ever listens to me. I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record.
Neil from The Young Ones
UrPal
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Re: My Dream "Songs of Leonard Cohen" Concert

Postby UrPal » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:21 am

On the subject of tributes and covers, I came across this on Youtube last night. A good song choice I thought....... https://youtu.be/4F5JZTNmITs

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