Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

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

Postby vlcoats » Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:50 pm

Thank you for your quick response 4!! I was hoping to hear back soon because we are packing and leaving bright and early for the wedding, and yes that's an excellent idea to add You've Got Me Singing to the music played at the reception. Although I was shot down in using a Leonard song for the mother and son dance, I will ask for a couple Leonard songs as a personal request.

Thank you for for the compliment (one which B4 certainly deserves), but I feel plain talk with nothing but the facts can sometimes be the most eloquent of all.

Don't blame you for listening so much to Popular Problems! I have heard it four times myself since yesterday. I will guess that B4 and others are listening too.

Vickie
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:27 am

Vickie, I hope the wedding went well and you managed to include some LC songs somewhere on the day and also found a closet Cohen friend from Canada or elsewhere!
As you were seasonally speaking, Fall (Autumn here) is my favourite time of the year too and I was born the day after the last day of autumn! Thank you for saying I’ve made your alpha LC journey enjoyable. Like I've said previously, I have received more than I’ve given!

4, You know I always enjoy what you write as I can tell it comes from the heart! Over these last few months you have had me laughing out loud as well! And thanks for the belated Australia Day greeting!

Vickie,
I probably should give you some space and time and I’m not trying to push things along so please don’t feel pressured into listening to or talking about this album – just go at your own comfortable speed. In fact I don’t want to get to the end but I feel I have to post this now while I’m still a little brave about it all.

It’s difficult to write about this album knowing now that it was his last and the extreme efforts and challenging conditions under which it was produced – the CD liner notes mention some significant details. I will try not to let my emotions about everything get in the way of how I feel about the songs .... but of course it seems that inept concept is as inseparable now as it always was!

I know I’ve posted this before but it simply has to be shown here too –
When Leonard was only a few months away from death, he spoke to Yoshin David Radin who asked him why he was using the last ounces of his energy to produce yet another CD.

LC said: “There are hundreds of thousands of people in this world who have been so kind as to listen to my music and this is my last chance to thank them.”

Radin said: “Who says something like that? Only someone who had himself poured his heart into countless poems and songs and was so touched that his heart had been received — and that was at the core of the Leonard Cohen sangha, the community of those who could laugh and cry together with him.”
I say: Ah, who does say that?....only someone called Leonard Cohen ....

I doubt that anyone can listen to this album without a tear in your eye. Every song resonates with so much feeling and has its own special place here. All the words to all of the songs are Leonard’s. There are so many meaningful lines in each and every song. Knowing you’re going would surely be a major factor! And he flat out tells us that he’s leaving the table and what a way to do it! But guess what - I feel he is still leaning across the old table with that little boy crooked smile, a twinkle in his eye and raising a glass to all of us!

About some songs - I was absolutely drawn to Treaty and String Reprise/Treaty from the first moment I heard them and they still are special to me. If I Didn’t Have Your Love tugs at my heart strings for sure. It Seemed The Better Way is another favourite. The words to it with the exception of a few lines and words are similar to a poem of the same name from Book of Longing 2006. Travelling Light has a few verses inspired by a poem called Travelling Light 31# from the same poetry book. Steer Your Way was first published listed as a poem in The New Yorker June 2016, before the album was released in October. The last verse (no chorus) from You Want It Darker was featured on an episode of Peaky Binders BBC TV show again in August just before the album was released in October. Its chorus, “Hineni Hineni, I’m ready, my Lord”, says exactly what I think Leonard meant to say as the last words.

Back to Treaty, before I listened to it I saw some lyrics to it online and knew I had heard some very similar words to them previously from Diamonds In The Mine sung in concerts over 32 years ago. As he is wont to do, Leonard has used those concert lines and recycled them in this song. There are some slight variations between concerts but so far these lines appear in my book like this:

(Wiesbaden 2nd Feb, Birmingham 28th Feb & Dublin (1) 2nd March 1985)
I see you changed the water into wine
That was a very pretty trick to do
I sit at your table every night
Baby, I just can't get drunk with you

And there are no letters in the mailbox...

(Basel 5th, Vienna 6th & 7th, Munich 9th, Boblington 10th March 1985)
I haven’t said a word since you’ve been gone
That any liar couldn’t say as well
I can’t believe the static coming on
You were my ground, you were my aerial

And there are no letters in the mail box...
Vickie wrote: I really do appreciate his integrity. I know he worked hard at it and struggled with it often, but in the end he had something he could stand by, and us with him. Obviously it was worth it to him, but I wonder if he knew that it was all worth it in our eyes too.
Vickie, I think your last phrase above is answered by Leonard’s response in red type to Radin’s question to him in the first quote at the start of this post. And your first sentence above about Leonard’s integrity reminded me of part of his quote below.

I’m generalising now but even though Leonard spoke these words below early in his singing career they have always been relative to him over the years and are still pertinent to him now in this last album and they will be so forever:
“It’s possible that sincerity might be confused with many things, especially in the world of music, where so many commercial currents run. In any case, it’s only a question of coloring. My music is a reflection of my personality, and my personality is a reflection of all that surrounds me. For me, seeing all of this as my work, the most important thing is to be worthy. So, I treat this world that surrounds me with the integrity and dignity necessary to bring it, through me, to everyone else. After that, it is the spiritual state of each person that determines how it will affect her or him. A person could think that I or my songs are sad because of that person’s own spiritual state, because they are not affected by the chaotic emotions that surround us, because they are living in another state, and I don’t mean to say that that state is more superficial or ordinary, on the contrary, it is the way of being forged by each individual, in which they live. But their power to understand will be affected by what they feel, and by the meaning they give to things. My songs are life and the facts of each day, and I am my songs”.
1974 LC interview by Jordi Sierra I Fabra
1978 published in Leonard Cohen by Alberto Manzano

You Want It Darker album was to be released 21st September on the day Leonard turned 82 years but it was delayed a month until 21st October and as fate would have it, just over two weeks later he passed away on 7th November 2016.

And now because I’m a Gemini and being of two minds; against my better judgement I’m going to kneel in the corner of my room and just for a moment silently weep .... I didn't make it to the corner....

NEXT DAY EDIT:
My better judgement has gently reminded me of the concept of acceptance. It also assures me that we haven't heard the last word from LC and there is more music, songs, words, poems to come. And who am I to doubt that because my better judgement is always right :)
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:51 pm

Re more music, songs, poems to come....

I am hoping that Adam, along with some of Leonard's musicians, Sharon, and Patrick Leonard, can turn some of the work that Leonard could not bring to completion into one or more CDs in the future. That would be an awesome (a word I use maybe once a year) tribute to Leonard, and one that I am sure would be done in a manner that would please him. It would almost be crime if this does not happen.

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 LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL 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 Jul 12, 2017 7:16 am

B4real wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:27 am
Vickie, I hope the wedding went well and you managed to include some LC songs somewhere on the day and also found a closet Cohen friend from Canada or elsewhere!
Nick and me (725x532).jpg
Mother and Son dance
Well, I didn't get to dance with him to Leonard Cohen, but we did have our dance, so I posted a picture for you here!! We are well matched in size (I am 5'2") and spirit (Giants, lol!) ... I was thankful for waterproof mascara! I have one cousin from Canada who had heard of LC ...and no Leonard songs were included in the DJ list although the bride herself had requested 3 of them. Apparently the DJ service had a switch at the last minute and several other requested songs were not included either.... but it was a beautiful wedding!
We are exhausted and glad to be home!... I will comment on your wonderful posts tomorrow. Thank you so much for your thoughts, they are wonderful...both of you!!
Vickie
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:42 pm

I hope you both are right, and there will be more to come...

Thank you B4 for your thoughts on You Want it Darker. It is obvious that they did not come easy for you. I will look over the comments on your favorite songs again after I have heard it. Like with so many of his other albums, but for far different reasons, I am filled with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation on the edge of opening this final CD, only this time it is almost overwhelming, and I don't know if I am ready.

I loved the quote you shared of Leonard regarding integrity. Especially the words on how a person's state of mind being the determining factor in their interpretation of his words and music. I have never much agreed with those who think his work is depressing. Some songs might be melancholy maybe, but in that sweet way, that is actually uplifting in its effect on you. But I like that he wasn't judgemental towards anyone who thought his songs were sad.

So... I am going to open this last CD now and have a look. I will write again when I have had a listen. Thank you for your support... I feel that you will be here with me when I am ready to play it.

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

Postby B4real » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:31 am

Hi Vickie,
Just a short note to say thanks for the great photos! You both look like you are having a wonderful time!
And thank you again for your complimentary words!

Btw - I can hear you listening to the album :)
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:03 pm

I am writing to apologize and say that I haven't been able to listen to #13 yet. You have all been so patient, and I can only guess that you might be ready for this journey to be over, so I hope you understand.

I tried for a bit to listen to it yesterday but only got part way through the first track, due mostly to interruptions but also to my own stubbornness. The interruptions were from my nephew who is here for one more week. We are taking him to Glacier National Park next Saturday for a couple days and then taking him back home. I hope you won’t mind these details I am going to share. His home life is negligent and has even been abusive. Yes, I have spoken to children’s advocates and even the police in Montana, and the father is now on probation, but you would be surprised how difficult it is to remove a child from the home (at least in this country). His mother (my niece... he is actually my grand-nephew) passed away about 5 years ago under somewhat dubious circumstances, and his father has remarried. Anyway, all of this has made him understandably needy at times, especially now with his imminent return to Montana. I am sure he is conflicted because he misses his home, but on the other hand he likes it here. Long story short, after he requested my attention 3 times during the first song, I have decided to wait until he is back home before listening to You Want it Darker. I could try listening in the early morning, but that is when I also try to accomplish other chores that are not easy to do with distractions, and (this is where the stubbornness comes in) I really do want to focus when I listen to this CD. At least these are the excuses I am giving myself, although I realize I may subconsciously be dragging this out just because I don’t want it to reach the end of Introduction to Leonard Cohen 101.

After I do finally listen to this last studio album, I am going to allow myself to really explore the rest of the forum and live albums and everything else. Although I am still such a new fan, I feel I will have finally earned that right.

This whole journey has really affected my life. Luckily, my husband has been very understanding about how focused I have become. At first, he teased me for taking it all so “seriously”, asking me things like, “is Leonard Cohen ALL you are going to listen to ever again?” Now, he has just accepted it as a part of who I am.

Yesterday, after realizing success in gaining my attention, my nephew asked me what my favorite Leonard song was. Although a few months ago, without hesitation, I would have said The Stranger Song, I realized that I couldn’t come close to answering that question with such conviction any longer; so many of his songs have come to mean so much to me. It seems that the more I listen and the more I learn from LC and about him, the more I want of him. That must have been exhausting for him, everyone always wanting more. Luckily, he left behind so much that I feel I can never reach the end, or at least that I will never understand it all. Likewise, I don’t think I will ever be able to answer which song is my favorite or even which album for that matter. By the way, it still cracks me up that my nephew calls him “Leonard”, using only his first name so easily, as if he is a well-known family friend around here, which I guess in a way he is.

Thanks again for your patience with me, and sorry for all of the personal details about my family.
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:36 pm

Nothing wrong with putting off You Like It Darker (you said #13, but I think you meant #14). When you get to it, it will be a bittersweet experience. My first listens were before Leonard passed away, and while it conveyed a sense of profundity and importance, they were nothing compared with listening after he was gone. You should reread B4's recent post about Darker (the quoted portion where some is in red) before listening. While Darker technically represents Leonard's final comments, it also begs the serious listener (silly adjective, all LC fans are serious listeners) to go back to the beginning of his work and start again. Almost like a book (nonfiction rather than fiction) about a subject of keen interest where you casually go through it to see what's in store for you, and then go back and carefully read it. I wish "You Got Me Singing" was the final track on Darker, it would be the perfect ending to his last album.

Very caring and unselfish to try to add appropriate dimensions to your nephews life. I suppose almost everyone knows a younger soul or two who may be silently crying out for help and love, but few ever actually reach out.

Thanks for the wedding photos, seems like you were having a good time sans Leonard. And a very attractive outfit as well.

Very wet spring and so far, summer, so we are constantly fighting the weeds. Supposedly all living things have a purpose, but what exactly is the purpose of thistle?

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 LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:17 pm

its4inthemorning wrote: Supposedly all living things have a purpose, but what exactly is the purpose of thistle?
From the point of view of this question, I'd distinguish two categories of thistles: those whose purpose it is to be food for others (with the sub-category of artichokes as food for humans), and those whose purpose it is to teach humans purposelessness...

its4inthemorning wrote: Almost like a book [...] about a subject of keen interest where you casually go through it to see what's in store for you, and then go back and carefully read it.
I couldn't agree more.

Vickie, you are still in the process of opening a door. Behind that door, with luck, you might discover a land where a master of the art has sown karma seeds into the wind.
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:19 pm

Jean... I love that- "sown karma seeds into the wind". (Edited to fix my misquote.. sorry, distracted as I said..) And how right you are about the opening of the door. It describes where I am. Just opening it, barely able to look through it, and certainly not going over the threshold yet or even knowing if it it is going in or going out... just glad to stand there and listen! ;-)

And for the thistle question 4, I think Jean is right in her answer there too, although to me at least there is always the purpose you can see in the picture I took after reading your post.
Thistle.JPG
Thistle.JPG (39.09 KiB) Viewed 636 times
They are some of the thistles we have left on the edge of the pasture for the quail and bunnies to hide in. I hate them for the work they cause me and love them for their purple blossoms. (Plus they remind me of the movie Braveheart!)

And sorry about getting the album number wrong! (13 instead of 14) I should know better, since I have been counting them as I go. No excuse of course but for that I am human, although I hate being found out to be such an ordinary one at times, haha!

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

Postby vlcoats » Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:57 am

Hello again!

Still waiting to listen to #14 (thank you 4!) until next week, but I was reading the Prophet of the Heart bio on the way to Glacier today and wanted to share something (yes, I am still having difficulties with finishing this book.... if only I were more intellectual. Argh!). Anyway I read something that reminded me of our conversation on cutting open the blackbird's throat. The authors said LC's comments when asked about the background and meaning of his songs reminded them of Robert Browning's response when someone asked him to explain his own verse. He said, "When I wrote those lines, two people knew what they meant: G-d and Robert Browning....Now only G-d knows." I just loved that quote, and I wondered if Leonard ever heard it and if he did, if it made him smile like it did me?

Just wanted to let you know I am still here. It has been a treat to listen to my entire catalog of LC up to this point a few times over while I am waiting. Even though I think I know every song so well, I keep finding out that I really don't. It's fun!

Not sure if any of you have been to Glacier National Park, but this is our first trip. It's gorgeous so far and quieter than some of the other parks we have been to. We will go further into it tomorriw, but already it is my new favorite!

Thanks!
Vickie
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way ... Discovering Leonard's Albums. continued...

Postby vlcoats » Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:05 am

AlanM post wrote: Try listening in the dark.......
Let your mind wander wherever it will, don't concentrate too much on the lyrics initially, you will absorb them.
Thank you again Alan... Lately I have found out that you are right about not only the dark part, but especially the not concentrating part.
;-)
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:04 pm

Vickie, we've been worried sick that the grizzlies got you in Glacier Park! I think this has been the longest lull on this thread since it started.

As I am sure most everybody knows, when you play a video on youtube, there is a comments section below. Usually I ignore the comments, but recently I have taken to reading some of them as the song plays. It is quite remarkable how many people from all over the world took the time to register comments, not only about the particular song playing, but about the man himself and how he affected them. Check the comments out next time you play a youtube video. Liked one I saw today (written after Leonard's death), it said "Heaven's never dead any more on Saturday nights."

Browning's comment about the meaning of his works was clever. Wish I would have known about it years ago so I could have cited it in English class when asked to interpret some bit of literature whose meaning escaped my immature brain. (Last sentence is not meant to imply my brain has, or ever will, attain a fully acceptable level of maturity.)

Finally, thank you Jean and Vickie for educating me about the worth of thistle. Had no idea about the artichoke connection, but should have realized that any plant uncomfortable to touch would obviously provide cover for small mammals and birds. Speaking of small mammals, a few days ago I walked out to our vegetable garden (only about fifty feet from the house) and saw two very small fawns curled up on the lawn sleeping like puppies. Wish I could have taken a picture.

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 LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby AlanM » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:26 am

Hi Vicky,
Glad you have seen the light about listening in the dark!
Sometimes I listen to all the albums in chronological order, but lately I have been listening to just the 3 most recent CDs on repeat.
My subconscious and I were more familiar with the earlier albums and of course all those "older" songs we were blessed with during the concerts, and I felt that the newer songs were not yet old friends. By treating these albums as a trilogy, I am absorbing the lyrics and music and love every song.

Best wishes,

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

Postby B4real » Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:17 am

Hi Vickie,
It sounds like you are having a wonderful time on your holidays!
If your ears have been burning you must know that 4 and I have been thinking about you too :)
Vickie wrote: Just wanted to let you know I am still here. It has been a treat to listen to my entire catalog of LC up to this point a few times over while I am waiting. Even though I think I know every song so well, I keep finding out that I really don't. It's fun!
I think you'll find it’s most timely and beneficial to re-listen to the previous albums ..... and with excellent advice from Alan :D

With reading Prophet of the Heart, it does have a formal style of writing and not the easy flow of Sylvie’s book so it’s not you. Maybe being the first bio has something to do with it too! And I’d forgotten that pertinent quote, so thanks!

btw - since my DNA results I have had the urge to continue my family tree research and I'm sitting here with my mouth constantly opening with what I've been finding! I've traced and verified from considerable sources a line back to the 800's so far and just let me say you really never know where you come from! I will say that in this line some of my ancestors are historically significant and so much more.... and I'm just simply blown away :shock:

Maybe I'll find the peasant farmers in another line .... I reckon they'll be there .... besides, it's good to have a well balanced DNA ;-)
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal

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