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

Postby B4real » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:01 pm

Seeing that no one has answered the call to talk about the early concerts I thought I'd post this link to the first concert in 2008 at Fredericton that we were recently discussing: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=11071
I read through it all and it's full of anticipation and finally reports from the concert. I was sad to see Arlene had the last post there. I miss her and her comments.... Serendipitously, she absolutely loved the song we are discussing now, Joan Of Arc so here is her video of it as a tour debut at Portland 2012 - Thank you so much, Arlene! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9L7uS7RcXQ

And now on with this wonderful song, Joan Of Arc -
If you have LC’s first album Songs Of Leonard Cohen the back cover of it has an image that looks like Joan of Arc burning in the fire and you might think it could easily suit the third album Songs Of Love And Hate where this song comes. I suspect it was a subliminal additional seed for the song from the time of LC’s first album and earlier. In an interview with Jack Hafferkamp in Rolling Stone 4th Feb 1971 Leonard explains that "this is a Mexican religious picture called 'Anima Sola' the lonely spirit of the lonely soul. It is the triumph of the spirit over matter, the spirit being that beautiful woman breaking out of the chains and the fire and prison".

Here are some words Leonard has said about Joan Of Arc from a Pacifica Radio interview with Kathleen Kendel, WBAI Radio, New York City on 4th Dec 1974 -
KK: I had an impassioned argument with a woman who said that Joan Of Arc was a sexist song.
LC: It might be but I think it’s on the side of women. But more accurately I think it’s just a song about the total gift, of total giving and the total consummation of the spirit in that kind of experience. It takes in the whole shot to be man and woman.

Some more words from LC during concerts in the 1970’s -
This is a song called "The Marriage of Joan Of Arc".
A song that I wrote for a brave woman.
Now a song about a woman that has haunted me for a long time.
This song was written for a German girl (it was Nico) I used to know. She's a great singer, I love her songs. I recently read an interview where she was asked about me and my work. And she said, "I was completely unnecessary". Anyhow; I hope she's not here. This song came through her.

You’ve already given some alternate lyrics for Joan of Arc and here are some more -
And/who are you? she sternly spoke
To the/this voice beneath the smoke...
And no man to get her through this dark, this very ugly night...
And saying this she climbed right/inside
For/to be his one, for/to be his only/virgin bride...
Such a cold very lonesome heroine...
Oh, fire make your body cold
when I give you mine to hold...
If she was fire, oh he must be wood...
But must it come so cruel, and so why can’t it be bright?

These next words are sung on the album Cohen Live 1994 from the concert in Toronto 17th June 1993 -
No man to get her through this dark, this very smoky night...
Well, I'm glad to hear, to hear you talk this way
You see, I've watched you riding almost every single day...
"And I love your solitude, and oh, how I love your sense of pride”...
It was deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of our Joan of Arc,
and high above all of these assembled wedding guests
he hung the ashes of her very lovely wedding dress...
It was deep, deep into his fiery heart
That he took the dust of our precious Joan of Arc...

Btw - to me these lines below always conjure up an image of a pregnant unmarried woman wanting to be wed :)
“a wedding dress or something white
to wear upon my swollen appetite”.
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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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:32 pm

B4real wrote:Btw - to me these lines below always conjure up an image of a pregnant unmarried woman wanting to be wed :)
“a wedding dress or something white
to wear upon my swollen appetite”.
Same here. I have also equated her appetite to her burning desires, sort of in the way that that Leonard often used the word appetite to refer to sexual appetite, but with this song it is a little different. With Joan of Arc, I think more of the appetite being the passion that drove her forward on her crusade. At the point he sings about, she is getting tired of it all. Wanting to squelch that passion by wearing something white.

Thank you again for your input B4! Hope all is well!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:27 pm

More watchman's clock punches:

Vickie: What makes you think I didn't look up "erudition"? The dictionary is our friend.

Jean: Interesting lesson on the dynamics of horses in their natural habitat. Almost all I know about horses has been learned here these past few months.

B4: Thanks for the Fredericton link, reading the posts gives a feel of the excitement that existed preceding Leonard's return to the stage. Interesting that the 20-song set was praised by all as being more than they expected, little did they know that future concerts would contain as many as 30 (or more?) songs.

Alan: Re "I'm tired of the war." This song came out when the Vietnam war was still very fresh in everyone's mind, and we all were, indeed, tired of the war; that was what came to mind when I first heard "Joan of Arc." And for some reason I always chuckle at the "I want the kind of work I had before" line that follows, it seems such an unlikely phrase to tie to war-weariness.

Comment on Leonard's use of musical syllables: Back when there were only the first three albums, I remember a discussion with my wife about Leonard's use of musical syllables in his songs (for example, in "Joan of Arc," "One of Us Cannot be Wrong," and "Let's Sing Another Song Boys"). I think I posited that most modern singers/songwriters were reluctant to do that, perhaps fearing critics would say that resorting to musical syllables was just a short-cut to avoid having to think up real lyrics. My wife's response was something like, "If you can compose lyrics like Leonard, you have the right to include as many la-la-las as you want." By the way, I love Leonard's use of musical syllables.

Question: I know what a cigarillo is, but what does "lit the chain of his famous cigarillo" mean?

Nose back to grindstone.

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

Postby B4real » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:04 am

its4inthemorning wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:27 pm
Question: I know what a cigarillo is, but what does "lit the chain of his famous cigarillo" mean?
chain ring smoking1.jpg
;-)
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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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:54 am

its4inthemorning wrote: Question: I know what a cigarillo is, but what does "lit the chain of his famius cigarillo"
I always thought it was a reference to chain-smoking...lighting a new cigarette with the embers of the old... like my dad used to do.
PS... sorry about the "at least you didn't have to look it up" comment.
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:28 pm

Vickie,
from your Holy Grail video, it would seem that the expression "it's raining cats and dogs" is a corruption of "it's raining cows and birds"...
Maybe we could agree on "it's raining des vaches fetchées".

As for "érudition", I just removed the accent and since the spellchecker didn't complain, I thought it should be alright.

Its4inthemorning,
here's some more horse stuff:
The lead mare is the first to fall off an unstable cliff, or to be eaten by crocodiles (or whatever) if she leads the group to the wrong place at the wrong time.
Both lead mare and stallion are replacement variables, kinds of fuses, whose function it is to increase the chances of survival for the procreation group (and that means: the species). Human-like domination behaviour does occur, but mostly in cases of doubtful competence. (Military hierarchy is a human phenomenon, and projecting such ways onto another species does not necessarily lead to understanding it.)

Concerning the "chain":
Since "he has lit" is present perfect, it should mean that in the present of the narrative the cigarillo is still burning.
My understanding is that the "he"-persona has started his habitual cigarillo chain-smoking. Which means in turn that he has "started the day", that his love-making mood is over. The "chain" makes the cigarillo different from the single cigarette afterwards, which might yet turn out to have been only a cigarette between...
(He's fully dressed already: "his hand upon his leather belt now / like it was the wheel of some big ocean liner.")

Alan,
in those medieval days, raping Joan of Arc would not really have been a good idea. She was being treated with double-bind technique: "Are you in the grace of God?" (If she answers "Yes", she's putting herself above God; if she answers "No", she admits that God did not send her.)
Whatever she says, she is guilty. Her judge is abolishing (he "speaks against") the "Holy Spirit" which in the Christian system means that he goes to Hell for infinity, with no redemption.

(She answered, "If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me." After her military victories, such a way out of the trap is one more reason to be extremely careful about one's own attitude towards her, an illiterate peasant girl knowing nothing of theological hair-splitting stuff. God seems to be very close by here, so rather nobody make a wrong move.)

Jesus was very formal on that point: "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come." (Matthew 12:32, quoted from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... rsion=NASB)

Even those who only collaborated with Pierre Cauchon in his trial because they had to fear for their own lives (including the executioners) knew that this would be a very meagre "mitigating circumstance" in their favour on the day of their Judgement.
Any rapist would most probably have been cudgelled to death by his own comrades, just in order to prove they were on Joan's side, thus trying to avoid Damnation.
Such underlying considerations were very much present in the mental world of that day, besides all the political, military and ecclesiastical reasons which later made Joan of Arc's rehabilitation rather inevitable.

AlanM wrote: Regarding Joan of Arc, I have long struggled over the "end" of verse 3 and the beginning of verse 4.
And deep into his fiery heart, he took the dust of Joan of Arc ...
It was deep into his fiery heart, he took the dust of Joan of Arc ...

Why say (in effect) the same thing twice?
But then again, why not? Emphasis through repetition is a common English expression.
This doesn't seem twice the same thing to me.
The first is on the same level as the rest of the narrative ("And..."); the second uses the emphatic structure ("It was..., [that]..."), and thus (by this structural emphasis, on a meta-level) comments on what is already being emphasised on the narrative level through the repetition.
The narrator is saying something like: Now listen carefully to what you already know. It is new!

And what is new here, is the switch from the factual level of the narrative (hanging ashes above the guests) to the level of personal implication:
common to Joan of Arc and the narrator (drawing in the listener in as well):
"and then she clearly understood"
"myself I long for love and light"
and different for Joan of Arc versus us that is, showing our limitations:
"but must it come so cruel..."
(We prefer our demons to be "middle class and tame"...)

B4real wrote: Btw - to me these lines below always conjure up an image of a pregnant unmarried woman wanting to be wed :)
“a wedding dress or something white
to wear upon my swollen appetite”.
I like that, B4real!


Btw "Joan of Arc" is very close to my heart:
http://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=35979
___________________________________________________
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 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:12 am

Jean-
Your posts are always so enlightening. I love hearing your thoughtful take on things. Your comments on Joan of Arc are very interesting. I think I need to read more about her as I have only a vague idea of her life and the history surrounding her.
Thank you also for sharing your writing in the thread: Cloud of Knowing. I liked the two middle sections (A wife and A friend) best, but it was all very good. If you don't mind my asking, I am curious how long it took you to write it?

Alan, B4, and Jean-
As you all know, I am going to Montreal in a few days (we leave Friday). I am looking forward to seeing 4 there, but I know I will be thinking of you all...especially during the tour and most especially during the concert. I will miss you being there with us. I am not sure if you know how sincerely I mean that.

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

Postby B4real » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:49 am

Vickie and 4,
Just in case I don’t get to post here before you both leave for Montreal, I most definitely want to wish you the very best of times. I do know how sincerely you want us to be there but remember, I am with you in spirit. While you are there just know that each time you are happy and each time you shed a tear, you do it for me too! Safe journey and can’t wait to hear from you both and everyone else who will be there too when you get back!

Some official and alternate words from LC to help you on your way and back :)

And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind ~ Suzanne

It's dark now and it's snowing
I've got to be going
St. Lawrence River
is starting to freeze ~ Light as the Breeze
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 AlanM » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:42 am

Live In Fredericton EP (2008) 2012
01. Dance Me To The End of Love
02. In My Secret Life
03. Heart With No Companion
04. Bird On The Wire
05. Who By Fire

The above is the only live album that we haven’t spoken about yet and it is a significant one.
I must confess that this album passed me (and my memory) by. If I knew about it at release time, I may have dismissed it as I do not own a turntable any more.
I agree with Bev's comment about the significance of the album representing a new beginning, but for me, sadly, that is all.
I have only been able to find the first song as recorded and the quality is quite good. Other versions are audience recorded and I thought that the poor quality of audio and video could be put down to the recording devices of the time.
However in my searching, I came across some postings from Moncton, May 23 2008, i.e. just 12 days after the Fredericton show. There is an audio version of what appears to be the complete show, with reasonable quality sound.
Several videos have been posted by rexbanner777. All have had several thousand views, deservedly so, in my view, and the quality of sound and vision is much better than anything I was able to find from Fredericton.
Comparing Hallelujah between the 2 shows, I feel there is certainly a greater degree of relaxation and polish in the later performance, as the band settled into the tour.

Jean, I always look forward to your posts. I have learned so much from you and your insights on so many topics. I hope your students really appreciated what a gifted teacher they had. I tried to learn Latin a few years ago and I did much better than when I had been at school about 50 years earlier. I mentioned that to my teacher and her comment was: "Yes, education is wasted on the young." Jean, I hope your pupils did not feel their time with you was wasted.

Alan
Last edited by AlanM on Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 MaryB » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:02 am

Happy Birthday Alan!!!!!

P.S. I am loving this thread!
1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby AlanM » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:43 am

Thank you, Mary.
A dear friend has just emailed the original recordings of Live in Fredericton and I am just about to indulge.
Q. What do you give someone who thinks they have all the Leonard Cohen recordings they want?
A. A group of recordings he didn't know about.

You are welcome to join our thread and comment any time.

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 AlanM » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:31 pm

AlanM wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:42 am
I agree with Bev's comment about the significance of the album representing a new beginning, but for me, sadly, that is all.
Oops - change of mind warning!
Having now listened to the correct versions of the recordings, I am delighted with them. The quality of the sound and the atmosphere thus created are wonderful. I absolutely loved Bob Metzger's guitar solos.
Who By Fire - Javier's solo developed over the years to around 4 minutes but started off here only 1:40 long.
B4real wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:16 am
As he says below in his intro to Ain’t No Cure For Love he admits to being a bit nervous plus more.
There are times when being "nervous" can be a good thing, and I think it was here.

In the past few days what gave me the most goose bumps, however, was Leonard introducing the band at the end of Anthem from the Moncton concert. It reminded me just how wonderful all these concerts were, what excellent musicians Leonard gathered around him and how hypnotic his voice was.

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 vlcoats » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:35 pm

Alan,

I don't know if I have the original recordings, but I have downloaded the 5 songs from Fredericton, and the recordings I have are very good. I am really enjoying his voice on these songs. I am not sure what it is that is different, but he is treating each word with care as his voice seems to curl around them. I know he has always sang each word as it should be sung, but there is something different about these, and I really like it. It was well worth using up a chunk of our monthly allotment of downloads from our satellite internet on. I especially liked his voice in Who By Fire, and of course I love hearing Javier Mas any time!

Mary, I hope we hear more from you!

Vickie
PS- Happy Belated Birthday Alan!
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:55 pm

Alan and Vickie,
thank you very much for your appreciation!

As I was a German teacher, I was privileged to have the best of pupils and students learning German is considered a difficult matter in France, the easy choice being English plus Spanish. Yet even so, of course, there are always a few whose main preoccupations lie elsewhere.
But if after 50 years you go and learn Latin, Alan, it would seem to me that some seeds must have come to germination...

Transmission does not necessarily mean immediate fruition, even if that does occur occasionally.
(Shamelessly advertising some more of my own stuff: http://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=36619)

And if in the early 1980s Leonard Cohen is given "more sad" by Kyozan Joshu Sasaki, and in 2016 he publishes his absolutely glorious "String Reprise / Treaty", then it most certainly was worth the while sowing those seeds!

vlcoats wrote:If you don't mind my asking, I am curious how long it took you to write it
I can't remember too well how long it took me, only that it came astonishingly fast. My guess is something like half a month or a month, at a daily rate of one to three hours of actual work, which would suggest a total of some 40-50 hours, give or take a dozen or two. The time required to let the dust settle and gain some distance was pretty short, at any ate. But then, things were in place and ready.
(Beforehand, as you might imagine, "I hug your spectre at times" had taken me years "to make it real". Needed some growing...)

To those who go to Montreal: travel safe, and enjoy!
___________________________________________________
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 B4real » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:45 am

Mary,
You always remember people’s birthdays :D I’m glad you are enjoying this thread – we aim to please!
If you have any suggestions that you would like see or add to the discussion, that would be great!

Alan,
I know you know that I have wished you a Happy Birthday elsewhere but I wanted to say it here too, so Happy Birthday and I hope your day went well - at least I know some part of it did! I am most pleased you love your unexpected birthday present ;-)

Vickie and 4,
As I’ve written above :)

Jean,
Doing my family history research I’ve become more aware of the way languages evolve over time. As a German teacher in France you probably know all this but it is interesting. The German speaking Franks gave their name to France. Modern French has a basis of 10% Frankish but there are other sources for Germanic words in French. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_F ... nic_origin

Jean Fournell wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:55 pm
it would seem to me that some seeds must have come to germination...
Talking of seeds. When you first gave that excellent quote months ago about this subject it reminded me of a quote I’ve had for ages and now you have reminded me again so here it is –
the seed.jpg
the seed.jpg (20.6 KiB) Viewed 306 times

Still speaking of a seed - and of course, Leonard always has the last word :)

"Beauty travelled though me
like a thread goes through a bead
when it frayed and parted
I floated, floated like a seed."

~World debut Standing on the Stairs sung by Anjani Thomas at Feast of Cohen 29th Dec 2013 St. John’s, Newfoundland. Adapted plus new verses from a poem with the first line 'I was standing on the stairs' in Parasites of Heaven by LC.

Interesting regards the timing of this post and those above that the original verse in the poem has “My birthday” instead of “Beauty” written!
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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