Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

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

Postby AlanM » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:42 am

Lover, Lover, Lover. How can a song that brings so much joy to me be a song that comes from hate? For one thing, the music is so upbeat and engulfing. For another thing, I don’t think it is resentment.
Hi Vickie,
My comment was on the basis of "justifying" the premise that NSFTOC equates to SOLAH 2.
Lover, Lover, Lover and A Singer Must Die were for me the most difficult ones to define on the title list, hence my 2 word comment rather than the one word.
A throw away comment has taken on a life of its own!
My interpretation of Lover is that the words in verse 5 are still the comments of the father encouraging the son to accept the cards that have been dealt to him.
I have just had a huge leap of thought to the Johnny Cash song Boy Named Sue
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
And it's the name that helped to make you strong.
...But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son of a bitch that named you 'Sue'.

Am I drawing another long bow?? Was the intention of the Lover father to make the son strong?
I must confess however that Lover, Lover, Lover has not been one of my "old friend" favourite Cohen songs, where as A Singer Must Die is right up there.

There was a donkey that was kept in a field near my childhood home and several of us boys, pre-teens, decided we would ride it. After the donkey worked out that we would just sit on its back while it refused to move, it decided that the best action was to go to the stream that ran through the field and tip us off as you described Vickie. Just wandered off in that direction and stopped too quickly for us to hold on. We gave up after that.

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

Postby vlcoats » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:14 pm

Jean Fournell wrote:Yes, I'm still here. It should be pretty safe to say that your approach to Leonard Cohen is more structured than that of most people, and so the term "studying" might indeed be not too far from the point.
Glad you are still here! Regarding studying... I saw on the Cohencentric site (at 4's recommendation to check it out) that Cambridge is offering a Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen Course. I shared it with a good friend (a writer I met in Peru when we were both there to adopt our children) and she said, "It's like they have created this course with you in mind." I told Dave that maybe they have a correspondence course. He said, "Isn't that what you are doing already?" Ha ha. That Dave, always hitting the nail on the head.
Jean Fournell wrote:.... zen and Judaism are two important aspects in Leonard Cohen. Without a few details, we will understand much less than we might.
I agree that religion (whether monotheistic or pagan or whatever) is an important aspect of Leonard Cohen and belongs on the forum as it pertains to him. I think I mentioned that I am a converted Jew so have a lot to learn about the religion, but I always wonder which of Leonard’s lyrics might refer to Judaism. I am not sure about the “thin green candle”. I had read somewhere- in one of the biographies no doubt or possibly an interview B4 posted a link for- that it was a reference to Leonard’s efforts to induce Nico (the tall blonde who was sorely missing the “Cohen gene”) to give him the time of day by any means, including love spells and lighting candle bought in a ‘magic’ shop. But maybe that is just a story. “Hineni”, it is my single most favorite word on You Want it Darker. Not sure why your comment on those religious texts being too difficult for you. You seem capable enough!
Jean Fournell wrote:...."Absence of [permanent] self" is a global term, where Western languages prefer more specifically detailed expressions: selflessness, to change one's mind, to be of two minds, to make up one's mind, etc. Nothing very extraordinary; it's the thing that allows us to learn, to get over preconceived ideas, and such.
I really like how you explained the absence of self, especially your comment that it is “Nothing very extraordinary”. I have always suspected people have complicated things that didn’t need to be complicated.

I liked your story of the donkey. I can imagine the ‘panic of loss’! Donkeys have taught me a lot about patience and point of view. They might seem stubborn, but they just have their own sense of time and will not do anything until they are ready.

Alan-- I also loved your story about the donkey! Donkeys have a great sense of humor. I think everyone who has ever had any interaction with one has a story to tell about it.

As for Lover, Lover, Lover- for some reason I have always felt a need to defend this song. It is far from my favorite--- but not too far. I know with the repetition of the word lover taken to the 7th degree, it might seem on the surface not to have much to say, but I think it has a lot to say. I don’t think you are drawing a long bow in saying the name given by the father was to make him tougher, like in a Boy Named Sue. I also think Jean has a point in equating the meaning to the differences between G-d and his lover (although maybe the lover is G-d). Regardless what it is about, I still feel it is a very positive song, especially the final verse.

I will finally have a chance to finish listening to Cohen Live today. They are doing road construction on the highway I take to work, so I will have a long commute for my first day back, which is a perfect excuse for turning up the stereo.

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

Postby vlcoats » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:16 am

Hello again,
Not sure if I am interrupting our discussion on New Skin before we have heard from everyone, but maybe there is nothing else to add?
I wanted to post that I have finished listening to Cohen Live.
At first I felt that I did not love this CD as much as the Field Commander Cohen CD, but as I keep listening... stuck in the long line of traffic due to the major road construction on our highway, I am liking more and more of what I am hearing.
First off, I am curious why this live CD has songs that span 5 years? I would think there would be enough perfect stuff from just one tour. I wonder if it was the record company working for the 'Yankee dollar' or Leonard being Leonard?

One of my favorite song on it is Hallelujah. I know it can be hard when an artist you have known and loved since the beginning of time is suddenly popular or exploited by people who don’t know the artist as well as you, so I don’t blame those of you who want to roll their eyes whenever yet another cover of Hallelujah is put out or when that is the only song most people know of Leonard’s. I feel your pain. :roll: But there is a reason this song is popular and exploited. It is really a very important song, and I am guessing that every one of his live performances of this song is perfect in every way, even though they are all different. I do love the verse on this version that begins with "There was a time that you let me know...” It is the verse with the lyric about the holy dove. We all know what that verse is about. It epitomizes why some of us love him so much. Here is a guy who is brave enough to admit that sex is better when there is a real connection, even when that connection is fleeting and physical. The way he mixes it all up, the earthy and the spiritual is no accident, and they are not separate for him.

The duet version of Joan of Arc is beautiful, so I see why you like it B4, but for now, I think I prefer the studio version.

I was especially interested to hear One of Us Cannot Be Wrong. It is one of my favorite songs. At first I liked it because it is easy to sing a cappella, so I could sing it to my donkeys when I go out to see them at night. But it has really grown on me, and I have become very curious about Nico, the woman who supposedly inspired this song (among others I think). I keep wondering if the main reason he was attracted to her was because she was immune to him, and he couldn’t have her or if there was something else about her? I hope it was something else, because wanting something you can't have is so ordinary.

I can see why both B4 and Alan like the version of If It Be Your Will. It is beautiful. And thank you, B4, for reminding me to look up the reference to this song in Nadel's biography. It spoke of the Days of Awe and the Kol Nidre in the Jewish calendar. Coming from a Christian/Secular background and not having any friends, family, or acquaintances that are Jewish, gaining support to learn more about the High Holy Days by attending their services has been one of the most difficult parts of my conversion. It has become even more difficult since we have moved to Idaho. But I think I can understand the emotion of the days even without having an opportunity to attend the services more than twice.

I still am so jealous of you all for being able to see him live. This makes listening to the live albums very bitter sweet.

I was looking forward to getting my copy of the biography, A Broken Hallelujah, but when I opened my package from Amazon, it had Stranger Music in it instead! Totally my fault! I had both of them in my ‘save for later’ cart on Amazon and clicked on the wrong one when I went to order it. (dork) Most frustrating of all is that I had the paperback version of Stranger Music in there because I was waiting until I could find a hardcover version before I ordered it. Plus, my plan was to focus on reading his poetry and novels after going through the live albums (although for some reason, I didn't have any plan for the biographies). Anyway, I can’t bring myself to take Stranger Music back now, because I opened it after stopping at our mailbox on the way home and started to read it in the construction line up!

Thanks for listening!
Vickie
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:35 pm

vlcoats wrote: I am not sure about the “thin green candle”. I had read somewhere- in one of the biographies no doubt or possibly an interview B4 posted a link for- that it was a reference to Leonard’s efforts to induce Nico (the tall blonde who was sorely missing the “Cohen gene”) to give him the time of day by any means, including love spells and lighting candle bought in a ‘magic’ shop.
These are not mutually exclusive. I suppose that the Friday evening preparations for the Sabbath are meant to be of the "just prepare" kind; and since many zen practitioners, instead of "just sitting", do all kinds of things in their heads, including magic (it's completely overcome in the 10th ox-herding picture-poem, which means: not earlier), I should not wonder if many Jews do likewise.
The song is clear enough: "To make you jealous of me", instead of "just preparing". There's often quite a discrepancy between our noble aspirations and the reality of our desires, of our wandering mind and of the "mosquitoes":
The theory is simple, but "his practice is all in a ruin."

"Nothing very extraordinary" is one such "simple" thing, utterly out of our reach "in the panic of loss", or during the "long sleepless night". Later, when we'll have become able to "t[ake] the dust" of that night, we might have gained some inner distance already (our impermanent "self" has changed), but nevertheless still be entangled to the point of "tortur[ing] the dress".
It is our human condition to "forget so very much".

"Lover Lover Lover", for me, is a picture deeply anchored in monotheist mysticism, showing superbly what the term "the All-Loving" means. It is most definitely a very positive song, an open door even for atheists like me:

"you may come to me in deepest faith,
or you may come in disbelief.
Ah but lover, lover, lover, lover, lover, lover, lover, come back to me."

This seven-fold (human) "lover" covers the seven days of the week. Non-extraordinary 24 hours per day love, maintained by God (Sabbath included!) because we, humans, are too unreliable, fallible as we are.

Such generosity fills me with deepest respect.

If you're interested, here's a case where the "Friend" (= Lover) is Allah:
http://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic. ... 30#p349809
___________________________________________________
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 its4inthemorning » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:48 am

Do I consider New Skin for the Old Ceremony to be Songs of Love and Hate 2?

I have not read other comments yet so as not to be influenced. Alan's question surprised me, because I always felt the albums were as different as apples and oranges. While SOLAH is my favorite and most listened-to album, NSFTOC was always more of a second-tier collection for me. This means, I guess, that while I listened to it from time to time, I never really spent much time analyzing the lyrics and music. I did a little of that the last few days.

In a nutshell here are reasons why, at least to me, the two albums do not convey being parts 1 and 2 of a set:

(1) Seriousness. SOLAH is dead serious from "I stepped into..." all the way through "...so cruel, and oh so bright? La-la-la..." This is in contrast to NSFTOC which contains two tracks that seem purely whimsical (Is This What You Wanted and Field Commander Cohen) and another that seems partly so (There is a War). Even though other tracks on NSFTOC are deadly serious, interspersing them with the less serious tracks dampens the effect.

(2) Music. Bob Johnston seems to have pretty much let Leonard do his thing on SOLAH, and then added (rather sparse, actually) instrumentation and singers when he mixed the album. In contrast, Leonard seems to have given John Lissauer great latitude with NSFTOC, and I think John overdid things a bit at times. (Looking back from 2017, it is easy for me to say, "why didn't Leonard continue in the SOLAH mode? However, we must remember that Leonard's first three albums were not big commercial successes, so he was still groping a bit for his place in the music world.)

(3) Lyrics. NSFTOC, like all of Leonard's albums, is filled with fine lyrics. However, I get a sense that some were not developed as much as the lyrics on SOLAH and other albums. (And this could be partly true; remember that he had years to refine the lyrics on his first three albums, but perhaps he had used most of his catalog on those albums and was under more pressure to create songs for his fourth album.) I will need to go back to the biographies to see what Leonard had to say about NSFTOC. Lest you think that this is a smear of our guru, I do love many NSFTOC lyrics such as "I'm sorry for smudging the air with my song," "Your body like a searchlight, my poverty revealed," "Hungry as an archway through which the troops have passed," and the delightful "There is a war between the ones who say there is a war and the ones who say there isn't."

(4) Cohesiveness. Even though the songs on SOLAH are not connected with one another (other than the walk-on role of Joan of Arc in Last Year's Man), they provide a very cohesive overall mood. (I imagine this is heightened by listening through headphones with no interruptions, something I have not done for years.) This is the opposite of the effect I get from NSFTOC, it seems very fragmented and jumps around. This is not my imagination: SOLAH consists of eight songs with an average run time of 5:20, while NSFTOC has eleven songs with an average run time of just 3:20!

Miscellany #1. Question to be contemplated: In what manner would an archway through which the troops have passed hunger?

Miscellany #2. In Is This What You Wanted Cohen references names from current (when written) culture such as Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, and Mr. Clean. Offhand I cannot recall this being done in other songs, can any of you others? Remember, current, not historical.

Miscellany #3. Jarkko is champing at the bit to make his big announcement, stay tuned!

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

Postby B4real » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:11 am

Hi all,
For the purpose of balance and contrasting observations (and advanced LC studies ;-) ) I thought I’d impart some facts relating to the actual songs themselves that happen to be on the New Skin For The Old Ceremony album. Some info you will know and some maybe not. Firstly from Leonard’s point of view (which I know Vickie is always interested in :) ) plus some alternate lyrics I that haven’t already posted and there are still more around.

Is This What You Wanted
“This is a song which represents a dialogue between you and your ideal lover. The ideal lover is not present for this particular dialogue, if indeed your ideal lover exists at all”.
You were the sensuous woman
I was the very reverend Doctor Freud...
I was only/just Steve McQueen
You were that famous XY/fancy/lubricating/expensive KY Jelly
I was only/common/ordinary Vaseline
I was always bold/shabby/clean/vulgar/Mr Clean...
I lay here chained with only one
You defied/betrayed/destroyed your precious/holy/sacred solitude...

Chelsea Hotel #2
“I began that song; I would say ah, the very late sixties. As the years went by I began to realize that it was Janis Joplin who gave me the seed of the song. Often a song develops from the gift of another individual, as though somebody hands you the song. It may take years to develop. Well, while I was working on the song I wasn't even sure it was the song Janis Joplin had given me but as I began working on it I understood what that seed, the seed gift, or the seed origin or the genesis, that thing from which the song develops, that softens the heart enough to receive ah, whatever the energies are that produce the song, that it was Janis Joplin. And as the years went by I began to want to acknowledge that gift.”
You told me once again how you’d prefer younger men...
You fixed yourself, you said, “Well never mind,
we aren’t pretty but we have the music”...
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
When you spoke for the widow and the orphan...

Lover Lover Lover
“I wrote this next song about a year ago today, in the Sinai desert. I made it for the soldiers that are on both sides.”
I cannot change your name, he said
It is my very human word
Your name is mine, he said
But you repeat it like a mocking bird...
Oh but my judgement never faltered
It is written in the heart
Peace to those who be with me
Suffering apart...


Field Commander Cohen
“I don't quite remember the genesis of that song, except that "Field Commander Cohen" is an ironic description, although I always loved the Army. And my father had intended to send me to the Kingston Military Academy actually. And if he'd have lived, I would probably have been in the Canadian Army. "Field Commander" in a sense, I think that grew from touring, in the sense that when you're on tour, it is that kind of leadership, rather than any executive leadership, because you are on the field, and it is moment to moment decisions. And you do have a group of men and women to keep together under sometimes strenuous circumstances.”
And be your sweetest self at first
‘til you conceive a deeper thirst
then go to where the selves are from
summon them and let them come
‘til love is pierced and love is hung...

Why Don’t You Try
“There are songs of greeting and songs of parting and then songs to those we are stuck with. This is a song to one whom one is stuck with, one whom one is sealed in a long conversation and a long embrace. In the first two verses we examine their predicament from various points of view, for which the French would have many interesting explanations. In the last verse, I attempt to marry the poor devils.”
Just open up your greedy little hand...

There Is A War
“There is an earlier version and I guess a less charitable version of the predicament. But it's important to have that because even in the midst of this flood or catastrophe which we are in, these are the days of the flood, these are the final days. In a sense all the institutions are and have been swept away and the ethical question is: "What is the proper behaviour, what is the appropriate behaviour in the midst of a catastrophe?" That song is a kind of war cry to strengthen to participants, to inform them that there was a conflict, but it's an uncharitable song and it's very difficult to sing correctly without making it sound like a slogan. There is a proper way to sing it but I don't think I've discovered the right way.”
Why don’t you come on back to the war, we can still get married...
Why don’t you dome on back to the war, let’s all get even,
Why don’t you come on back to the war, you don’t look that pretty when you’re sleeping!

A Singer Must Die
“In this next song I wrote from the feeling of being on trial - everyone's on trial -. In every living-room there's a trial going on, in every bedroom there's a trial going on, not just in the courtrooms, not just in the jails, but in the most private places of our lives, yeah we subject each other to judgement and to trial.”
OK then/So save me a place in the ten
three/twelve/twenty/thirty/forty/sixty dollar grave
With those/the whores who take money/put money on/ for the pleasure/s they gave
With those always ready with those who undress
So you could/may lay/lie down with your head on somebody’s warm/breast...
I am so afraid that I listened to you
Your helmets, your truncheons/weapons the message comes through
It's your ways to detain, your ways to disgrace,
your knee in my balls and your fist in my face...

I Tried To Leave You
“I've written many songs of parting. Don't wanna feel that I'm leaving you anywhere that I'm not going. Anyhow, this is a song of staying. It's one of those delirious songs of monotony called marriage. This is a song written out of my old age, my middle-age, my wrinkles, my weakness, and my failures called Je voulais te quitter."
And all your precious/very special/important work it’s right before your eyes…
Good afternoon, my darlings, I hope you’re satisfied…

Who By Fire
"There's an old tradition that insists that on a certain day of every year the Book of Life is opened and in it is inscribed those who will live and those who die, who by fire, who by fire, who by water. The melody is if not actually stolen, is certainly derived from the melody that I heard in the synagogue as a boy. But of course, the conclusion of the song, as I write it, is somewhat different: 'Who shall I say is calling?' Well, that is what makes the song into a prayer for me in my terms, which is who is it or what is it that determine who will live and who will die? What is the source of this great furnace of creation? Who lights it? Who extinguishes it?"
This song is one of the very few which have no discernibly notable variances.

Take This Longing
“Buffy Sainte-Marie recorded an early version of this called "The Bells". It took me six or seven years to get a version for myself. I began while listening to Nico sing at the Dome on the 8th Street in 1966. I broke the code in Asmara and finished the song in the shed of St Dominique Street in Montreal later that year. I wrote this song long time ago for a German girl, her name was Christa. She had another name that she used in America (stage name Nico) but I found out that her name really was Christa (Pfaggen). The most wonderful thing about this girl which I discovered after I had given this song to her and sung it for her was that she was deaf. She never even heard it but she kept nodding her head in deep appreciation. This is the song I wrote for her.”
So give/all this beauty to the wind
Put your precious/pride to rest
And let me judge your famous love affair
In this very room where I have sentenced mine to total death
Yeah, I’ll even wear these laurel leaves
That she’s/he's shaken from her/his head...
You thought I want you to be good
Now you know that I want you to be best...

Leaving Green Sleeves
Based on Greensleeves an English 1530’s folk song using its first and seventh verses as LC’s first verse.

LC was once asked to sing this song at a concert and he replied:
“Oh I haven't sung that for about 300 years. I used to sing that when I was a troubadour in the south of France. My name was Artaud. I used to walk on those dusty roads singing Greensleeves. I haven't sung that for a long time”.
Sung only twice in concert and the line below contains the only alternative word.
To lie between your golden thighs...

4 wrote: Miscellany #3. Jarkko is champing at the bit to make his big announcement, stay tuned!
getting close now 8)
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 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:46 am

B4real post wrote:Firstly from Leonard’s point of view (which I know Vickie is always interested in :) )
B4- ;-) Thank you so much for this. Like the good teacher you are, you have refocused the conversation to the most important thing. We can all say and think what we want, but we are just guessing unless Mr. Cohen has spoken.
(Are you sure you can't come to Montreal B4?)

Thank you also Jean and 4 for your posts today too. And everyone else who has commented on this long thread. I appreciate everyone's insight more than you know. Not only for what I am learning about Leonard, but for what I am learning about you and therefore me .... after all, I think you might be people that are a little like me, and I don't know many.

I will comment more when I have a chance... first week of school is crazy.
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:19 am

What a journey this is.

Jean- I read your post a couple times, and I only started to get it when I read it aloud to my husband, who said, "I don't know what you guys are talking about". I said, "Wait! I think I almost do" because I was seeing the connections you were making. But then I clicked on your link to the Popular Problems topic, and I was once again hopelessly lost even after backing up to earlier posts. I am sure you have heard the expression that someone is an "old soul"? I have thought often about what that means, and I know it is related to reincarnation and it is a compliment to call someone that. Unfortunately, I believe that I am a "young soul". I am above the fly and even the killer... but nowhere near understanding some of the topics on this forum.

4- I loved that you responded to the current topic regarding whether or not New Skin was SOLAH part 2. I think I agree with with many of your points. However, regarding the lyrics, at first I couldn't imagine Leonard letting something go to 'print' without feeling it was developed well enough. But then I remembered DOALM! I think he never let his written material go out until he was ready, but maybe not so much his recorded stuff. I believe that is because the things we write belong to only to us, but when you have a production of music... you lose that control. About your miscellany #1, an archway is hungry for troops because it looks like an open mouth or at least an opening, and Leonard always talks about sexual hunger and greed....the troops are all of the guys that Nico let inside instead of him (maybe?) Miscellany #3- Waiting and waiting for Jarkko's announcement!

B4- I had a chance to really read your post during my lunch at work today, and I loved it, more than I have time now to go into. You know how I feel about Leonard's interview quotes. Some of the quotes were familiar from the biographies, so thank you for reminding me of them. I have said before that I feel I have "galloped" through Leonard's material, but I really do feel that I have been overwhelmed and nearly flooded by it. So I appreciate your reminders of the things I have heard and read and learned. Thank you also for the new quotes that are unfamiliar to me. You have really served to center and focus our thread.

Alan- Who knew what a goldmine your little SOLAH part 2 comment would uncover, right? Nice topic!

Thank you again everyone.
Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:33 pm

Odds and Ends.

B4, thank you for posting the NSFTOC alternative lyrics along with LC's comments about each song, it's always interesting to see his own thoughts about his songs. The alternative lyrics indicate to me that LC was always considering and analyzing his lyrics, even many years after they were recorded.

Jean, when I read your posts I am always impressed by your knowledge of religions, obtained no doubt from years of study. Yours is not a lazy atheism.

Jean, when we look back over our lives I think we all will find that we spent an extraordinary amount of time on efforts that we now see were purposeless. But sometimes purposeless endeavors have therapeutic values.

Alan, using "A Boy Named Sue" in your interpretation of "Lover Lover Lover" was thought-provoking, you may have something there. I never would have made that connection in a thousand years.

LC the Troubadour. I believe LC, especially in the early years, liked to consider himself a troubadour rather than just a singer. I surmise that is why he felt comfortable in using "la-la-la" verses in a number of his early songs, they reinforced the folksy informality of that genre. One of his best troubadour-type songs is "Leaving Greensleeves" on NSFTOC, a song that I was formerly indifferent to, but have lately come to appreciate.

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 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:05 pm

Hi Jean,
I have eventually got round to looking at your equine videos. I loved them for many reasons.
I love the area where you live;
I love the fact that these beautiful animals clearly are devoted to you;
I love that motorised traffic respects you;
I am in respect of you that you were riding without a saddle;
I admire your local authorities that they do not persecute you for riding in a public area without a hard hat.
That's all I can think of for now. Let's just say I enjoyed your videos.

Back on topic:
For an atheist you have an incredible understanding of a variety of religions.
You have an incredible insight into the lyrics of Leonard Cohen.
I respect and admire you, not just for your understanding and insight, but also for your ability to express it in a language that is not your primary language.
You are a philosopher, sir, and I salute you.

Alan
p.s. I had forgotten about Leaving Greensleeves. I had dismissed it decades ago (along with Jazz Police and most of DOALM) and it is not on any of my playlists. Maybe I need to listen again, since I have been educated and enlightened on this thread.

p.p.s. Go for it Alan - OK - Recent Songs and Various Positions are one extended album!

Over to you, folks!
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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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby Jean Fournell » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:23 pm

Alan, I'm honoured by your comments!

Yes, my horses are devoted to me, and I am devoted to them. We have a horse-human relationship of the rare kind, based on mutual understanding. In horsemanship considered as a religion, I'd be one of their mystics.
We meticulously obey the traffic rules (in the 1950s, the priority for horses was abolished in France; ever since, motorised traffic have equal rights). This includes our respecting Stop signs, even with nobody in sight. In return, they have the obligation to obey, too. And they do, mostly.
The Camargue is ten years old and has developed a good, strong back; already from the very start she had understood how to carry. I stopped riding her saddled some three and a half years ago, and she does perfectly well without.
The authorities have no grounds to persecute us. There are no rules about hats. Public areas, per definition, are open to the public. In villages, I always clean up the droppings. Horses are allowed by traffic law up to six of them hitched together, in up to five ranks, so we are at the lower end. And then we are an additional picturesque feature for many tourists, one major source of income here.

Atheism (not to be confused with anti-theism) is a position where God or afterlife are considered as lying beyond what our limited mind can grasp. In this question, the historical Buddha Siddharta Gautama warned on more than one occasion that investing oneself into impossible mental adventures can be harmful to some, although not necessarily to everybody. I'm one of the some. But that does not mean that I'm not religious. Zen is formidable for people like me in that it openly invites to "kill the Buddha if you meet the Buddha"; that is (among other things), not to make an ideology even of the absence of ideology. To my knowledge, elsewhere there are only the Jesuits to have such an anarchist liberty but they owe unconditional and absolute obedience to their pope. In zen, there is no pope.

Leonard Cohen was not some pop-singer. He was a priest, and he took that responsibility seriously. I willingly admit that he hides his stuff under layers of appearances, and that it requires an effort to dig it out. However, he has a good reason to do so. Earlier on this thread, I called it "sowing karma seeds". Not all of those seeds will germinate, and some might take a long time, and "There is no need / That this survive / There's truth that lives / And truth that dies". But what little I understand in (most of...) his songs is of really high quality, technically, poetically, philosophically, religiously. It is difficult and time-consuming to write such things; and in the 20th century, beside him (a Jew), I only know of Rilke (an atheist) and Gibran (a Maronite Christian with Sufi influences).

As for the language, well, I got the fancy to try and learn English. Keeps my old brain from rusting too fast...

Alan, I salute you



Thank you, Its4inthemorning!
My remark about purposelessness was meant to be entirely positive. I was not thinking of hindsight, of errors, of failures; but of "useless" things we undertake deliberately, not in spite of, but because there is no profit of any kind in them.

Like those thistles; things in their own right, without any need for justification. Just existing.

Thus speaks an old religious atheist: "Money can't buy me love" (The Beatles).



My apologies, Vickie, for expressing myself incomprehensibly.
I'll try to do better next time.

My last post in fact concerned two different points, first "One of us cannot be wrong" and more specifically "I lit a thin green candle"; and then the song "Lover Lover Lover". I'll separate them more distinctly.

Only I realise that explaining more clearly what I said takes much more time than I thought it would: trying to piece together a more or less coherent picture, deleting the superfluous stuff, doing the language part, and trying to get it somewhere close to shipshape...

It seems to me that I'll need a few more days. My answer is in the making process, and I don't want to leave things in the mess I put them into, but it requires a bit of work.
So I must beg for patience. I'll try not to dawdle.
___________________________________________________
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)
its4inthemorning
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:02 pm

Jean,

While I knew you resided in France and realized your name has French origins, I always thought of you having grown up in Great Britain. Why? Because of your use of the English language! Using a second language to order a restaurant meal or ask directions is one thing, using it to discuss religions and philosophies is quite something else.

Leonard the Priest is an interesting way to describe the man. Human thought is not one continuous track like this thread is, it is always operating on several levels simultaneously (or separated only by fractions of seconds too short for us to perceive). For example, while I am writing this, I am also thinking about some office work I am in the midst of, of the possibility of golfing tomorrow, of what to make for a barbecue on Monday, etc. But I venture that Leonard's brain was always operating on many more levels, with some of them being far, far deeper than the trivialities now zapping through my brain--for instance, the meanings of love, of life, and of the here and hereafter. This brings me back to my little cartoon, created mostly for my own benefit, but with the possibility that someone else might gain something (a chuckle) from it. Was not Leonard's work also created mostly for his own benefit, but with the idea or hope that it might benefit others? This "my work is myself" attitude might explain his compulsion to make his writing as perfect as it could be, and his reluctance to have others (save in a weak moment, Phil Spector) take his work to places he did not want it to go. I wonder if there were times when Leonard felt that what he was working on was purposeless?

You mentioned at the end that "explaining more clearly... takes much more time than I thought." This reminds me of a clever, but very true, expression: "Sorry I wrote such a long letter, but I was too busy to write a short one."

Jarkko continues to champ at the bit, now the big announcement is expected September 12. I know Vickie and I (with spouses being dragged along) will be in Montral, are any of you others contemplating the financial sacrifice to be in Canada in November?

4

PS Jean, I understood your "purposeless" comment in exactly the manner you intended.
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 vlcoats » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:23 am

its4inthemorning post wrote:Leonard the Priest is an interesting way to describe the man. Human thought is not one continuous track like this thread is....
Hello again! Two things... I think Leonard the Priest is interesting too. Cohen (or Kohen) is the Hebrew name for priest so I am sure Leonard took that seriously. I was reading about that in the biography "Prophet of the Heart" where the authors were arguing that he was more of a prophet than a priest. When I tried to find the passage where I had read that so I could quote it, I couldn't find it. Obviously this is another biography (along with the Simmons' one) that I will need to reread. ;-)
The other thing... It cracked me up that you said this thread is one continuous thought, because I feel that we are always going in several directions.
its4inthemorning post wrote: ... his reluctance to have others (save in a weak moment, Phil Spector) take his work to places he did not want it to go....
This made me laugh out loud! You have such a great sense of humor 4!
its4inthemorning post wrote:.."Sorry I wrote such a long letter, but I was too busy to write a short one."
Again, the Cohen affliction!
its4inthemorning post wrote:Jarkko continues to champ at the bit, now the big announcement is expected September 12. I know Vickie and I (with spouses being dragged along) will be in Montral, are any of you others contemplating the financial sacrifice to be in Canada in November?
Jarkko is not the only one champing at the bit! I am also curious if I will be able to meet anyone else that has joined in our discussions! Although I am not always comfortable in crowds and with people I don't know, I think this might be different. Or maybe it will be worse...like meeting a twin that you didn't know you had.
Jean Fournell wrote:My apologies, Vickie, for expressing myself incomprehensibly.
I'll try to do better next time.......I'll try not to dawdle.
I understand your desire to apologize because I apologize for things that I probably don't need to all of the time. What I usually mean is not that I think I did something wrong, but that I think I can do something better. You don't have to try again, because I appreciate that you took the time to explain it to begin with and I think I have already learned something from what you said. If you want to try and make it more clear, I will also appreciate that. I just read something in "A Broken Hallelujah" that reminded me of our conversations here in this thread.
It was a quote that TS Eliot said about Dante, "The genius of poetry is that it communicates before it is understood."
AlanM post wrote:p.p.s. Go for it Alan - OK - Recent Songs and Various Positions are one extended album! Over to you, folks!
So Alan, my first question to you is, are you asking for opinions before you say why you feel that way? If so, I would say that no... they are not one extended album.

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

Postby AlanM » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:22 am

If so, I would say that no... they are not one extended album.
Well, that was easy! :wink:
OK next topic ...

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 Jean Fournell » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:13 pm

Hi Vickie, here my attempts at being a bit clearer:

The first point concerns the line "I lit a thin green candle" in One of us cannot be wrong.
its4inthemorning wrote: Human thought is not one continuous track like this thread is, it is always operating on several levels simultaneously (or separated only by fractions of seconds too short for us to perceive). For example, while I am writing this, I am also thinking about some office work I am in the midst of, of the possibility of golfing tomorrow, of what to make for a barbecue on Monday, etc.
Thanks, Its4inthemornig, for your description of "mental multitasking".
That's a fine explanation of what I meant!



The other point is the song "Lover Lover Lover".

Here I say thank you to B4real, for so appropriately quoting Leonard Cohen (about Leaving Green Sleeves):
B4real wrote: LC was once asked to sing this song at a concert and he replied:

“Oh I haven't sung that for about 300 years. I used to sing that when I was a troubadour in the south of France. My name was Artaud.
My take is that the "lover" is a human soul, asking for a new incarnation complete with name, body, and mind, each of which it judges unsatisfactory. In fact, this boils down to accusing its Maker of having done a botch job with the present incarnation.

But God reacts to these pretty offensive accusations with patient, detailed explanations, and with a refrain repeating His overall invitation for the lover-soul to come back to Him.
(The lines "You can use it for a weapon / or to make some woman smile" indicate that the soul's present body-mind continuum can't be so bad, after all it seems rather functional to me...)
Later on, He makes it very explicit: come back to me in no matter which state, just come back to me. He loves that soul exactly as it is (or has become) unconditionally.

The link to the other thread was meant for comparison a reverse configuration where it is the soul who has an unconditional love for Allah, no matter what He might do.

(Now it did take me a while to make a long letter short...) ;-)
___________________________________________________
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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