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 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:27 am

Thanks 4, for the B6 info! And you were right the first time - The land of OZ downunder is a magical place ;-)

Seeing as we are discussing the first album I thought it wouldn’t go amiss to mention those songs which were in a somewhat different form before they made it on the official album and others that were originally considered but never made it to the final cut. They appeared in same or altered form or name on later albums and a few were never to be heard of again. In 2007 this album was released again with two bonus tracks as listed below. We know that Stories Of The Street was never sung live in concert and to my knowledge neither was Winter Lady. btw – I wanted to use the latter as my forum name because I was born on the first day of winter and was a lady :) but when I joined someone else had already used it.

Considered outtakes for original SOLC album –
The Master Song
Everybody’s Child (released in 2007 as Blessed Is The Memory)
Store Room (this version released in 2007)
Storeroom
Love Tries To Call You By Your Name
Tonight Will Be Fine
Middle Of The Night
Nine Years Old (early Story Of Isaac)
Priests
Splinter
Avalanche
A Winter Lady
Dress Rehearsal Rag

Songs sung once or twice in public1966/68 –
The/Master Song
The/Traveller (early The Stranger Song)
The/Teachers

I know I have said this before over the years but I just have to say again that I wish Leonard had released Priests. I remember reading that for the 2007 re-release of this album Sony couldn’t find the tape and Leonard said he may have it somewhere at home. That was some time ago and unfortunately I think all hope of it ever coming to see the light of day is like it being perpetual night! It has been covered by a few artists with varying approaches. Judy Collins and Richie Havens have it on their albums. As you know, I’m not one for LC covers but this will give you an available version of the song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GNWSQQtLTc

Interestingly, Priests is listed as being in the first edition of SOLC songbook with no available publishing date and also in the second one published in1969. Going by that date it was then maybe going to be on the second album Songs From A Room. I've never heard of a song being included in songbooks and never been officially released! https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/songbooks.html

SOLC songbook bk cover 2nd ed.jpg

You know, when I first heard Priests (never saw the words) I thought it started as:

“And who will write love songs for you,
when I am gone at last.”

Hummm ....
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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AlanM
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby AlanM » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:42 am

B4real wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:27 am
Interestingly, Priests is listed as being in the first edition of SOLC songbook with no available publishing date and also in the second one published in1969.
Hi Bev,
I have attached several scans - the cover of my copy of Songs Of Leonard Cohen songbook, along with the contents page and the bottom of the first page of Priests. It looks like your copy has the contents listed on the back cover whereas mine appears to be his Greek Visa.
I recall Dr H Guy saying there were different versions published - it looks like ours are different.
My contents page indicates copyright 1969, so is probably the second edition. The Priests page shows ©1968, 1969. Could this mean it was registered, some adjustments were made and then resubmitted?
Obviously none of this gives any indication as to how long the songs took to write.
Several other songs have more than one year as their copyright date.
I am amused that the contents list puts "The" at the end of the song name - Butcher, The.

Checking my vinyl of SOLC, the lyrics of Suzanne and The Stranger Song are printed. The record sleeve has advertising material relating to other Columbia artists, with SOLC and Songs From A Room listed for Leonard. So no lyrics on the sleeve of my copy.

The list of outtakes is interesting. I confess that Splinter is unfamiliar to me.

1967 for me included music of The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Mamas and Papas, The Animals, Dusty Springfield, The Walker Brothers and others. I was about half way through my Uni course, with no plans regarding family, where I would live, what sport to be involved in, etc. Just living from day to day, enjoying student life, independence and with my primary goal being graduation. Everything else got considered after that. Leonard didn't enter my life until after Songs From A Room, but he has never left it since.

My main regret is that he didn't tour "down under" in 1988 and 1993. I would have loved to have seen and heard Julie and Perla sing live with him.

Happy New Year to you all.

Alan
Attachments
SOLC Priests copyright info.jpg
SOLC cover.jpg
SOLC contents page.jpg
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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AlanM
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby AlanM » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:26 pm

It's 2:30 in the morning, the beginning of January,
I'm writing you now to tell you the last of our guests have gone home.
So far, 2018 is pretty good - we listened to Leonard and the band singing from Reykjavic in 1988 as we settled in to the New Year. Ah, Bev, you should have seen us ... you know all who were here.

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

Postby B4real » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:18 am

Alan,
Sounds like you all had a great New Year! Say hello to everyone from me. Yesterday was the hottest day here this summer with a thick smoke haze covering everything! It’s the first time I turned on my air-con this summer but it wouldn’t work! I’m a bit unwell at the moment, maybe from the heat and smoke. I hope all three unpleasant conditions go away soon!

Thanks for the scans and info. In The LC Files link I posted there are three editions listed of that songbook. I think you've answered your own question about Priests correctly. As far as I know it was copyrighted twice, first in 1967 then again in 1969. Unfortunately, I don’t know any more about Splinter except it seems to have been recorded in 1966-67 and copyrighted in 1967 the same year as most of the other considered outtakes.

Yes, a “down under" tour in those years would have been totally excellent!
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby its4inthemorning » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:26 pm

Twilight Zone was an iconic US television series whose original run was in 1959-1964. Last night I watched an episode titled "Eye of the Beholder." It involves a disfigured woman who was awaiting the results of a final surgery meant to correct her grotesque disfigurement. Her head is totally covered with bandages, and the doctor proceeds to remove her bandages. When the final bandages are pulled away we finally see her face, and it is what we would consider normal, even above average. Then, for the first time (up until now, we never saw face shots of the doctor and nurses), we see that they are the ones who are grotesque. Hence, the "Eye of the Beholder" title. I say all this because, whenever I listen to "Love Calls You by Your Name," and hear the line "Wondering out loud as the bandage pulls away, was I, was I only limping, was I really lame?" I think of the Twilight Zone tale. We will never know, of course, but I wonder if Leonard ever saw that episode and if it was the genesis of "the bandage pulls away."

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:46 am

4-
That is very interesting.
its4inthemorning wrote: "Eye of the Beholder" .... but I wonder if Leonard ever saw that episode and if it was the genesis of "the bandage pulls away."
I think you are onto something there. I am not sure if Leonard saw that episode, because I was told long ago that there are no original thoughts, only truths that we all have at our disposal, but it seems he shared the same truth as the writers of that Twilight Zone episode did.... beauty is in the eye of the beholder.... However, the words "as the bandage pulls away" makes me wonder if he saw that episode too!

You must have been watching the same Twilight Zone marathon that we dipped into on New Years. The episode we caught was the one with the puppet/ventriloquist... that one scared the crap out of me when I was a little kid!

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

Postby vlcoats » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:05 am

PS--
Bev...I hope you are feeling better now...
and Alan, I loved your "It's 2:30 in the morning, the beginning of January" post...
Jean... I hope you are well also! We haven't heard from you regarding 1967...
As for me in 1967- "I was 9 years old". I lived in Canada, and it was our centennial. My dad was listening to Roger Miller and my mom was listening to The Beatles. I remember competing in a race in commemoration of the centennial and receiving a bronze, which even at 9, I knew was not as good as a gold or silver. If I wanted to be anything, it would have been a veterinarian. My grandmother had an electric organ and I wanted her to teach me to play, but she taught my sister instead because my fingers were too short, lol.
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby B4real » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:38 am

Thanks Vickie,
I'm feeling better today than yesterday!
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:55 am

B4-

So glad you are feeling better. I wanted to say something about winter being the season we all seem to get sick, but then I remembered you are in summer there!

4 suggested we discuss Songs of Leonard Cohen because of the 50th anniversary. We haven't yet heard from everyone about where they were and what they were doing in 1967, but I would like to bring up Stranger Song again and ask if anyone has any thoughts about it? Did it remind you of anything or anyone? Do you think it is just about the comings and goings in our lives? Did any of the images get to you as much as the highway curling up like smoke above his shoulder did to me?

I know it is a selfish request since this song is a favorite, but I wonder if I am the only one?

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

Postby AlanM » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:29 am

Hi Vickie,
You are NOT alone regarding The Stranger Song.
I refer you to an old post of mine: https://www.leonardcohenforum.com/viewt ... &start=135
I have seen many a highway with many a bend in it, but unless I had heard this song, that superb simile just like smoke would never have occurred to me.
The Stranger Song is also one of my favourites, but as I have previously posted on this forum, I have many favourite Leonard Cohen songs.
One of my regrets relating to the recorded works of Leonard Cohen is that there are not enough long songs. I also love The Master Song and hope that one day someone will discover an extended version of Hallelujah and/or other songs with many verses that we have not heard.
There are so many brilliant word pictures in The Stranger Song it is hard to pick just one, however the smoke reference is certainly my favourite.

I see this song as a relationship song, but not of happy times (verse 1). The Stranger is a traveler and a gambler, but is temporarily looking for an escape.
Verse 2 shows us that already he has left looking for his unachievable goal, leaving another broken heart behind him. The remainder of the song is a series of thought flashbacks.
Verse 3 says "you nearly got me, but I cannot be pinned down".
Verse 4 another stranger to my mind is another aspect of the same man, but almost succumbing to his resentment of his former life (depression?)
Verse 5 is where the giver of comfort sees there is still the highway drawing him away.
Verse 6 you can't close your shelter says no matter how much of a loving care giver you are, I am driven to move on.
Verses 7 & 8 - are the plans made in hope by the giver of comfort, and by the stranger in an attempt to placate her in the unavoidable rift in their relationship.
Verses 9 & 10 - reprise of verses 2 & 3 as a way of expressing "I told you so. You shouldn't have got so attached to me in the first place. I just wanted a break, not a total change of life path. You really should not have expected me to stay for very long."
Although the lyrics in these final 2 verses are the same as 2 & 3 the meaning is deeper and different as there is more of a finality and inevitability about the outcome.

I love this song. Every time I hear it I hear something new. The joy of having the Leonard Cohen gene.

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 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:31 am

Alan-

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about The Stranger Song! It is good to know that I am not the only one. The main reason I felt that way is that I have never seen it elevated or discussed so much like Avalanche or Famous Blue Raincoat or a half dozen other songs, including the ones in the Tribute concert. But then again, I don't think he has performed Ballad of the Absent Mare much either.

I like your take on the song because it is enough like my own that I understand it but different enough to give me another viewpoint. Being a man, you see it from the guy's point of view, but for me, I have always felt he is commiserating with the woman here (the giver of comfort, right?). Although he is warning her and reminding her that she is really no better than him and connected to him... "it is you my love, you who are the stranger" as if she would do the same in his position, and she should have known better, like it's sort of her own fault, and what did she expect anyway.... the taste that is left in my mouth with this song, is that the singer isn't liking that stranger very much either, and he thinks that stranger (or he himself) is an asshole as well!

That is just the taste in my mouth version though... I know there are so many layers to this song. For example, the line "And you say ok the bridge or someplace later.." sounds to me like "ok... whatever,.. talk to the hand... bye-bye and good riddance, Mr. Whoever you are!"

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

Postby Jean Fournell » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:59 am

When I was a boy, I was struck one day by the realisation what a gorgeous thing it is that the adults haven't replaced all the trees in towns and villages, maybe even forests, with iron or concrete poles yet. And that I must never tell anybody, lest I wake sleeping dogs.
That's why I still don't tell it, not even here, because some of them might be eavesdropping.
But as a young man, maybe I could have told Suzanne, if I had met her in real life.

For quite a few years, the "highway / that is curling up like smoke above his shoulder" was my favourite in "The Stranger Song". Then, gradually, it was overtaken by

And it comes to you he never was a stranger

and

Please understand, I never had a secret chart
to get me to the heart
of this or any other matter
___________________________________________________
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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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:01 am

Jean, thank you for your thoughts on The Stranger Song.

I have gone from loving it like I was struck by lightening, to realizing that are so many other songs Leonard has written that are also just as good and in parts maybe better, to rediscovering how much I loved it to begin in. Maybe that is in thanks to 4 for bringing up the first album again.

I really like that particular line Jean mentions... "And it comes to you, he never was a stranger" (it can mean so many things). I love it also because it is followed right afterwards by my 2nd favorite line (after the curling smoke highway thing) "And you say, OK.. the bridge........ or someplace later." I always wondered what he meant by "or someplace later". Like all of his lyrics, we may never know. They are his and only his.

Speaking of lyrics, I wanted to bring up the poetry CD -- Six Montreal Poets. I know I should post this on the poetry/novel thread instead (and maybe I will), but I remember us discussing Irving Layton here a couple times. I haven't listened to the whole CD yet, because I have been listening to other Leonard stuff ;-), but I listened to about half of it in the car on my work and back, and today on my way home Leonard's poems were followed by Layton's. First off, I really like Layton's voice... not as well as Leonard's, but much better than some others. Secondly, I was so affected by Layton's poem, "The Bull Calf". Have you heard it or read it? I had to stop the CD and almost the car. If it were not for his last line, I would have thrown away the stupid CD. It describes a bull calf being killed. But it was such a perfect description of the calf as he died and it was done with such respect for the dying animal, "...his frightened look, growing smaller and smaller till we were only the ponderous mallet..." that it was beautiful. The last line was, "I turned away and wept." I had to turn off the CD to stop the words so I too could cry for the death of that bull calf that was imagined by a man long dead now himself. You know how I feel about animals. I can barely stand the sound of the cattle across the river from us when they take their babies away, they really have a fit and it is so hard to hear. Anyway... Layton's poem really got to me, and just by that poem alone, I can see why Leonard liked him so much.

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

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:32 am

Dear Regulars,

I feel badly for ignoring this thread, and you three, for so long, I feel guilty as if I had forgotten a good friend's birthday!

We covered a lot of ground in 2017, what with discussing all the albums one-by-one. The fact that that task was completed (and that the Memorial Event had come and gone) caused a profound let-down for me, and I guess I needed a period of Cohen abstinence to rekindle my interest.

It is possible that this thread has played itself out, we will see. For me, it will be where I will post, and I hope others will do the same.

There is no easy way to listen to music in my office other than on the computer, so I often just go to youtube and play songs there. There are usually comments associated with each yoiutube listing, and I sometimes find it interesting to read some of them. These comments are from people who are not forum members, just average music listeners. I am always amazed by the geographical breadth of Leonard's fans as indicated in the comments, by the thoughtfulness of many of the comments, and by the sheer number of people who felt compelled to comment at all. Today I was listening to a version of "Famous Blue Raincoat," and there was a very poignant comment, which I copy below. I choose to believe it is genuine.

"I don't think anyone knows this story, and I will tell it for I have no great story of seeing him live, I never met the man I loved and looked up to. He didn't know me nor did he know that I was alive solely because of him.

"This was 6 years ago, I was depressed and suicidal, I just lost my best friend, she never wanted to see me again, I had no money and no friends at all. I felt all alone. I had sleeping pills. I had taken them all out, holding them in my hands. The night was cold, it was the end of December. The day had been a long stretch of crying and melancholy. The radio was on, it had been playing shitty pop songs all day.

"I was ending my life that night.

"It was close to 2 am and I had stopped crying, I knew what I had to do. I was so determined. And then, like a ray of light through the fog came a different song on the radio. It was famous blue raincoat by Leonard Cohen. 'It's four in the morning, the end of December.' I sat there on the floor by the cold window. I just listened. 'Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes, I thought it was there for good so I never tried.'

I started bawling my eyes out, those were the lyrics. those were the words I wanted to hear. They were made for me. He was singing to me that night. He helped me, I got help. I saw the beauty of the world again. I was alive again.

"And he would never know, he would never meet me. But I am eternally grateful. Thank you Mr. Cohen.

By my reckoning, winter is more than half over for those of us in the northern hemisphere!

4
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's albums

Postby vlcoats » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:32 pm

Hi 4!

So glad you are here again! I too have been reflecting on all of the ground we covered in 2017. I know last year will go down as one of my very favorite years, as it was the year I discovered Leonard Cohen. I cannot say anything so dramatic as the YouTube comment that you shared, but I can say that he changed my life. Not in a way that anyone on the outside looking in might be able to see, but certainly from my vantage point. It may seem crazy for me to say that listening to Leonard Cohen's music and lyrics and reading his books and poetry has changed everything in me from the colors I see in a sunset to my views on life and death, and you may roll your eyes at that if you wish, but it is what it is.

Out of the blue the other day, Dave asked me that age-old question, "If you were to classify Leonard Cohen's music in a genre, what would it be?" It cracked me up, because I have many times had this very same conversation with him, stating that it is not classifiable. I told him that right there is my proof that he never listens to me! He said yes, he was listening and he did hear me lament that fact, but he was just wondering for himself. I think it was more of a rhetorical question, and leads me to my point....that even Dave finds himself randomly thinking of Leonard Cohen and wondering about him. I bring it up because it testifies to the fact how much my life has been changed in that the ripple effect has changed Dave's life too.

As for winter being half over, it is already feeling like spring here in Idaho. This winter has been so mild and appears to be ending so soon that I feel somehow cheated. It is my favorite season, but I know it isn't everyone's and some people really struggle with it.

Not sure if we are ready to discuss another song, but I am open to it myself! We really haven't said too much about his last 3 albums. Maybe we can pick something from them? In some ways it was those last 3 albums that changed my outlook on life and death, or at least on aging, the most. I can't put my finger on exactly how, except to say that it no longer seems so scary, and that it's okay to go into the ground still trying to figure out G-d if you want to and that doesn't mean you haven't found your peace.

Vickie

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