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

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:55 pm
by vlcoats
B4 and 4-

Thank you both for all of your thoughts, speculation, and info on the upcoming album! I loved the links from B4, and believe Curt is right in saying that B4 is not only a wealth of knowledge, but for some reason a master at organization in keeping it all at her fingertips. I think the key to knowing where to find your stuff is to refrain from moving about from place to place as much as possible. Every time I move, I have to remember what I had, what I threw away, and what I was wise enough to keep. Then comes the real question... so where is it? Even electronic files seem to get lost with moving internet providers, new electronics, etc.

I particularly liked your link to the Bryn Mawr concert Bev, however Curt is right that the quality was a little sad. Although every single Leonard album has at least one song (and often 10!) that I can't imagine life without, I feel particularly drawn to the albums he released in the 70s, from SOLAH to Recent Songs and the live album Field Commander Cohen (although technically, that album wasn't released until 2001). True, the album I like to call the "Death" album was also released during the 70s (1977), but it is redeemed by Memories, and I very often wonder how the rest of the songs on that album would have come out if they had been produced by somebody like Lissauer instead of muddied beyond repair by Spector. I would love if there was a song or two on the 'new' album from the 70s or even the early 80s. I confess that I was holding a secret flame of hope that the concert showing in Hydra would have been from that era also, not that I was disappointed in what was offered instead!

Having said all that, I think it more likely that what will be released will be material recorded after his final tour, but this is another favorite time period for me, so I will be happy either way. Like I have said before, I trust whatever Adam sees fit to bring forward will be gratefully received by all.

I have good news. Dave has finally stopped asking me, "So when are you going to get over this Leonard thing?" I think he has happily accepted him as part of our lives from now on. In fact, when we arrived in Hydra and he asked, "So what have you gotten us into this time, Leonard?" I could tell that he was happy to be in whatever circumstances that develop due to this "Leonard thing".

So good to hear from you both on the thread again! ;-)


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

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:57 pm
by its4inthemorning
If you recall, way back I mentioned a group from the Netherlands, Ricky and Slinger," and how they created "rock" versions of three songs from SOLAH. The three songs were Famous Blue Raincoat, Last Year's Man, and Love Calls You by Your Name. I generally dislike covers of Leonard's songs, but found these interesting (and Love Calls You compelling) in their attempt to transform the songs into an entirely different genre, something that seems almost impossibly difficult to me.

Today I received a PM from Rene (Ricky) asking me to check out another Cohen cover, the Stranger Song, and my initial listen was quite enjoyable. No Cohen acoustic guitar, but the lyrics remain true (with the exception of a small tribute to the Doors at the very end). Here is the link:

If interested, the other three Cohen covers can be found quite easily enough via google.

Curious of others' thoughts.


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

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:16 am
by vlcoats
Hi 4!

Thank you very much for the link to the cover of the Stranger Song (one of my favorites of course)!
I loved it!

I was scared before seeing it that they might massacre the tune or the lyrics. Thankfully they didn't do either! Unless you would call the Doors segue a massacre, which I wouldn't. It was a little reminiscent of Field Commander Cohen and the 'drinking rum and coca-cola' segue.

My only complaint is that I wish Ricky and the Slingers would have taken more advantage of using the visuals to reveal their interpretation of the lyrics. Maybe they just wanted to portray a general mood, which they did very well, but I have always felt this song was a story of some importance, not just a vague train of thought. But then again, maybe they were telling a story with the video that I wasn't able to see or maybe the Stranger Song was just a vague train of thought after all. Although that doesn't sound like Leonard does it? To me it is one of those instances where Leonard is both the person on the outside who is recording the story and the one on the inside who the story is about.

Thank you again for sharing it 4!!


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

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:08 pm
by its4inthemorning
September 2018: "A new album of original Leonard Cohen songs is in the works, says son Adam.....A new album, he says, can be expected next year."

The more I think about what this new album might be like, the more uncertain I become. It initially seemed logical that the album would continue the progression from Old Ideas to Popular Problems to You Want it Darker. Now I am starting to doubt that.

The songs on these three albums (at least many of them) seem to be akin to what, in US court proceedings, are termed as the "closing arguments." These songs look back over a lifetime of experiences. Sometimes that is all they do (My Oh My), but usually they apply what that was learned over the years to arrive at judgments or conclusions, sometimes for atonement, other times just to offer explanation. The problem with the theory that the new album will continue the progression of the previous three is You Want it Darker--its songs have such a profound sense of finality that progressing from that state does not seem possible.

Hopefully the timetable alluded at the top will hold, and we will not have to speculate very much longer!

BTW, I noted when I logged on that this thread has now had more than 100,000 views. If you're reading this, consider adding your thoughts about the new album or almost anything else Cohenesque.


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

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:49 pm
by Jean Fournell
I'm very much with you.
(Concerning "My Oh My", I beg to differ. I can't help linking this song to the Flower Sermon.)
Somewhere, as my memory has it, Leonard Cohen said something to the effect that the rest (to come) was music, or mostly. Which would be coherent, even though one should never trust people like him…

When he asked the ladies not to stop their "Doo-dum-dum-dum", claiming that he had found the answer to the deepest of human questions, then professing that the answer to this question is "Doo-dum-dum-dum doo-dee-dum-dum-dum", he basically said the same thing.
The answer to the deepest of human questions is that we are dynamically alive in a dynamic, living world. No static word nor library can grasp that ("If I didn't have your love to make it real") music can, sometimes with words that are not even in the dictionary (music being dynamic).

But I do hope that he will sing (or at least recite) "Happens to the Heart" on that album to come.

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

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:10 pm
by its4inthemorning

You present a viewpoint (concerning the new album) that I had not at all considered, that it might focus more on the music than lyrics. I do recall comments made shortly before or after LC's death (I think by Patrick Leonard) indicating that work was going on to create music-only versions of some songs, a la ""String Reprise/Treaty" from YWID. Maybe someone (B4, are you here?) can track those comments down.

Fans, myself included, tend to place a far greater emphasis on his lyrics than his music for obvious reasons, but I believe LC was always aware that [SONG = LYRICS + TUNE] and developed his music accordingly. The fact that he came up with so many compelling, yet different, tunes over the years always amazes me. Creating tunes may be harder than creating lyrics, for LC eventually relied on help from Sharon and perhaps others, especially on his last albums where Patrick Leonard had so much to do with the tunes.

If the new album is to come out this year (as implied by Adam last September), I think (hope) we should begin hearing something about it in the not-too-distant future.

BTW Jean, could you enlighten me on the "Flower Sermon," I am not familiar with it.


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

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:23 pm
by its4inthemorning
Re the new album, I see there was a Rolling Stone story from last September about the new album that I had totally forgotten about, which sheds some light on the direction of the album via these quotes from Adam:

"...I believe that there are some really beautiful songs of Leonard Cohen that no one's heard that are at some point going to come out," he said, adding that unlike the songs on You Want it Darker, which reflected on death, the tone of this material "resembles his older work, something more romantic." "There are these songs that exist that he wanted finished, these incredible powerful readings that were set to music," he explained. "It's going to surprise and delight."

This is far different from the music-only album I alluded to in my previous post. Maybe there are two separate projects in the works!


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

Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:34 am
by Jean Fournell
Hm, the vinyls of old used to have two sides. Maybe there will be one part songs (or poetry with music) and one part music only.
And maybe it's something totally different…

its4inthemorning wrote: BTW Jean, could you enlighten me on the "Flower Sermon," I am not familiar with it.
Well, I might try to give a few indications:

The Flower Sermon is a mythical, wordless sermon, written and attributed to the historical Buddha (Siddharta Gautama) some 15 centuries after his death, in the 11th century.
In this sermon, through picking a flower and turning it by the stem between thumb and forefinger, the Buddha gives direct transmission to Mahakashyapa or Mahakashyapa, through his smile, accepts direct transmission from the Buddha.
This a-historical transmission from one buddha to the next, without words, is an important element in both Rinzai and Soto zen, a kind of informal koan.

Here's what Wikipedia says about the Flower Sermon:

And here's what my little "Some by maturing, some by germination" says about it (the 3rd stanza and the "afterthought"): ... 11&t=36619

Mahakashyapa accepts transmission with a smile, and the Buddha does not ask him why.

The narrator in the song "My Oh My" says:
"Drove you to the station
Never asked you why
All the boys are waving
Trying to catch your eye"

and we can infer that she accepts with a smile.

There is no point in asking why.


(But there's a lot more to it, of course.)

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

Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:16 am
by B4real
its4inthemorning wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:10 pm
I do recall comments made shortly before or after LC's death (I think by Patrick Leonard) indicating that work was going on to create music-only versions of some songs, a la ""String Reprise/Treaty" from YWID. Maybe someone (B4, are you here?) can track those comments down.
Hi 4, Here you go :) ... -rb-album/

We were in the middle of a bunch of stuff,” Patrick Leonard tells EW. “We were going to try to make an R&B record—for real. There are four, five, six songs that are sitting there, and they’re good.” (And by R&B, he clarifies, he means more “old-school Otis,” not R. Kelly — “just those sorts of simple grooves and great bass lines.”)

“We were all over a few things that were too damn cool,” Patrick Leonard says.

“We also had this string record going, which was inspired by the ‘Treaty’ reprise [on Darker] and there are 10 arrangements, many of them recorded already: ‘Anthem,’ ‘Suzanne,’ ‘Bird on a Wire,’ ‘Sisters of Mercy’ — I don’t have the full list with me but there’s six more. They’re done just like ‘Treaty’ and they’re beautiful. So that may find its way out just because I loved it and he loved it — this thing of trying to discover the essence and the center of those old records and those lyrics without actually having the lyrics in it at all. It’s an interesting exercise, right? That’s part of the craft I think of doing these arrangements, that you give people the space to find their way into it. That it doesn’t ever push you away from it, it pulls you in.”

As far as how and when any posthumous recordings may be released, he isn’t sure, he says, “whether LC left any provisions for what will happen now. He and I had talked about the string record, and he said, ‘I might not see it finished, but I’d like it to be finished no matter what.’

The R&B stuff, there’s very little of that that has him on it [vocally], and that’s something that couldn’t exist without him. But we had many songs started and some of them finished, very near completion but not recorded. I don’t know what will happen,” Leonard said, his voice breaking. “The suddenness of his passing precludes that.”
Plus some discussion here -
Surveys: Leonard’s R&B album ... t=released

Unfortunately, the relative CBC radio audio link in the above link is no longer active but if you do a search there you will find that at the moment there are 1437 LC related interviews you can listen to 8)

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

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2019 6:47 am
by vlcoats
Hello everyone (B4, 4, Jean, Alan, and anyone else who has joined us on this 'alpha' journey),

I very much need to talk to you guys right now. I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed.

I am thinking about what B4 said a long time ago, regarding Leonard's last album (YWID). She said that she didn't want to listen to it right away. That is how I feel right now! I know I can listen to the first released song (The Goal) if I want too. It is there waiting for me.... but I didn't even read the words of the poem until I saw Jarkko's post. I am only on page 143 of my edition of the Book of Longing (The poem I am on is called The Drunk is Gender-Free, and Leonard made me laugh out loud by apologizing, "if I left a woman out" As it there is a woman alive, or a man for that matter, that he could leave out!), and I see that The Goal is on page 153. When I read Jarkko's post of this poem and the words:
No one to follow
and nothing to teach
except that the goal
falls short of the reach
it made me think of our conversations about the ox herding pictures and what Leonard was looking for and what he found or didn't find, and what all of us are looking for. Mostly it made me feel that what we are looking for has been there all along, just like all of the sappy Disney movies and songs say. Maybe we just try too hard and need to knock it off.

So here I am... torn between wanting to listen to the song NOW or waiting to listen to all of the songs when they come out together on November 22nd. I want so badly to hear them now along with the rest of you, and I want to hear more of him, but maybe I am afraid how I will feel when there are no more new songs. Or maybe I am just being greedy and wanting to save it all up for as long as possible.

So, are you (4, B4, Alan, and Jean) listening to it already? I suppose you are................. Aargh!

Missing you all,

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

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:17 am
by B4real
Hi Vickie,
That was good timing – I’ve just posted an image in Hartmut's thread after watching and listening to The Goal ;-)
To my ears it's the same version as in the recent Book of Longing audio release but set to a musical background.

Yes, I did do and say that about YWID album because I really thought it could be the last official one ever :(
But in this case I think TFTD is not the last one! As I’ve written above there’s maybe another, somewhat different, one still to come. Who knows, it could turn out to be like Elvis who did so many takes on songs that RCA are still releasing them!

I say, do what your heart tells you to do!

I too miss all the fun we had but there is more to come here and elsewhere with discussing the new album soon 8)

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

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:13 am
by AlanM
Hi Vickie et al,
I think you have expressed the eternal conflict as to whether anticipation savored is better or worse than a surprise immediately experienced.
Do you prefer looking forward to the party or get a surprise for which you are totally unprepared?
If you see the cake, do you want your portion now, or do you wait until The Guests arrive?
I can't remember the exact quote from Leonard, but it went along the lines of "what is the point of achievement?"
Longing, the build up of anticipation, the journey are all as important, sometimes more so, than the destination.
I will wait for the cake (album), but I did sneak a little bit of icing where nobody would notice (I listened once).

Now, I've probably confused you more, but be comfortable in your choice.


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

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:13 pm
by Jean Fournell
Vickie, on your "alpha journey" through the songs, you have caught up with the present, you are up to date.
So there is nothing left to interfere with doing whatever you like listen to the foretaste, or wait until 22nd November.

Now, I'm aware that this won't be very helpful… ;-)

Myself I spent more than an hour listening over and over again to "The Goal".

Those who said it before well, they are right: Leonard Cohen lives.

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

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:40 am
by vlcoats
Jean Fournell wrote: Vickie, on your "alpha journey" through the songs, you have caught up with the present, you are up to date.
So there is nothing left to interfere with doing whatever you like.
Of course Jean is right.

Although I have pre-ordered Thanks for the Dance on Amazon, I will be waiting until Nov 22nd, or even later (Nov give myself a very special birthday present) before I listen to any of the songs. Not because I am trying to prove myself by practicing any kind of special restraint, but because, like Alan suggested, I am the kind of person that enjoys the anticipation and wants to spoil themselves and make a big deal out of things ;-)

Although, I have tried to stay away from too much discussion regarding the new album, I would have to be blind to have not seen the track titles. They are even on Instagram (the only social media that I partake in-- as @vlcoats-- although it is now owned by Facebook and no less corrupt). Anyway, I am making a wish regarding the track It's Torn and guessing it will be related to the poster I received from 4 after we attended the Tower of Song tribute in Montreal. Curt (is4inthemorning) and his wife Joann had purchased the VIP packages, which means they received 2 copies of the "Come Gather" lithographs. Being Curt, he gifted Dave and I with their "extra" poster. It hangs in our library/spare room, and I am looking at it now. I love it very much.

Tonight is Rosh Hashanah, as well as my own father's birthday. Although I don't pretend to honor any of the special days as they are to be honored, it has always marked the beginning of the holidays for me (Judeo-Christian at least), and I like that Leonard came and went (being born and died) around this time of year... when we look to giving thanks for the things that are important and marking the passing of time. We are all so lucky here.

L'shana Tovah everyone!

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

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:33 am
by B4real
Hi Vickie, I'm not trying to suck you into talking about the new album (ha!) but I couldn't resist adding these variants to the lithograph 4 most kindly gave you 8) Spot the differences ;-)

15 poems book-1.jpg
Fifteen Poems

The Grim Days

Come Gather OI tour 2012.jpg
Come Gather

The last image here is the very first image in The Flame and is also there on pages 28 and 116. :)

btw - I haven't pre-ordered the album yet. For some unknown reason, I always seem to wait until about a week after it's released!