Monday, 27 July 2015

Leonard Cohen's Covers

So many people have covered Leonard Cohen. His popularity with musicians is comparable to Elvis, or the Beatles, to Jacques Brel or Brecht and Weil. So to try to come up with a top five Cohen covers is going to be hard, perhaps harder than picking a top five of his own tracks. Difficult or not, let's have a go
Beautiful though it is, 'HALLELUJAH' is not one of my top five Leonard Cohen tracks... his own version is special and so is Jeff Buckley's but listening to IMOGEN HEAP's breathy acapella version, it becomes something new, something that is entirely her own. Beautiful.
When she first came to the notice of the media, I decided I didn't like TORI AMOS without even really giving her a listen. That was wrong of me, as I realised when I heard her singing along with Maynard from Tool in their version of Mohammed My Friend. After that, I listened to much of her stuff and among her lovely covers was a cover of Mr Cohen's "FAMOUS BLUE RAINCOAT"
NICK CAVE's version of I'M YOUR MAN is so firmly fitted into his own ouevre that for a moment, one might forget it's Leonard Cohen's. And yet it's one of Cohen's finest songs as well. Both bring something wonderful to the party. I love it. What more can I say?
BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE doing "THE PARTISAN" is something wholly different. A free woman of the Piapot Cree Nation singing of resistance to the invaders has a different ring to it. And of course, Buffy's voice is something extraordinary, partaking as it does of the prairie winds themselves.
Sorry that Mr Cohen is speaking over this, but it's lovely. I love Antony's voice and it feels so, so very right for this song. ANTONY HEGERTY of Antony and the Johnsons singing "IF IT BE YOUR WILL".
Hurts to leave out. Loads including multiple versions of Hallelujah, The Partisan, and Famous Blue Raincoat.... And if anybody asks, I may add a link to the one I forgot.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Leonard Cohen

Oh my my, Leonard Cohen.  What can I say.  Ever since my music teacher, Marijke turned Class Three Y at Deliverance Grammar School (which included me) onto Cohen back in 1974, I've been a bit of a fan.  never heard a song of his I didn't like.  Never found a band that'd let me do covers of his work (bastards! - whatever my favourites are, I wanna do a cover of The Traitor).

So... top five Leonard Cohen sings Leonard Cohen's songs? Now that is HARD!

Leonard Cohen was a telepath and a prophet.  He could see into our hearts but even more, he could see the future in his crystal ball.  He was so RIGHT.  He still is.  There's a whole load of shit gonna come down this river before the clean meltwater of the former icecaps gets here,  Ladies and Gentlemen! THE FUTURE

Oh! How I was wrong!  You see I did not miss the attack.  I was waiting for the bus to picket the Stockport Messenger back in 1983 and I was kissing a girl I thirsted for.  But I was not what I should have been and I bid farewell and joined my comrades for a futile battle.  I was wrong and I hate to sing this song, but I know I should, in penance.  THE TRAITOR

Tears drip like acid down my ravaged cheeks as I listen.  I don't know how I know how it feels but somehow I do, and I think Cohen had a lot to do with that.  Over and again, they pour across the border (or maybe win by 'democratic' means) and we're cautioned to surrender, but that would break our hearts and sear our souls.  THE PARTISAN

Oh how Leonard gets me.  He knows where I feel so often.  The love that wants to sacrifice, to demand, to offer all and beneath the promises well... I was always a beggar for love, but you know I'd howl just like Leonard.  Yeah  I'M YOUR MAN!

Suzanne was somebody I knew when we were still children of 20 (and yes twenty IS a child) and we would spend nights together in her room talking until the world tasted of coffee and cigarettes and yeah, like the song, she got me.  I was a one and she was at worst a seven so I couldn't imagine why she'd want to know me.  Anyway, this was our song.  SUZANNE.

Hurts like cancer (and yes I know) to leave out: "So Long Marianne"; "Gypsy Wife"; "Famous Blue Raincoat"; "Dance Me to the End of Love"; "Bird on a Wire"; "Stranger Song", "Waiting for the Miracle"; "Halleluiah"; "Darkness"; and so many more.  But oh forget cancer, some of these hurt like gangrene (no, I had to ask my wife about that one).