Monday, January 17, 2011


It was long ago, during the Cretaceous period (likewise, known as the late 1960’s) when I was in high school, that I first learned of Leonard Cohen. It was his Suzanne that brought him to my attention, though now, like the proverbial chicken versus egg, I can’t recall if it was his version or Judy Collins’ which I heard first. This was long before the days of FM became the norm; he wasn’t the sort who’d make it to AM radio. None of my friends were huge Leonard Cohen fans and although I liked the song, I wasn’t going to buy his LP. In those days, I was a Beatles/ Dylan and Donovan enthusiast. To make a long story short – I didn’t hear a lot of his music.

OK, I once owned an album with Joe Cocker doing Bird On A Wire but hearing his cover didn’t convince me that I should run out and purchase a Leonard Cohen LP.

Jumping ahead, to the mid 70’s, I was slightly smitten with a young lady who really loved Cohen. One afternoon, while I was visiting her, she played one of his albums for me and I found the music so depressing that I was immediately turned off both Cohen and this particular young women.

I hadn’t given the song writer much thought until recently when I came across an article at The Catholic entitled Baptism of Desire where the author writes his dislike of Leonard’s Hallelujah being sung before Catholic masses. After reading that piece, I went to Pandora Radio and created a Leonard Cohen “station” to bring myself up to date of his music.

It was at Pandora Radio that I first heard the likes of First We Take Manhattan and I’m Your Man (from the CD of the same name). As I mentioned in my post, Don’t Pay the Ransom , I ordered the CD from Probably the most surprising thing to me (even more surprising than the synthesizers) is that the music was recorded in 1988. I like most of the music on the CD; I don’t understand why I wasn't familiar with it until now. It’s the sort of thing I would have enjoyed listening to back then. I’m fairly certain that I had been listening to it when it was new, the music would have had an influence on my playing. I can hear my own guitar parts even now, though arthritis prevents me from actually playing it.

I've added another Leonard Cohen CD to my wish list ...... this one much newer than I'm Your Man. This one is from 2001; Ten New Songs with Sharon Robinson.

Who knows? Maybe one day I'll make it to 2010.

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