November 10, 2016

20,000 Vinyl LPs 73: Leonard Cohen ~ I'm Your Man

cover photo by Graeme Mitchell
photo of album cover by Styrous®

Today I learned Leonard Cohen died. I was stunned! As with all musicians I have loved, I always thought them immortal. It's a shock each time to realize that he or she was not. We never seem to remember history. Perhaps that's the lesson this week is trying to teach us.   

I have followed the music of Cohen since his first album in 1967, Songs of Leonard Cohen. Suzanne is one of the most unique songs of all times and Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye is a beautiful tune about a sad subject: ending a love affair.     


Leonard Cohen in the 1970s 
photo by Brian Moody/REX/Shutterstock




So, out comes my favorite album he did, I'm Your Man. I am not alone in that opinion; millions of people feel that way. And I tried to figure out which song on it was my favorite. That proved to be an impossible task; they are all brilliantly written and performed.   

The title song, I'm Your Man, is the essence of eroticism due to the husky, raspy, cigarettes 'n whiskey voice of Cohen. Sensual and dreamy, it oozes seduction.  
             
The bouncy, determined gallop of Everybody knows is the essence of the love of your life, and maybe even your life, gone sour. It vividly expresses the bitter feeling of disappointment and loss. The song is eerily appropriate for what has happened this week. The original studio version is on YouTube (link below).
       
Ain't No Cure For Love is a nice treatment of a love over and lost. Aaron Neville does a great country/western with female backup version that is smooth and lovely.      

Jazz Police is down-right scary! However, the female harmonies on the choruses are beautifully executed minor keys that are a delight. He has a knack for coating the ugly with beauty.    

Take This Waltz is a gentle, dreamy waltz (what else?) with the feel of days gone by, perhaps pre-war days. It was originally released as part of the 1986 Federico García Lorca tribute album. There are splendidly shot videos on YouTube of Cohen performing exquisite harmonies on this song as well as Tower of Love with Julie Christensen and Perla Batalla.    

Ana Belén does an elegant cover of Take This Waltz under the title, 'Pequeño vals vienés'. Enrique Morente also does an excellent cover of Waltz, as well as a Bauhaus inspired, flameco/hard rock version of First We Take Manhattan; it's a total stunner!        

Even though it is a melancholy album, it is a brilliant one. And it reflects the events and mood of this last week (links to songs on YouTube below).   


Leonard Cohen - 1988 
 photo by Roland Godefroy



Cohen was born on September 21, 1934 in Westmount, Quebec, an English-speaking area of Montreal. He frequented Saint Laurent Boulevard, where he went for fun, and ate at places such as the Main Deli Steak House. According to journalist David Sax, the Main Deli was where Cohen and one of his cousins would go to "watch the gangsters, pimps, and wrestlers dance around the night." Cohen also enjoyed visiting the previously raucous bars of Old Montreal as well as Saint Joseph's Oratory, which had the closest restaurant near Westmount where he and his friend Mort Rosengarten could go for coffee and a smoke. After moving out of Westmount, Cohen purchased a place in the previous working-class neighbourhood of Montrea's Little Portugal on Saint-Laurent Boulevard where he read his poetry at various surrounding clubs. It is also during his time there in the small neighborhood that he wrote the lyrics to what would become some of his most famous songs.


photo by Luke Macgregor/Reuters



Cohen died on November 7, 2016, at his home in Los Angeles. His death was not announced until the 10th of November. He was 82 years old.    

His funeral was held on Nov 10, 2016 in Montreal, at a cemetery on Mount Royal, his congregation Shaar Hashomayim confirmed. As was his wish, Cohen was laid to rest with a Jewish rite in a family plot. A memorial is planned to take place in Los Angeles at a future date.





Track list:

Side 1:

1 - First We Take Manhattan - Coordinator [Production] Roscoe Beck, Mixed By [Studio 55, Los Angeles], Frank Wolfe*, Performer, Arranged By Jeff Fisher - 5:59

2 - Ain't No Cure For Love - Bass – Peter Kisilenko, Drums – Vinnie Colaiuta, Guitar – Bob Stanley*, Keyboards, Arranged By Jeff Fisher, Saxophone – Richard Baudet, Vocals [Ad Lib] – Jennifer Warnes- 4:49

3 - Everybody Knows - Arranged By, Keyboards – Leonard Cohen Engineer [Dms Studios, Montreal] – Roger Guérin*, Mixed By [Rock Steady, Second] – Fred Deschamps*, Oud – John Bilezikjian, Producer, Arranged By, Keyboards – Michel Robidoux, Vocals – Jennifer Warnes, Written By Sharon Robinson - 5:33

4 - I’m Your Man - Coordinator [Production] – Roscoe Beck, Drums – Tom Brechtlein, Engineer [Dms Studios, Montreal] – Roger Guérin, Keyboards – Leonard Cohen, Producer, Drums [Fill] – Michel Robidoux - 4:25

Side 2:

1 - Take This Waltz - Arranged By, Performer – Jean-Philippe Rykiel, Engineer [Stagg Street Studio, Los Angeles] – Kevin Beauchamp, Engineer [Studio Montmartre, Paris] – Jean-Jacques Peruchon, Mixed By [Studio 55, Los Angeles] – Frank Wolfe*, Producer – Gean-Michel Reusser*, Violin – Raffi Hakopian, Vocals – Jennifer Warnes, Vocals – Elisabeth Valletti, Evelyine Hebey*, Mayel Assouly - 5:58

2 - Jazz Police - Drums [Additional] – Vinnie Colaiuta, Performer, Written & Arranged By – Jeff Fisher - 3:51

3 - I Can't Forget - Drums – Vinnie Colaiuta, Engineer [Rock Steady, Los Angeles] – Billy Youdelman, Keyboards – Larry Cohen, Percussion – Lenny Castro, Piano – Leonard Cohen, Producer, Arranged By – Roscoe BeckSteel, Guitar – Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Vocals [With] – Jennifer Warnes, Jude Johnstone - 4:29

4 - Tower Of Song - Arranged By, Performer – Leonard Cohen, Engineer [With] – François Deschamps, Vocals – Jennifer Warnes - 5:37

Leonard Cohen ‎– I'm Your Man

Label: Columbia ‎– FC 44191
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1988
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style: Synth-pop



Net links:           

Leonard Cohen ~ I'm Your Man: the lyrics
Leonard Cohen website
Leonard Cohen Discography
The New Yorker ~ Leonard Cohen: A Final Interview              
                
Leonard Cohen songs on YouTube:      
       
Leonard Cohen ~ I'm Your Man      
Leonard Cohen ~ Everybody Knows    
Leonard Cohen ~ Jazz Police    
Leonard Cohen  ~ Tower of Song   
Leonard Cohen  ~ Tower of Song  (video)        
Leonard Cohen ~ Ain't No Cure For Love            
Aaron Neville ~ Ain't No Cure For Love             
Leonard Cohen ~ Take This Waltz     
Leonard Cohen ~ Take This Waltz           
Ana Belén, 'Pequeño vals vienés'       
Enrique Morente ~ Take This Waltz       
Enrique Morente y Lagartija Nick ~ First we Take Manhattan      

           






Leonard Cohen
Los Angeles, September 24, 2016. 
photo by Graeme Mitchell
The New Yorker magazine




He's My Man!





Styrous® ~ Thursday, November 10, 2016


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