Tag Archives: Leonard Cohen

Best albums of 2014 according to Uncut Magazine & American Songwriter

uncut 2014 best albums


Two more end-year lists.

Uncut & American Songwriter are my two favorite music magazines & their 2014 lists are good.

Alldylan.com will post our end-year lists sometime in December.

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Leonard Cohen: 1970 Isle of Wight Festival

leonard cohen-wight 1970

Tension had been rising at the festival for days. The promoters had expected a hundred and fifty thousand people but half a million more turned up, many with no intention of paying. Even after the promoters were forced to declare it a free festival, ill will remained. During a set by Kris Kristofferson, bottles were thrown and he was booed offstage. “They were booing everybody,” says Kristofferson. “Except Leonard Cohen.”
~Sylvie Simmons

First off some facts from wikipedia:

The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival was held between 26 and 31 August 1970 at East Afton Farm an area on the western side of the Isle of Wight. It was the last of three consecutive music festivals to take place on the island between 1968 and 1970 and widely acknowledged as the largest musical event of its time, greater than the attendance of Woodstock. Although estimates vary, the Guinness Book of Records estimated 600,000, possibly 700,000 people attended. It was organised and promoted by local brothers, Ronnie, Ray and Bill Foulk. Ron Smith was site manager and Rikki Farr acted as compere.

The preceding Isle of Wight Festivals, also promoted by the Foulks, had already gained a good reputation in 1968 and 1969 by featuring acts such as Jefferson Airplane, T. Rex, The Move, The Pretty Things, Joe Cocker, The Moody Blues (performed at the 1969 festival), The Who, and Bob Dylan in his first performance since his 1966 motorcycle accident.

The 1970 version, following Woodstock in the previous year, set out to move one step forward and enlisted Jimi Hendrix. With Hendrix confirmed, artists such as Chicago, The Doors, Lighthouse, The Moody Blues, The Who, Miles Davis, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Jethro Tull, Sly & the Family Stone, Ten Years After, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Free willingly took up the chance to play there. The event had a magnificent but impractical site, since the prevailing wind blew the sound sideways across the venue, and the sound system had to be augmented by Pink Floyd’s PA. There was a strong, but inconsistent line up, and the logistical nightmare of transporting some 600,000 people onto an island with a population of fewer than 100,000.

Political and logistical difficulties resulted in the organisers eventually realising that the festival would not make a profit and declaring it to be “a free festival”, although the majority of the audience had paid for tickets in advance, and the event was filmed contemporaneously. The commercial failings of the festival ensured it was the last event of its kind on the Isle of Wight for thirty-two years.

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Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems

leonard cohen popular problems

At the age of 80, Leonard Cohen has created a masterpiece. It’s a smoky, late-night concoction delivered with a deceptively light touch that masks deep seriousness.
~Neil McCormick (The Telegraph)

There’s only been one other album this year that’s hit me this hard in the gut: Rosanne Cash’s “The River & The Thread”.

Cohen’s recent album feels like a masterpiece, but I’ve only listened to it for two weeks. It needs to sink in, and by the end of the year (end year lists) we’ll see how it holds up. But for now.. Holy shit! This is wonderful music, must be his best since the brilliant “The Future” (1992).

My Favorite songs so far: Did I ever Love You, Almost Like The Blues, My Oh My,  & Slow.

The lemon trees blossom
The almond trees whither
It’s Spring and it’s Summer
And it’s Winter forever

Did I ever love you
Does it really matter
Did I ever fight you
You don’t need to answer

Did I Ever Love You:

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August 11 in music history

August 11: Charlie Sexton is 46 Happy Birthday (read more)

Charles Wayne Sexton (born August 11, 1968) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter best known for the 1985 hit “Beat’s So Lonely” and as the guitarist for Bob Dylan‘s backing band from 1999 to 2002 and since 2009. His style of playing has varied and he has been associated with artists in the blues, folk, rock and punk genres.

 charlie sexton2
 Shel Talmy (born August 11, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois, United States) is an American record producer, songwriter, arranger best known for his work in London with The Who and The Kinks in the 1960s, with a role in many other English bands including Cat Stevens and Pentangle. Talmy arranged and produced hits such as “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks, “My Generation” by The Who, and “Friday on My Mind” by the Easybeats.  He also played guitar or tambourine on some of his productions.  Shel Talmy 06
 New Skin for the Old Ceremony (released August 11, 1974) is the fourth studio album by Leonard Cohen. On this album, he begins to evolve away from the rawer sound of his earlier albums, with violas, mandolins, banjos, guitars, percussion and other instruments giving the album a more orchestrated (but nevertheless spare) sound. The album is silver in the UK, but never entered the Billboard Top 200.A remastered CD was released in 1995 and in 2009 it was included in Hallelujah – The Essential Leonard Cohen Album Collection, an 8-CD box set issued by Sony Music in the Netherlands.  new skin for old ceremony
 Bob Dylan overdubbed “Joey” @ Studio E, Columbia Recording Studios, New York City, New York – 11 August 1975.  Bob_Dylan-Desire-Frontal
 Joe Jackson (born David Ian Jackson, 11 August 1954, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire) is an English musician and singer-songwriter now living in Berlin, whose five Grammy Award nominations span from 1979 to 2001. He is probably best known for the 1979 hit song and first single “Is She Really Going Out with Him?”, which still gets extensive US FM radio airplay; for his 1982 hit, “Steppin’ Out”; and for his 1984 success with “You Can’t Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)”.  Joe-Jackson

Spotify Playlist – August 11

The Saddest Songs in History: Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson Alexandra Leaving

Alexandra Leaving

The Saddest Songs in History: Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson Alexandra Leaving

Leonard Cohen is a first class melancholic and he has quite a lot of songs that could fit in the “sad song” category. I’ve chosen a lament of lost love, actually it’s about lost love twice(!). It is even harder the second time, because he had given up on that whole “love stuff”. And when I say love, I include lust and desire of course. Sharon Robins is credited as co-writer on this song and her contribution must not be understated.

In concerts, Cohen speaks the opening words of a poem-song he wrote three decades ago, inspired by another poem published in 1911. He reads some lines from his own text and then says,  “Sharon Robinson, ‘Alexandra Leaving’.” (I have never heard a live version where Cohen sings the song himself, if it exists I would be very thankful to get a link in the commentaries.)

Back to the songs meaning.

Alexandra Leaving on Spotify:

It sounds like the protagonist  in the song didn’t plan to love/make love again, but it happened. Now he has to face the devastating loss all over again.
Continue reading The Saddest Songs in History: Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson Alexandra Leaving