- Audio CD (3 Feb. 1997)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Live
- Label: Sony Music Cmg
- ASIN: B000007VW5
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,182 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Live Songs Live
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180 grams audiophile vinyl / 2011 Remastered Edition
About the Artist
When Cohen became known as a musician in his late 30's with his albums 'Songs Of Leonard Cohen' and the sophomore 'Songs From A Room', people were surprised that his music seemed to come out fully formed. Many were familiar with his work as an author and poet, but did not know that he had been a musician for most of his life. For Cohen, making music was another way to bring his poetry to the people. The dark thrall of his songs portray an artist that is ever able to trace the hidden contours of love, lust, sex, religion, politics and history. 'Live Songs' was released in 1973; Cohen's fourth album was a collection of recordings made at a number of concerts in Europe between 1970 and 1973. The collection consists of songs from 1969's 'Songs From A Room', such as 'Bird On A Wire', 'Story of Isaak' and a new version of 'Seems So Long Ago, 'Nancy' (now simply dubbed 'Nancy'), and a number of new songs. The epic climax is unmistakably the 13-minute 'Please Don t Pass Me By (A Disgrace)', in which Cohen describes his personal descent into hell & oblivion. The song tormented Cohen to such a degree that he rarely sang it again. A beautiful collection of songs that shows Cohen in his most raw & vulnerable moments... --This text refers to the Vinyl edition.
Top Customer Reviews
These live performances come from 1970 (Isle Of Wight and Albert Hall) and 1972 (various European locations) and there is a noticeable difference in attitude and sound quality between the two dates: 1970 is rowdy, with Cohen fronting a big(sounding) band. 'Tonight Will Be Fine' here gets a very different treatment (and gains two extra verses) from its sombre original on Songs From A Room - and I've often wondered if this trick inspired Dylan to pull a similar stunt with his songbook on his 1974 tour (captured on 'Before The Flood'). 'Please Don't Pass Me By', the other track from that year is parenthesised as 'A Disgrace' - an occasion when Cohen allowed his vulnerability to show before an audience in a way that he felt personally humiliating. It may not be something you'll want to hear that often, but when you're in the mood, it can be suitably cathartic. 'Passin' Through' (not a Cohen song) is a pleasant performance of a thought-provoking lyric. I sing and play this one myself a lot, and I learned it from this recording.
I prefer the 1972 selections: Cohen seems calmer, more professional and his band provide him with a sympathetically muted backing. 'Bird', 'Isaac', 'Nancy' and 'You Know Who I Am' all surpass the studio originals.
Which leaves us with 'Minute Prologue' - a short 'prequel' to the main programme, 'Queen Victoria', an old poem set 'spontaneously' to music in a hotel room and 'Improvisation', a rather pointless digression on the 'You Know Who I Am' riff. Never understood why this was included....Read more ›
The brief intro Minute Prologue & the songs Passing Thru, Please Don't Pass Me By & Queen Victoria are rare, if not unique to this album. It would be great if studio versions existed. The prologue expresses something quite meaningful for devoted fans, the yearning Passing Through ("glad that I ran into you") is tuneful and rhythmic, colored by scriptural imagery and a clever pun or two whilst the mystical masterpiece You Know Who I Am gets a delicate & reverential treatment.
Bird On A Wire has a brief spoken introduction in French, something about searching for freedom in the heart of the night, and the lyrics slightly stray from the original in a few places. The centerpiece of the album is the 14-minute long Please Don't Pass Me By (A Disgrace) with its spoken sections and harrowing, almost unbearably painful message. Some very perturbing truths about the human condition are conveyed in this anguished performance. Phew! A more digestible song in the same vein is The Captain on Various Positions.
The sensual track Tonight Will Be Fine is performed up-tempo with appealing fiddle and banjo.Read more ›
As usual packing and delivery was excellent.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
great to discover a collection by Leonard previously unheard by myselfPublished 7 months ago by Rubecula
Once again I like it very much, although I think I prefer his more recent music.
However, better late than never!
Some songs sound really bad, this is a patchwork not worth buying. Cohen is always a guaranty, not the producers.Published on 3 July 2012 by Lucazest