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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GRACEFUL & MOVING INTERPRETATIONS
This album was released at a time when Cohen was almost forgotten, about seven years before the tribute albums "I'm Your Fan" and "Tower Of Song" would spur renewed interest in his oeuvre. Warnes' interpretations are always graceful and moving. She understands Cohen's music well, having done backing vocals on some of his albums like "Various Positions," and she covers his...
Published on 3 May 2002 by Pieter Uys

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing
What's there is wonderful. Warns voice should have had far wider coverage than it did. It's what's missing that disappoints, too many favorites not included. Why ?
Published on 16 Dec 2011 by chrshwtt


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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GRACEFUL & MOVING INTERPRETATIONS, 3 May 2002
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Famous Blue Raincoat (Audio CD)
This album was released at a time when Cohen was almost forgotten, about seven years before the tribute albums "I'm Your Fan" and "Tower Of Song" would spur renewed interest in his oeuvre. Warnes' interpretations are always graceful and moving. She understands Cohen's music well, having done backing vocals on some of his albums like "Various Positions," and she covers his songs with loving dedication. My favorites include "Aint No Cure" (from Cohen's I'm Your Man), Coming Back To You (from Various Positions), Came So Far For Beauty (from Recent Songs) and of course the formidable Joan Of Arc where Cohen himself sings some of the verses. Her voice is the perfect vehicle for his poetic lyrics of romantic longing and despair, and my only complaint is that I would have loved to hear her interpretations of Suzanne and Sisters Of Mercy too.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous album, 26 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Famous Blue Raincoat (Audio CD)
A wonderful collection of Leonard Cohen songs. All the tracks, unusually, are works of art, there are no fillers here. From the intro of "First we take Manhattan", a completely different version of the original, to the end of "came so far for beauty", the album is captivating. The production is superb and can really challenge a decent hi-fi system. The vocals are natural and come out of an eery black silence. Jennifer is beautiful singer and deserves more recognition. "song for Bernadette" is a seminal moment, don't hurry this album, savour it. Cameos from Leonard himself and Stevie Ray make this album a must.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leonard Cohen made listenable, 3 Jan 2006
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This review is from: Famous Blue Raincoat (Audio CD)
Leonard Cohen writes quite the most beautiful lyrics and music which are more poetry, but unfortunately for me at least always delivers them in a most melancoly monotone style himself which I don't always want. Jennifer Warnes has transformed these songs with bright and musical arrangements, fantastic delivery, expression and her unique wonderful voice and brings them to life.
If you have always wondered what all the fuss was about with Leonard Cohen, this is the introduction you are looking for, perhaps before taking the plunge and going hard core with one of the masters own albums.
Simply superb.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jenny Sings Lenny - Worth every penny!, 14 Nov 2006
By 
Radiophonic Fretless "Tony" (Warwickshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Famous Blue Raincoat (Audio CD)
I first discovered Jennifer Warnes' take of "First we take Manhatten" on a promotional CD from one of the World's leading microphone manufacturers, whose mics had been used to capture the incredibly tight drum sound on this album. It's a spectacular recording which compliments, rather than detracting from, a set of superb musical performances.

Cohen himself is reported to have listened to some of the instrumental takes, before Warnes added her voice, and to have been incredulous that it would work. Apparently he was later rather stunned by the result. He sings in duet with Warnes on "Joan of Arc".

Altogether an excellent interpretation of Cohen's work, a superb range of musical styles, and a CD for the Hi-Fi Buff to die for. In fact, that's the only real caveat - it sounds SO good on decent equipment, that it may lead the buyer down the hi-fi upgrade path!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jenny sings Lenny, 9 Sep 2007
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This original album was released at a time when Cohen was almost forgotten, about seven years before tribute albums like the breathtaking I'm Your Fan and the rather tepid Tower Of Song would spur renewed interest in his work. Warnes' interpretations are always graceful and moving. She understands Cohen's music well, having done backing vocals on albums like Various Positions so she interprets his songs with loving dedication.

My favorites include Aint No Cure For Love from Cohen's I'm Your Man, Coming Back To You and Night Comes On from Various Positions, Came So Far For Beauty and Ballad Of The Runaway Horse from Recent Songs and of course the formidable Joan Of Arc where Cohen himself sings some of the verses. The title track stands out with its smoky sax and desolate ambience whilst the live version of Joan Of Arc really fires on all fours.

Warnes' voice is the perfect vehicle for Cohen's poetic lyrics of romantic longing and resigned despair. The new tracks are superb. She slightly adapted the lyric of Night Comes On to a female perspective, and Ballad Of The Runaway Horse becomes a long excursion with a complex arrangement and a display of great virtuosity in the instrumentation which includes viola and cello.

If It Be Your Will is a straightforward rendition close to the original, and the album ends on a spectacular note with the live version of Joan Of Arc which was recorded in Antwerp in 1992 and includes the Novecento Orchestra and two choirs: Het West Brabants Operakoor and De Tweede Adem, in addition to her regular backing musicians.

The luxurious fold-out CD box contains a booklet with two line drawings by Cohen, full color and black & white photographs, letters from Lenny to Jenny, a short 1956 school essay on St Bernadette by Jenny and information on all the songs. My only complaint is that I would have loved to hear her interpretations of Suzanne and Sisters Of Mercy too.

Other Cohen tribute albums that I recommend are Democracy by Judy Collins, which includes a live version of Song Of Bernadette, the song co-written by Jennifer Warnes, and the soundtack album I'm Your Man with artists like Martha Wainwright, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Jarvis Cocker, Perla Batalla, Nick Cave and U2.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why not ask for more?, 21 July 2007
By 
This review is from: Famous Blue Raincoat (Audio CD)
Can you believe this album is twenty years (+) old? I can't at all. In one instant the time passing has seemed interminable, and in another instant it seems to have passed like the blink of an eye. I remember how I heard about this album. I saw Joan Baez perform at Carnegie Hall in the fall of 1987 and she sang "Famous Blue Raincoat" in her concert. I ran to a record store the next day and, appropriately fevered, bought this album. I was excited because I was a fan of Jennifer Warnes from her Arista Records days ("Right Time of the Night" and "I Know a Heartache When I See One"), and while I knew of her connection to Leonard Cohen (she is credited as background singer Jennifer Warren on Cohen's 1973 album "Live Songs"), finding her singing a full album of Leonard Cohen's material was enough to send my young soul into orbit.

My initial impression on first listening was that "Famous Blue Raincoat" and "Joan of Arc" (duet with Leonard Cohen) were the album's peak moments. Time has not diminished that belief. But the program overall is brilliant as are the performances and production. Jennifer Warnes' vocals do these songs justice. But if you listen to any of her earlier albums, you will find that she enhances the quality of all of the songs she sings. This disc is as exciting to listen to twenty years later as it was when it was first released.

P.S.: Just read that an expanded version of this album is to be released in the near future. How fortunate for us!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ain't no cure for Cohen, 2 Jan 2010
By 
A. Willard (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Famous Blue Raincoat (Audio CD)
This is the Leonard Cohen album for people who've never heard the originals. Of course Jennifer Warnes is a far better `singer' than Cohen but there's a few on here which would have a true Cohenite twitching (`First We Take Manhattan' is, if you've heard the original, something of a travesty).

But - but - but the title track is beautiful, absolutely stunning; the old boy turns up himself to add gravitas to `Joan Of Arc' and Warnes really does have a fabulous voice and the arrangements are, for the most part, really rather good.

Ok, ok I didn't want to like it - I was going to get all snotty about it - but, gulp!, I can't help it. I like the damn thing
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly remastered deluxe edition of a unique and classic album, 16 Jan 2010
By 
Hindburn (Church Stretton, Shropshire, England) - See all my reviews
The original CD issue of this excellent collection of Leonard Cohen songs by the peerless singer Jennifer Warnes was a bit subdued sounding, but the sound on this remastered edition is first rate and puts the power back into these heartfelt interpretive performances. The three bonus studio tracks and one live performance also really enhance the original album. The presentation of the package and booklet is very good, though it is a mystery why the lyrics were not included, as they were on the original CD version. Adding to the (probably unintended) sense of mystery is the fact that none of the people in the numerous portrait photos are identified. Hence apart from Jenny, Lenny, Roscoe Beck and Van Dyke Parks I haven't a clue who all the other characters are! Never mind, it's a great record and one of the most memorable albums of the 1980s.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums of the late 20th century, 23 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Famous Blue Raincoat (Audio CD)
This is an exceptionally beautiful set of songs on one album. Undoubtedly Leonard Cohen was right in letting Jennifer Warnes sing his music. She has the passion, the insight, and the depth to bring these songs to life in a way which ---- oddly ---- Leonard Cohen's quavering voice seems unable to do. Mind you, this album is a tribute to Cohen's ability as a poet and composer. I wholeheartedly recommend this album. By the way, my wife does love this album; it was she who introduced me to it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have all missed the best track!, 20 July 2006
By 
Mrs. D. Teare "oohmeconkers" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Famous Blue Raincoat (Audio CD)
In all of the reviews no one has mentioned the title track (famous blue raincoat)this is one of the most impassioned pieces of music ever recorded with a sax solo to make men weep.

On a good hifi with the lights down low listen to the torment in the words and be grateful its not you!! Seriously though it is a seminal album and one i have played now for many years always returning to it and being blown away. Buy it.
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Famous Blue Raincoat
Famous Blue Raincoat by Jennifer Warnes (Audio CD)
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