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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mr. Cohen

Every year on his birthday I listen exclusively to Leonard Cohen. Inevitably something else sneaks in from somewhere, but it's still one hell of an immersion experience. Since this is the first year I've had a blog on Leonard's birthday, it seems only right to celebrate by sharing what might be my favorite song of his. I say might be because, of course, the competition is pretty stiff.

Leonard Cohen - "Famous Blue Raincoat"

Basically, no one else can write like this. This is one of Leonard's greatest compositions, a story song (a veritable short-story, actually) in the form of a letter that sacrifices nothing. Not poetics or imagery, not melody, nothing. I especially love the way he reveals the details of the story so carefully, accomplishing as much with what's hinted at as with what's shown. Case in point: the third verse, where he begrudgingly admits "I'm glad you stood in my way". In my mind, it's crystal clear what his brother stood in the way of, but part of the beauty of this story is that each listener gets to fill in the details themselves.

And don't ever let anyone tell you Leonard Cohen doesn't have a beautiful voice. I realize this is coming from the distinct perspective of someone who considers Bob Dylan and Corin Tucker to be two of the greatest singers ever, but just listen to the way Leonard sings this. This vocal, in itself, is poetry.

This stunning, dare I say haunting song comes from Leonard's third album, 1971's Songs Of Love And Hate. There's no excuse for not at least giving this masterpiece a try.

Happy birthday, Mr. Cohen. Thank you.

Leonard Cohen's Website

Monday, September 19, 2005

All Apologies

I feel the need to drop a short note of apology for my recent absence. In my line of work, this is literally the busiest week of the year. Without going into detail, let me just say that I've worked a grand total of 62 hours this week. Now you feel me.

It's going to take me a few days still to recuperate. Hopefully by the end of the week we'll be back in the swing of things. In the meantime, please take the time to listen to this truly outrageous masterpiece:

The Party Party - "Sunday Bloody Sunday"

Listening to G-Dub has never been so bearable. I haven't heard any other tracks by these folks, but it looks like there's plenty more at The Party Party's website. Let me know if any of them are worth checking.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Little Bundle Of Joy

The elder statesman of rock 'n' roll. The man who reinvented songwriting in the '60s. The dude who wiggle wiggled his way out of a fanbase, who went both domestic and dogmatic by the end of the '70s and disappeared up his own leather-bound ass, only to emerge from Brownsville with Jerry Garcia and a jheri curl in the '80s, and unexpectedly returned with a face to match his voice in the late '90s. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Columbia recording artist...

Bob Dylan - "Down Along The Cove [Live]"

Bob Dylan - "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight [Live]"

What we have here are a couple more performances from Bob's most recent tour. A friend requested them a while back, but I didn't want to post them too hot on the heels of my last Dylan post, else cool hand bak be accused of favoritism. This version of "Down Along The Cove" is from the March 11 show in Portland, Oregon, while "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" was recorded in Calgary, Alberta on July 24.

Anyone who hasn't already done so should pick up the seventh volume of The Bootleg Series, which doubles as the soundtrack to the upcoming Martin Scorsese documentary No Direction Home, scheduled to air on PBS on September 26 and 27.

Bob Dylan will next return to the stage on October 17 in Stockholm, Sweden, and he'll proceed to tour the bejesus out of Europe for more than a month. Exact tour dates and other information is, as always, readily available at the man's website.

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