Posts Tagged ‘Leonard Cohen’

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“Avalanche” was the first Leonard Cohen song Nick Cave ever heard, as the lead-off track to Cohen’s third album “Songs of Love and Hate”. Cave comments  “I discovered Leonard Cohen with Songs of Love and Hate,” Cave said in a 1994 interview on French radio. “I listened to this record for hours in a friend’s house. I was very young and I believe this was the first record that really had an effect on me. In the past, I only listened to my brother’s records. I liked what he liked, followed him like a sheep. Leonard Cohen was the first one I discovered by myself. He is the symbol of my musical independence. I remember these other guys that came to my friend’s house that thought Songs of Love and Hate was too depressing. I’ve realized that this ‘depression’ theory was ridiculous. The sadness of Cohen was inspiring, it gave me a lot of energy. I always remember all this when someone says that my records are morbid or depressing.”

Fittingly, Nick Cave’s cover was probably the first song of his many heard, as the lead-off track of his first album with longtime backing back the Bad Seeds in 1984. Thirty-one years and a few other Cohen covers later (“Hallelujah,” “I’m Your Man,” “Tower of Song,” “Suzanne,” “Dress Rehearsal Rag”) Cave has revisited that first song for the Starz pirate show Black Sails. It strips it back to just a piano and haunting violin, presumably played by Cave’s longtime collaborator Warren Ellis.

Fairport Convention remain a footnote in the careers of Richard Thompson, who was already growing into one of the most remarkable guitarists in British folk and rock , The band also included Ian Matthews and Ric Grech among others.  Heralded as one of the truly great folk rock British bands of the late ’60s. Initially inspired by American rock and folk  ( the band started out as the U.K.’s response to Jefferson Airplane as you can certainly hear in this song ) , they were immersed in songs by such artists as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, the Everly Brothers and Leonard Cohen. Though their take on “Suzanne” which failed to end up on their debut LP, a version was finally released on “Heyday”, a 1987 collection of BBC recordings. first released in 1987. As its title suggests, it consists of live versions of songs recorded for John Peels’s Top Gear radio programmes. They electrify the song and give it an edge only hinted at in the Leonard Cohen original with the gorgeous vocal of Sandy Denny’s. 

I think this is the best interpretation and live version of Leonard Cohen´s classic song.
Performed by Jeff Buckley, one of the guitarists and vocalists I admire most.
This song was recorded on May 13th, 1995, at Cabaret Metro, during the Mistery White Boy tour.

In a tragic case of what could’ve been, Jeff Buckley left the world with only one album to his name. Despite the posthumous release of his incomplete second album and countless reissues of Buckley’s tiny discography, the ten songs that make up Grace is better than what most artists do in an entire career.

Grace is an audacious debut album, filled with sweeping choruses, bombastic arrangements, searching lyrics, and above all, the richly textured voice of Jeff Buckley himself, which resembled a cross between Robert Plant, Van Morrison, and his father Tim. And that’s a fair starting point for his music: Grace sounds like a Led Zeppelin album written by an ambitious folkie with a fondness for lounge jazz. At his best — the soaring title track, “Last Goodbye,” and the mournful “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” — Buckley’s grasp met his reach with startling result.

 

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Los Angeles Band  Black English with Laura Burhenn of the Mynabirds covering “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen