First There Was The Other Leonard Cohen Album
The enthusiastic response to the January 2010 posting of The Other Leonard Cohen Album, a collection of unreleased songs, was – and continues to be – gratifying and heartening to those of us who find sustenance, insight, and the occasional libidinous provocation in Leonard Cohen’s music.
Heck Of A Guy has learned of new fans who were first introduced to Leonard Cohen by these songs, long-time admirers of the iconic singer-songwriter who discovered in this collection performances of his previously unknown to them, and more than a few veteran Luddite-leaning Cohenites who were moved by this opportunity to bravely plunge into the arcana of computer software and cybertronics in order to consummate their virgin experiences with downloading files and burning CDs.
Of course, the next step is obvious – yep, it’s time for the sequel.
Now – Another Other Leonard Cohen Album
And, in keeping with the mores of show biz culture associated with sequels, DrHGuy has taken on a partner to do the heavy lifting. messalina79, whose YouTube videos have frequently been featured here,1 is primarily responsible for the tracks chosen and for cleaning up the recordings themselves.
Also very much in line with the tradition of sequels, Heck Of A Guy has spared no expense – as long as it didn’t cost any money – to produce a spectacular video promo.
Presenting Another Other Leonard Cohen Album
Those of you who watched the video promo may have noticed that, again congruent with the principles of producing sequels, DrHGuy recruited a new writer in the person of Sylvie Simmons, who, Wikipedia informs us, is
… a London-born music journalist, named as a “principal player” in Paul Gorman’s book on the history of the rock music press “In Their Own Write,” a widely regarded writer and rock historian, … one of very few women to be included among the predominantly male rock elite, [and] … the author of a number of books, including biography and cult fiction.
Inexplicably, Wikipedia barely touches upon her passion for the ukulele and fails altogether to mention her career-making Heck Of A Guy Q&A, Sylvie Simmons On Her Leonard Cohen Biography, The Uke, & All Sorts Of Good Stuff, or her current project, a biography of Leonard Cohen titled “I’m Your Man” scheduled for publication in 2011.
Because of that pesky pending litigation, DrHGuy cannot comment upon rumors that blackmail, threats, or kidnapping were involved in garnering the participation of Sylvie Simmons. Besides, now the notes are done so nobody got hurt – and isn’t that the important thing? Actually, DrHGuy, lacking the sufficient resources to have emulated Don Vito Corleone in making “an offer [s]he can’t refuse,” opted to make Sylvie an offer she couldn’t refute, i.e., participation in this project would result in no imaginable benefits to her.2
DrHGuy regrets only that this proposition appears to be significantly more effective as a persuasive tactic in the area of writing liner notes than in the field of dating.
Another Other Songs Of Leonard Cohen: Liner Notes by Sylvie Simmons, assisted by messalina79, and Allan Showalter (AKA DrHGuy)
There was something on the radio about Michel de Montaigne, the French Renaissance essayist. From the day he was born, he heard nothing but Latin – an experiment conducted by his dad. Montaigne grew up as fluent in Latin as his schoolfriends were in French. He also suffered depression. The famous Essais he wrote were a form of self-therapy, it said. Which wouldn’t have made him popular with Dr Heck, the shrink, Leonard Cohenite and philanthropist who, along with messalina79, compiled this free album and then signed me up to write free liner notes. Leonard, famously, spent his life avoiding psychiatrists; Leonard, as we all know, was uncommonly smart.
Montaigne’s story made me think of Leonard and his writing. In particular his songs – songs I’ve listed to closely, quizzically, vertically and horizontally since 1968, when Cohen was considerate enough to choose the second I hit puberty as the release date for his first album. It made me wonder what would happen if, as an experiment, you raised your baby on nothing but Leonard Cohen songs.
Cohen’s songs are the kind you are drawn back to over and over; we go back to them not always for their familiarity and solace but for their mystery, the unknown. Another Other Songs Of Leonard Cohen includes a number of songs that are old friends, but whose unusual versions are akin to seeing your old friend in odd socks or a wig. There’s a rocking rendition of The Butcher, and Bird On The Wire/Je Veux Vivre Tout Seul with an uncharacteristically insipid French verse. (No, Leonard didn’t write it; or if he did he had the good sense to do it under a pseudonym and the good manners to sing it in French-speaking countries).
Among the other rarities here are early, pre-album performances of Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-on and Guerrero/ Iodine. Notoriously perfectionist, Leonard put many of his songs through countless changes, sometimes tried out onstage, before deeming them worthy of release. There are songs here too that never passed the audition: Store Room and Blessed is the Memory remained in the vaults until Leonard’s record company dusted them off to use as bonus tracks on recent reissues.
As on this album’s predecessor, Other Songs Of Leonard Cohen, there are several cover songs. Leonard, particularly in early concerts, could knock out an impromptu take on anything from Sam Cooke’s Another Saturday Night to the Christmas carol Silent Night when the mood took him. And there are also traditional songs: Jewish folk (Un As Der Rebbe Singt), Irish rebel folk (Kevin Barry) and an old German song about freedom (Die Gedanken Sind Frei). The songs span his whole musical career.
“When I look back, I think I tried my best”, Leonard said. “I keep on trying my best.” Starting out, as Leonard himself did, with poetry (Dead Songs), Another closes, just as appropriately, with Whither Thou Goest, as Leonard packs his case and hits the road again for the next leg of his tour.
Tracklist: Another Other Songs Of Leonard Cohen
1. Je Veux Vivre Tout Seul: 27 May 1976, Le Grand Échiquier (A2-TV), Paris, France (Bird on the Wire with French verse) (4:39)
2. Kevin Barry: 1972(4:00)
3. Die Gedanken Sind Frei: 1976 (3:31)
4. Store Room: Montreux, Switzerland, 25 June 1976 (4:37)
5. As Time Goes By: 1972 (2:26)
6. Don’t Go Home with Your Hard-on: Bryn Mawr, US, 23 November 1975 (2:59)
7. Blessed is the Memory: Frankfurt, Germany, 25 April 1976 (3:26)
8. Silent Night: Birmingham, UK, 15 December 1979 (2:24)
9. Dead Song: Frankfurt, Germany, 6 May 1970 (0:20)
10. Another Saturday Night: Melbourne, Australia, 8 March 1980 (0:58)
11. Ballad of the Absent Mare: Vienna, Austria, 6 July 1985 (7:06)
12. Guerrero: Bryn Mawr, US, 23 November 1975 (3:19)
13. The Butcher: Toronto, Canada, 31 January 1975 (4:32)
14. Un As Der Rebbe Singt: 1976 (0:58)
15. Song to the Machines: Tel Aviv, Israel, 19 April 1972 (2:46)
16. If It Be Your Will: Vienna, Austria, 6 July 1985 (3:48)
17. Thirsty for the Kiss: London, UK, 6 December 1979 (3:33)
18. A Thousand Kisses Deep: Armelle Brusq’s documentary “Spring 1996″ (2:19)
19. I Tried To Leave You Vienna, Austria, 6 July 1985 (14:56)
20. Whither Thou Goest: Warsaw, Poland, 31 March 2007 (1:45)
21. Mr Cohen Must Be Going: Paris, France, 19 October 1974 (0:38)
Download & Play Another Other Leonard Cohen Album
1. Download these songs at
2. Unzip (extract) the downloaded files, TOLCA1.zip and TOLCA2.zip. Each zip file will produce a group of MP3 files corresponding to the tracks on that volume.
3. The files can be used in iPods and other MP3 players. The files from each volume can also be burned onto an audio CD.
- See, for example, Another Great Leonard Cohen Performance Of “Do I Have To Dance All Night”, How Leonard Cohen Sang “I Tried To Leave You” 34 Years Ago, Leonard Cohen Sings “The Traitor Song”, and “Gloomy Sunday ” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox [↩]
- One could, (another) one supposes, argue that acquiescing to Sylvie’s request to “just stop crying like a little girl” constitutes a benefit to her but that seems picayune. [↩]