Lynyrd Cohen – Leonard Vs Skynyrd
Robbie Fulks, the outstanding Chicago alt-country singer-songwriter1 perhaps best known for “Fuck This Town,” his nuanced musical assessment of the country music industry represented by Nashville, somehow decided to put together the “Leonard Cohen Vs Lynyrd Skynyrd”2 show, which he performed at The Hideout in Chicago on February 6, 2012. A video of one number, “The Ballad Of Leonard Cohen,” has just appeared in YouTube [at time of original posting].
Mr Fulks himself offers this description of the show:
Lynyrd Cohen, a/k/a Leonard vs Skynyrd, as two 1970s icons duke it out via my quintet’s sensitive musical channeling. The kind of clever club programming that bored, frozen Chicagoans thrive on.
Now, the content of any imaginable alt-country music program called “Leonard Cohen Vs Lynyrd Skynyrd” is, by definition, sufficiently outré, arcane, and downright inexplicable to limit its appeal to a tiny elite of fans. It turns out, however, that the group of folks who would be into something labeled “The Lynyrd Cohen Show” have a 0.93 demographic correlation with Cohencentric readers. (If Robbie Fulks had gone ménage à trois on us and added Leonard Bernstein to the program, the correlation would have been 0.96. Adding Lenny Kravitz instead of Leonard Bernstein would have pushed it to 0.975, but no one, with the possible exception of his mother, calls Mr Kravitz “Leonard.”)
Consequently, Cohencentric is happy to have booked the off-YouTube internet video premiere of …
Robbie Fulks – Ballad of Leonard Cohen
The video will automatically start at the point the song itself commences. Aficionados of stage banter may wish to adjust their dials back to the beginning of the video to hear Mr Fulks introduce the show.
Note: Originally posted Feb 12, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
- According to Peter Applebome of the New York Times, “Mr. Fulks is more than a songwriter. He’s a gifted guitarist who has taught for years at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, he’s a soulful singer with an expressive honky-tonk tenor, and he’s a natural performer. It rings true when he says he’s only truly comfortable when he’s onstage or when he’s totally alone. But what really sets him apart is his songwriting, which is one part artful country, one part artful sendup of country and one part a little of everything else.” [↩]
- Sometimes referenced as “Lynyrd Skynyrd vs. Leonard Cohen” [↩]
In [‘Light As The Breeze’] I say, ‘You can drink it or you can nurse it, it doesn’t matter how you worship, as long as you’re down on your knees.’ I think that’s been my position more or less over the years, and creakily standing up and regretting it and getting down again.
From Leonard Cohen by Barbara Gowdy (November 19, 1992 interview published in One on One: The Imprint Interviews, ed. Leanna Crouch, Somerville House Publishing 1994). Photo by xrayspx. Originally posted January 16, 2015 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Transcript & Translation by Francis Mus
Vous n’êtes pas souvent à la télévision, vous vous en méfiez?
You are not often on television; do you mistrust it?
LC: Un peu, mais moi je suis très heureux d’être invité : un chanteur étranger parmi les grands ici…
A bit, but me, I’m very happy to be invited: a foreign singer amongst those big names here…
Vous vous considérez comme un chanteur étranger?
Do you consider yourself as a foreign singer?
LC: Mais, je suis étranger
But, I am a foreigner
Vous êtes partout chez vous… Canadien anglais?
Your home is everywhere… anglophone Canadian?
LC: Oui Canadien anglais, la minorité!
Yes, anglophone Canadian, the minority!
Comment peut-on être à la fois poète, romancier, compositeur, interprète, …
How can one be at the same time poet, novelist, composer, interpreter…
LC: Fou… Non, ce n’est pas difficile. C’est la même chose.
Crazy… No, it’s not difficult. It’s the same thing.
Vous savez que vous représentez beaucoup pour la jeunesse? En êtes-vous conscient?
You know you mean a lot for the young people? Are you aware of it?
LC: Non, je n’en sais rien, vraiment.
No, I know nothing about it, really.
Qu’est-ce que vous en pensez, Charles? // Il est trop modeste // Il faut se méfier des gens modestes… ! / Parce qu’aux Etats-Unis, au Canada, on ne parle que de lui…
What do you think about it, Charles? // He is too modest. // One should mistrust modest people…! // Because in the US, in Canada, people only talk about him!
LC: Est-ce qu’on peut fumer ici?
Can I smoke in here?
Oui, bien sûr
Yes, of course
Vous écrivez en ce moment?
Are you writing at the moment?
LC: Oui, j’écris un roman, j’écris quelques livres de poésie, des romans, des choses comme ça…
Yes, I am writing a novel, I write some books of poetry, novels, things like that…
Quelle est la différence entre vous et Bob Dylan?
What is the difference between you and Bob Dylan?
LC: Il est jeune!
He is young!
Vous avez quel âge?
How old are you?
LC: 41, … et vous?
41, … and you?
En dehors de Charles Trenet, quels sont les chanteurs français que vous connaissez bien?
Besides Charles Trenet, which French singers do you know well?
LC: Oh, j’adore… Georges Brassens, Edith Piaf, Moustaki, j’aime bien…
Oh, I like… Georges Brassens, Edith Piaf, Moustaki, I like them…
Leonard Cohen’s elegant writing style is evident not only in his poems and songs but also his personal correspondence. In the same situation, I would have scribbled something on the lines of
It’s been a tough winter with lots of business hassles but things are better now that Spring has arrived.
Leonard, on the other hand, wrote
It’s been a curious tricky Winter, filled with an education for which I never wanted to enroll, and sealed with a Spring so sweet it seems like a prize for endurance.
… which illustrates why Leonard Cohen was a singer-songwriter, poet, & icon, and I am a blogger.
The Leonard Cohen epistolary except is from his Apr 22, 1964 letter to Redmond Wallis, a writer from New Zealand, who was Cohen’s friend as well as his fellow resident on Hydra. At the time this letter was written, Leonard Cohen was living in Montreal, and Wallis was at his home on Hydra. This letter is archived at the National Library of New Zealand – Wellington. Originally posted September 9, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric