“Sometimes he’d reveal that the new song he’d brought to rehearsal was derived from an old idea… It was very exhilarating to be part of that evolutionary process.” Charley Webb On Working With Leonard Cohen

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Even if it wasn’t new material, it would have a freshness, There were many songs he would rework and then re-evaluate. He wrote 50 verses for ‘Hallelujah’ and then distilled them to what they are now. Leonard was always scratching away in a notebook with that impeccable handwriting of his. If you asked him what he was working on, he’d give only a little detail away. It seemed to be a private process, and I respected that. Sometimes he’d reveal that the new song he’d brought to rehearsal was derived from an old idea. Often, they’d change shape as we worked on them. You could still hear the essence, but it was a totally different presentation of the song. It was very exhilarating to be part of that evolutionary process.quotedown2

Charley Webb

 

Quotation from Happy Birthday, Leonard Cohen by Abby Steward. Hot Press: Sept 2017. Photo taken at Ghent on Aug 14, 2012 by J.S. Carenza III & posted at Webb Sisters Facebook Page

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Moving Performance Of Born In Chains – Oakland 2010

bornchains

Featuring Sharon Robinson, Hattie Webb, Charley Webb & Dino Soldo

Leonard Cohen – Born In Chains
Oakland: Dec 6. 2010
Video from arlenedick15

Note: Originally posted Dec 7, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.com

“We were talking about… how there’s an imbalance within positions of power, and Leonard said… ‘Women are the greater sex.'” The Webb Sisters Talk About Leonard Cohen’s Perspective On Women

Everyone I’ve spoken to about Leonard has remarked on the fact that he was very comfortable in the company of women.

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You can hear that in his songs. There’s a space every couple of moments where he feels there was a female perspective to be offered. In real life he looks for the female perspective. I also saw him at ease with men, so I don’t feel it was particularly a feminine connection. quotedown2

Hattie Webb

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We were talking about politics and business and how there’s an imbalance within positions of power, and Leonard said something along the lines of, ‘Women are the greater sex.’  I don’t know if he was just flattering me, but he did seem to think that.quotedown2

Charley Webb

 Quotation from Happy Birthday, Leonard Cohen by Abby Steward. Hot Press: Sept 2017. Photo by Maarten Massa.

“Walking on stage and having thousands of people immediately convulse with emotion – that feeling didn’t go away, I just learned to manage it.” Charley Webb On Leonard Cohen’s 2008 Fredericton Show

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We were all standing in a line to go on stage in this tiny theatre in [Fredericton] Canada, which was rammed to the rafters with clearly diehard Leonard fans. Sharon, Hattie and me walked on with [Leonard Cohen] and, yeah, his hands behind his back were shaking. He talked briefly about it being, ‘A few years, friends,’ and the place just exploded. I was completely taken aback because I’d never experienced that sort of physical reaction before. I had to compose myself to sing ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love.’ Walking on stage and having thousands of people immediately convulse with emotion – that feeling didn’t go away, I just learned to manage it.quotedown2

Charley Webb

Quotation from Happy Birthday, Leonard Cohen by Abby Steward. Hot Press: Sept 2017. Photos by J. Gordon Anderson.

A remarkably similar description of the Fredericton show from a different perspective can be found at “The roar of the [2008 Fredericton] crowd was… ferocious adoration… Up until that moment it was just another job to me.” Leif Bodnarchuk On Working For Leonard Cohen.

More about the Fredericton concert can be accessed at In The Beginning … Photos & Videos Of Leonard Cohen’s First 2008-2013 Tour Show: Fredericton, May 11, 2008.

“Leonard Cohen felt that everybody’s cog in the machine was as valuable as his. So, with that grace, he’d go about the day making everybody feel important, but in the most gentle, discreet way.” Charley Webb

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His politeness and grace with people is other worldly now.  I think we miss that in today’s society, although you wouldn’t want to turn the clock back wholesale to when he was growing up, because so many people in the 1930s/’40s/’50s were subjugated. Leonard encapsulates the best of both eras. He defended humanity. If there was somebody who appeared to be suffering an injustice he would delicately readjust the balance with a gentlemanly firm hand, and people would listen. That’s why we had, at times, groups of 60 people on the road who felt it was the best working environment of their careers. Leonard felt that everybody’s cog in the machine was as valuable as his. So, with that grace, he’d go about the day making everybody feel important, but in the most gentle, discreet way. I adored his humour and unexpected jokes and his love of chocolate and chicken soup, and how when you went to his modest, but extremely beautiful apartment, he’d carefully prepare a smoothie or a few vitamins or a hot drink and make sure you were warm and looked after.quotedown2

Charley Webb

 

From Leonard Cohen Tribute: The Webb Sisters On “Our Friend And Teacher” Hot Press: Dec 20, 2016. Photo of Charley Webb taken at the Mar 2, 2013 Leonard Cohen Oakland Concert by Soheyl Dahi

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Sublime Webb Sisters Add Female Vocals To Tom Petty’s Runnin’ Down A Dream

Excerpt from Concert Review: Tom Petty Wraps Up Retrospective Tour With Galvanizing Hollywood Bowl Stand by Chris Willman (Variety: September 23, 2017)

The only significant change-up [i Tom Petty’s band] for the 2017 tour has been the addition of two female backup singers, England’s Webb Sisters, who get to do a few more choreographed moves than they did back when they were supporting Leonard Cohen. Though ever-present, their support was mostly more textural, if not almost subliminal. But they did manage to finally make “Don’t Come Around Here No More” (one of the few Petty songs ever to spotlight female vocals on record) adhere more to the original. They also got louder and clearer on “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” an only slightly startling addition to a perennial previously untouched by female larynxes.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Runnin’ Down A Dream
Wells Fargo Philadelphia: July 1, 2017

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