He was Canadian! He had a hit record! It was sort of folk but not Gordon Lightfoot style! What was the world coming to? Yes, I remember when Leonard Cohen’s first album was released. It was on a major label! Not some semi-obscure Canadian label (was there in fact a non-obscure Canadian label?)The album art of the woman in chains and in flames. Those lyrics: ‘the room filled up with mosquitoes when they heard your body was for free.’ He made a big splash & was no teen idol. merely a Jewish intellectual Canadian poet with a hit record that wasn’t rock but was also far from easy listening. The songs were real poetry.
I played that 1st lp grey, replaced it more than once. Was thrilled to hear his songs in McCabe & Mrs. Millar (one of my all time favourite movies). There must have been dozens of covers of Suzanne over the next year. I don’t think he was prepared for the reception for that first album. His singing style was low key, the music okay but the mood was, for many, impossible to resist. Sort of glum, romantic, ironic and full of Dylan Thomasesque imagery. The first real e.m.o star.
In my collection I have two mp collections: on the first is: Songs, Songs From A Room, Songs of Love & Hate, Death of A Ladies Man, Various Postitions, I’m Your Man, Jennifer Warnes.From a room was more of the same; Love & Hate a live recording. Sweet images jumble from both of these – ‘santa comes forward there’s a razor in his mitt.’ Musically not different from his first lp but those lyrics stuck to me. Then I sort of lost interest because – his producers tried to give him a pop veneer than didn’t grab me. I didn’t follow him until The Future (more about that next week).
When I began to rebuild my past on cd I started to add work I had neglected. Death, Various, Man: which are solid, if musically uninspiring. There are brilliant lyrics though, but he seems to have lost direction. He worked with different producers, including Phil Spector with indifferent results. Each has stunning songs though: Halleluija; Take This Waltz. The Jennifer Warnes is a sweet set of her covers of Cohen songs.
To round out this first cd I added John Prine’s: Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings. Another fine singer song writer full of romantic angst, bitter, sharp lyrics but with a totally different musicality from Cohen, so it offers a nice contrast to the rest of the material while fitting in perfectly. There’ll be more about Prine when I get ‘p’.
Fran had left her slippers in the front porch.
‘Where are you going?’ he mother asked.
‘To get my slippers.’
‘Dressed like that?’
‘Like what mother.’
‘In your pj’s. It’s so common. You were brought up better than that.’
‘I suppose I was. Perhaps you’d like to get them for me.’
‘How did they get out there in the first place.’
‘Don’t get sassy with me.’
Fran opened the screen door and snatched in her slippers.
‘I don’t think anyone saw me. I was as a fast as a bunny.’
‘What am I going to do with you child? What?’ She brushed Fran’s hair back from her forehead. ‘Such a face too. You’ll break hearts before you get married.’
‘Marriage is too good for the likes me. It is so common too don’t you think.’
‘What are you going on about?’
‘Just that marriage is so common these days. Too bad they don’t last. That Gail Davis next door had a yard sale of her ex’s stuff. ’
‘Fran you are too young to worry about such matters.’
‘Future must be planned. That’s what Dad says and I’m just planning mine. I think I want to join the the Intergalactic Spousal Corps.’
‘Yes. Two of the recruiters where at our school this afternoon. So pretty and excited. It’s adventure and opportunity. “I woman can do what no other can.” ’
‘You mean you would want to leave your family, leave your home, the earth and … and … breed like that?’
‘That’s not what it is at all Mother. It’s an opportunity to explore new worlds, to keep the human race at the forefront of life everywhere.’
‘You sound just like a TV show – go boldly go. You haven’t signed up for anything have you?’
‘No. I wanted to talk to you about it first. To you and Dad but we know who has the final word around here about anything.’
‘I mean you Mother. Haven’t you ever longed for something more than this. Than kids and Dad and laundry.’
‘I have my work too you know.’
‘Writing isn’t real work Mother.’
‘You know what I mean.’
‘No, I don’t know what you mean. You think raising alien offspring is any different from raising real kids like you? It’s the same only now you have to worry about real toxic waste. I’ve been researching the inter-species breeding program and it isn’t all a bed of roses.’
on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted: Deliciously iTunes
June TBA: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 – The DC Centre – 2000 14th St NW, Suite 105 – Washington, DC – I’m registered 🙂
check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg
November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet