Bobby Darin’s If I Were A Carpenter Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

- Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Heck Of A Guy feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

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Bobby Darin – If I Were A Carpenter

Take that ballad Bobby Darin sings, If I Were A Carpenter–that’s as good a ballad as any Scottish border ballad. It really is right up there.
- Leonard Cohen (1966)1

If I Were A Carpenter was written by Tim Hardin, a singer-songwriter Cohen admired.2 Hardin also recorded the song and performed it at Woodstock in 1969, but Bobby Darin’s rendition, released in 1966, proved more popular, rising in the charts to #8 in the US and #9 in the UK.

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Bobby Darin – If I Were A Carpenter
TV Special: March 1973

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  1. From A Session With Poet Cohen by Jon Whyte, Patricia Hughes, Terry Donnelly, and John Thompson. The Gateway: December 2, 1966 []
  2. See Tim Hardin’s “Bird On A Wire” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox and Tim Hardin’s Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox []

Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows by Harvey Kubernik – A Delight For Cohen Fans

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Full Disclosure: I wrote some material and assisted with some of the art for Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows. Nonetheless, I can in good faith assure readers that the enthusiasm expressed in this review is not simply a function of me sucking up to the author, the publisher, and, indirectly, Leonard Cohen – it’s also a matter of self-aggrandizement. Happily, that enthusiasm is absolutely justified.

Resplendent Art; Masterful Prose

Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows is a large format (275 x 215 mm) volume of 224 pages hosting more than 200 expertly reproduced photos, many of which fill a complete page or more and some of which have never been published before.

Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows is also a book filled with both Cohen’s own quotations and commentary about the Canadian singer-songwriter that are engaging, insightful, and informative.

Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows is either the most textually substantive coffee table book ever published or the most lavishly illustrated narrative about a Canadian poet-novelist-singer-songwriter-icon on the market.

Format

Each chapter opens with a timeline that alerts the reader to the era of Cohen’s life and career being covered and is informative as an independent segment.1

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Much of the text is integrated with graphics within strikingly designed layouts (see examples below).

Also included is an extensive discography compiled by Jim Devlin.

Content

Quotes by Leonard Cohen, harvested from several of his interviews, are featured throughout the book.

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While Harvey Kubernik authors much of the original commentary himself, he has recruited a large number of individuals with varying perspectives on Cohen to contribute substantial portions of the text. Included in this group are writers (e.g., Sylvie Simmons, Ira Nadel, James Cushing, and Alan Light), musicians (e.g., Perla Batalla, Sharon Robinson, Jennifer Warnes, and Charlie Daniels), producers (e.g., Bob Johnston, John Lissauer, and John Simon), and Cohen aficionados (e.g., Jarkko Arjatsalo,2 Jim Devlin,3  and – yep – Allan Showalter).

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The Book

I confess I was initially skeptical about a book “tracing [Leonard Cohen's] rise to stardom through 200 photographs and the thoughts, memories and comments of those who have both worked with him and been inspired by him,”4 but the prose written by Harvey Kubernik and the contributors he selected meshes with the well chosen, dramatic photos to create an integrated, gratifying product that meets the Goldilocks Criterion: not too much, not too little, not too simplistic, not too esoteric; it is, in fact, just right.

For sheer enjoyment, Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows is matchless among books about the Canadian singer-songwriter. This volume is a delight for anyone interested in Cohen or, indeed, the evolution of pop music.

The American edition of Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows by Harvey Kubernik carries a publication date of Sept 9, 2014 and is available for pre-order on several sites, including Amazon.

Coming Attractions: The Q&A with author Harvey Kubernik and information about other editions of Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows will be posted soon.
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  1. This use of timelines is such a successful strategy that one wonders why it is not employed more often in such books. []
  2. Jarkko Arjatsalo is the webmaster of LeonardCohenFiles and LeonardCohenForum []
  3. Jim Devlin is the author of In Every Style Of Passion, Leonard Cohen: In His Own Words, and Is This What You Wanted. []
  4. From the press release at Booktrade.info []

Leonard Cohen And The Duchess – Kissing & Telling

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There is a certain awkwardness in introducing ones beloved to ones musical icon.

When Penny and I met, she was inexplicably unaware of the wonders of either college basketball or Leonard Cohen. As our affections grew, I intuitively recognized my moral responsibility to rectify these cultural lacunae.

Duke basketball games and Leonard Cohen’s music consequently became integral elements in my wooing of The Duchess. Together, in fact, they go a long way toward explaining why she chose me when she could have done so much better.

Near the end of 2010 when our courtship began, coach Krzyzewski’s charges were, as they did every basketball season, making frequent and predictably scheduled appearances. Leonard Cohen & the Unified Heart Touring Company, on the other hand, were then completing three years of concerts with no promise the tour would resume soon – or ever.

A bit of advice to those of you entering the dating pool – apparently, suggesting to a potential heartthrob that flying to Las Vegas to attend the final show of the Leonard Cohen Tour would be a dandy first date puts one at risk of being considered presumptuous or even pushy. And, it turns out, implying that a meeting with the Canadian singer-songwriter-icon backstage would not be totally outside the realm of possibility does not improve that assessment.

In any case, Penny turned down that offer. Happily, recordings of Cohen’s music and videos of his performances were sufficiently effective in advancing my romantic agenda.

In fact, by the time I was able to make good on my promise for a backstage meeting (at the 2012 Austin show), the Duchess had already taken on the title of Mrs DrHGuy.

Make no mistake – the Austin encounter was a big hit and resulted in the accrual of many marital benefits, a number of which are technically illegal in North Carolina, for yours truly.

It also, however, raised expectations. Most recently, Penny became invested in achieving Kissing Cohen status.

Consequently, the invitation to visit with Leonard Cohen and Kezban Özcan in Los Angeles was viewed as an opportunity to earn membership in this esteemed fellowship. And, indeed, during the mutual greeting when we first arrived at Leonard’s home, smooches were exchanged between sweetie and singer-songwriter.

Alas, there is no photographic record of the kissing and, since Kissing Cohen is, after all, a photo gallery, Duchess is still not part of the official collection. She is, of course, still on a contact high from spending time with Leonard Cohen, and I am hopeful that her disappointment about the failure to obtain the desired photo will be mollified by this posted attestation that said osculation took place and that, as demonstrated in the above photo, Leonard seems happy about it.

Official Lyrics To Leonard Cohen’s New Song “Almost Like The Blues” Posted

Official Lyrics: Almost Like The Blues
by Leonard Cohen

I saw some people starving
There was murder, there was rape
Their villages were burning
They were trying to escape
I couldn’t meet their glances
I was staring at my shoes
It was acid, it was tragic
It was almost like the blues

I have to die a little
Between each murderous thought
And when I’m finished thinking
I have to die a lot
There’s torture and there’s killing
And there’s all my bad reviews
The war, the children missing
Lord, it’s almost like the blues

So I let my heart get frozen
To keep away the rot
My father said I’m chosen
My mother said I’m not
I listened to their story
Of the Gypsies and the Jews
It was good, it wasn’t boring
It was almost like the blues

There is no G-d in Heaven
And there is no Hell below
So says the great professor
Of all there is to know
But I’ve had the invitation
That a sinner can’t refuse
And it’s almost like salvation
It’s almost like the blues

“Almost Like The Blues” is the first song made available from Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems album, due to be released Sept 23, 2014.

Credit Due Department: Lyrics found at LeonardCohenFiles

It’s Official – Leonard Cohen’s New Popular Problems Album To Be Released Sept 23, 2014

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Sony Music Press Release Follows:

LEONARD COHEN RELEASES
‘POPULAR PROBLEMS
’ 
ON SEPTEMBER 23, 2014
A DYNAMIC STUDIO ALBUM OF NEW SONGS

In Popular Problems, his thrilling new studio album, Leonard Cohen gets down into the avenues of our dreams and sets a new tone and speed of hope and despair, grief and joy.  Cohen here is an astonished lover rocking to the human condition as “the soul unfolds in the chambers of its longing.”  His legendary basso resonates as never before with a presence and urgency that arises from the very depths of the heart.  The clarity and strength of these nine hypnotic songs will have us singing them over and over.

In collaboration with co-writer Patrick Leonard, Popular Problems is a masterpiece from the ever-fresh imagination of a musical legend whose songs continue to captivate new listeners and devoted fans.

“Yet again, Leonard Cohen has broken musical boundaries with new creative inspiration,” says Rob Stringer, Chairman/CEO of Columbia Records. “These nine new songs are simply sublime and innovative with a unique spirit. We’re absolutely thrilled and honored to celebrate this milestone with him.”

Popular Problems is Cohen’s 13th studio album and will be released on September 23rd, two days after his 80th birthday.  Popular Problems is available for pre-order everywhere today. Those who pre-order Popular Problems digitally (http://smarturl.it/PopularProblems) will receive an instant download of his new song, “Almost Like The Blues.”  Click here to listen.1

To celebrate his milestone 80th birthday (September 21), Cohen’s endless poetic energy and legacy can be revisited with a new artist page on iTunes (www.itunes.com/leonardcohen), which features Popular Problems and includes all 12 prior studio albums Mastered For iTunes.

Popular Problems was produced by Patrick Leonard, mastered at Marcussen Mastering and was recorded and mixed by Jesse E. String with additional mixing by Bill Bottrell.

Revisit Leonard Cohen’s Incredible Legacy on www.LeonardCohen.com.

Popular Problems Tracklisting:
1. Slow
2. Almost Like The Blues
3. Samson In New Orleans
4. A Street
5. Did I Ever Love You
6. My Oh My
7. Nevermind
8. Born In Chains
9. You Got Me Singing

ABOUT LEONARD COHEN:
Leonard Cohen is a master songwriter, musician, poet, novelist and visual artist whose stunning body of original work has touched the lives of millions with a career spanning six decades.

His explorations of spiritual, interpersonal, romantic and political themes have impacted countless contemporary recording artists and writers. He has sold over 23 million albums, worldwide and published 12 books, the most recent of which was 2006′s ‘Book of Longing’, a collection of poetry, prose and drawings, which reached #1 on the Top 10 Hardcover Fiction Books in Canada.

Cohen’s influence on musical and theatrical artists the world over is inestimable. In fact, when Cohen was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in March 2008, the revered Lou Reed singled out Leonard as one of the “highest and most influential echelon of songwriters.” Cohen’s songbook has been covered by hundreds of recording artists including Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Johnny Cash, Lou Reed, Tori Amos, Nick Cave, Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, Rufus Wainwright and the Civil Wars. Tribute albums have been released in Cohen’s honor in France, Norway, Canada, Spain, Swedish, Czech Republic, South Africa and the United States. In 2008 Cohen’s “Hallelujah” became the fastest-selling digital single in European history when three separate versions of the song appeared simultaneously on the UK singles chart – Cohen’s own original recording, a version from Jeff Buckley and another from X Factor winner Alexandra Burke. Additionally, Leonard’s songs have been frequently selected to illustrate the emotion of motion pictures and television programs and have been heard in Watchmen, The Passion of The Christ, Natural Born Killers, The Wonder Boys, Pump Up The Volume, Secretary, The West Wing, The O.C. and many others.

Leonard Cohen has been honored as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient (2010), inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame (2008), the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame (2006), the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (2006) and the Songwriters Hall Of Fame (2010). He has received the prestigious Principe de Asturias Prize – the highest literary award in Spain (Spain, 2011) as well as the Glenn Gould Prize, awarded to an individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts (Canada, 2011). The Canadian native has earned his country’s highest civilian honors – Officer of the Order of Canada (1991), Companion to the Order of Canada (2003), Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec (2008).

Cohen’s recent return to live performance was met with extraordinary and unanimous accolades as he performed around the world from 2008 through 2013. Cohen’s mesmerizing recent performances, deemed “a spiritual experience” by all accounts, totaled 470 shows in 31 countries attended by four million fans.

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  1. DrHGuy Note: Popular Problems is also listed on the US, UK, & German Amazon sites []

Listen To Complete Version Of “Almost Like the Blues” From Leonard Cohen’s New Popular Problems Album

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Leonard Cohen – Almost Like the Blues (Audio)
Video from LeonardCohenVEVO