Changes In Leonard Cohen Tour Backup Musicians Create Problem

Dick Straub let me know this morning that changes have occurred in the lineup of musicians slated to accompany Leonard Cohen on his 2008 World Tour.

Christine Wu Unable To Participate

Roscoe Beck, the Tour’s Musical Director has announced that Christine Wu (violin, viola, cello & keyboard) is unable to participate in the forthcoming World Tour.

On a happier note, Beck also announced the names of the three vocalists joining the tour:

Sharon Robinson

Sharon Robinson toured with Cohen in 1979-1980. Pictured with Cohen on the cover of the 2001 “10 New Songs,” Robinson also shared credit with him for the album. She and Cohen have collaborated on several songs, including some that became part of the “Dear Heather” CD, and ” Summertime, which was later recorded by Diana Ross and Roberta Flack. According to her biography,

A Grammy award-winner for her writing contribution on Patti LaBelle’s “New Attitude,” Sharon’s songs have been recorded by such artists as the Pointer Sisters, Aaron Neville, The Temptations, Randy Crawford, Brenda Russell, Ute Lemper, Don Henley, and jazz vocalists Vanessa Rubin and Carl Anderson. … Sharon’s songs have been featured in television shows such as “Judging Amy,” “Fast Lane” and “The L Word,” and movies as diverse as “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Natural Born Killers” and “The Wonder Boys”.

The Webb Sisters

The Webb Sisters
The 2008 Tour will, as far as I can determine, be the first time The Webb Sisters have worked with Leonard Cohen. While they now focus on vocals, Charley and Hattie Webb, who are actually biological sisters1 hailing from Kent, UK, began their musical careers by playing, respectively, the piano and the harp. After spending time on the musical circuits in Nashville and California, they returned to the UK, where Mercury Records signed them to a contract that produced their CD, Daylight Crossing.

They self-characterize their music as Pop / Folk Rock / Acoustic. In addition to their website, The Webb Sisters also maintain the requisite MySpace site with pix, music, and videos.

The Problem

It has been said, perhaps apocryphally, that Leonard Cohen vowed not to use young, good-looking backups on this tour because it would make him appear the old letch.

Well, if the idea was to avoid hiring good-looking backups, it looks to me as though, to revert to business jargon, someone has screwed up big time.

The DrHGuy Solution

Short of firing everyone and starting over, the only solution I see is hiring still more musicians, all of whom are so spectacularly ugly that they force the statistical mean attractiveness of the group to approximate the 50th percentile of the population or lower.

If it helps any, I did play the alto sax in the Diamond Missouri High School Marching Band, and I’m always ready to lend a hand.

  1. Two women in a sister act who are sisters – what a concept []