Two exquisite female vocalists, each of whom has a long history with Leonard Cohen, including singing backup for him and releasing their own albums of his material, will appear on Cohen’s Old Ideas CD due to be published in Spring 2012.
Jenny Sings [With] Lenny
Jennifer Warnes, perhaps best known among Leonard Cohen fans for Famous Blue Raincoat, her album of Leonard Cohen songs, has told a concert audience she will appear on the Canadian singer-songwriter’s new album.1
Last night I attended Jennifer Warnes’ concert in Edmonton. Jennifer was in terrific form and gave us an unforgettable evening of great music and stories. During the show she mentioned that she had been recording ‘recently’ with Leonard Cohen, saying that the results will appear on his new album, due next year.
A followup post in the same thread by Jarkko provides more details:
After so many years, Jennifer Warnes was back in the studio with Leonard, and she is singing on one of the tracks. Anjani and Sharon both have significant roles in many of those ten new songs.
Anjani Rates New Leonard Cohen Album “One of his strongest records ever”
Leonard Cohen and Anjani at Joe's Pub (April 24, 2007)
Anjani has worked with Leonard Cohen since 1984, singing on tours and in the studio. She and Cohen collaborated on Blue Alert, which was released in 2006.
On her Facebook page, Anjani responds to a question asking about the target date of her own new CD with the following:
... we plan to put it out soon after Leonard’s next release, early 2012. btw, i think it’s one of his strongest records ever, including a gorgeous cover of Crazy To Love You, one of my fav songs off of Blue Alert.
Credit Due Department: The photo of Leonard Cohen, Jennifer Warnes, and canine companion at the kitchen table is from LeonardCohenFiles. The photo of Leonard Cohen singing with Anjani was found, along with a number of other striking photos of Anjani’s 2007 appearance at Joe’s Pub, at Brooklyn Vegan.
In addition, The StarPhoenix has just published a sort of “where is she now” piece about Jenifer Warnes that addresses her special relationship with Leonard Cohen at In the midst of upheaval, Warnes reaches out by Cam Fuller (The StarPhoenix September 14, 2011) [↩]
Note: DrHGuy is out today but should return tomorrow. In the meantime, Heck Of A Guy offers a reprise of the July 25, 2006 review of Blue Alert - Blue Alert – A Recommendation That Will Make You Want To Kiss Me – that led to this blog’s current focus on Leonard Cohen, Anjani, and the other musicians working with the Canadian singer-songwriter.
This selection is especially timely because Anjani has recently begun recording tracks for her next album. For more information, see Anjani’s Facebook page.
DrHGuy Finds Anjani And Blue Alert
In many ways, it was a day like any other. While browsing for merchandise at Amazon to nudge my total order over the $25 criterion to qualify for that all-important free shipping, I happened onto Blue Alert, the album by Anjani Thomas that I recalled had received some coverage in the pop music press because it was produced by Leonard Cohen. Being a full-fledged member of the Cohen cohort, I had casually planned to check it out and this accidental encounter seemed a serendipitous opportunity.
But you know how these set-ups never work out. Your best friend in high school introduces you to his cousin from Kansas City so you go out a few times but never really click. Then you go out a few more times and before you know it, you marry her – and then your life descends into a living hell that makes you long for the sweet release only death can bring. For example.
But hope, as it is wont to do, springs eternal so I was thought it was possible that Anjani and I might have a few laughs together in the form of three or four tracks enjoyable enough to justify transferring ten bucks from me to Jeff Bezos. Admittedly, I was only looking for a good time, not a long term relationship. But, hey, she was hanging out with Leonard Cohen so she was probably into that sort of thing, right?
Then, my interest was piqued by a phrase from Amazon’s Editorial Review of the album, which described Blue Alert as
… a collection of gentle music tinged with styles
ranging from Holly Cole to Tanita Tikaram
As it turns out, folks in proximity to me for more than 20 minutes are at substantial risk of being subjected to my adulation of Tanita – if they have survived my even more fervid adoration of Holly.1 When I read that implicit grouping of Anjani, Holly, and Tanita, my mind raced to the obvious conclusion – that’s right, I’m thinking foursome.
My jejune sexual fantasies notwithstanding, this is music that is lovely, intricate, and intoxicating.
Many reviewers use adjectives such as “gentle,” “mellow,” and “low [amplitude],” to describe this album. It is true that one is unlikely to mistake Anjani’s contralto singing for a performance by Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. Such characterizations, however, are misleading in that they connote a semi-jazzy CD one plays as background music when the boss comes for dinner because it’s unobtrusive.
Such a categorization would be a tragedy. This is, in fact, an album that deserves to be played, especially the first time, when one has the time and psychological energy to hear the music and listen to the lyrics. Lord, now I’m making it sound like an intellectual task or, worse, an assignment. Let me reframe that into You (and you know who you are) deserve to listen to this album, especially the first time, when you have the time and psychological energy to hear the music and listen to the lyrics. Anyone that knows me knows that this is not a suggestion I make casually. (While I’m writing this post, for example, I’m also auditioning some new songs from a group called Let’s Be Honeys, checking CNN Headline News, and monitoring the clock to assure that I roust the offspring for chores in timely fashion.)
Lenny & Anji
OK, I know you’re wondering so let’s get it out of the way. It’s no secret (heck, even the Knight Ridder News Service knows it) that she was a keyboardist and backup singer for Cohen for 14 years and, yep, his lover for six of those years.
The tipping point for making this album, according to Anjani, came after she finished a vocal of one of Cohen’s songs; then, “Leonard said to me, ‘Now, could you sing it like you’re devastated on a shore with nothing left to give?”3 Anjani goes on that “All my tools went out the window, I actually was devastated at that point. Then the vocal just came out.”
Well, thank goodness she was devastated. The official Amazon blurb tells the rest of the story
After finding a few lines of Cohen’s handwritten lyrics lying on his desk one day (specifically “there’s perfume burning in the air/bits of beauty everywhere”), Anjani was not just drawn to them, the words inspired her to write a song in their honor (“Blue Alert”). After hearing the result, the Order of Canada-winning poet was so impressed that he eventually allowed her the chance to cull through both his published and unpublished works for additional lyrics.
In any case, Anjani’s husky, lovely voice and Cohen’s new (or previously unrecorded) lyrics4 are a perfect fit.
While Blue Alert stands independently as an album and is wonderful as an isolated phenomenon, it is enriched if the listener has some experience with Cohen’s own performances of his work. There is an obvious contrast between Anjani’s assured voice and Cohen’s. One of Cohen’s saving graces is his straightforward recognition and acknowledgment of the quality of his vocalizations, which he distinguishes as “a different kind of activity” than singing. Yet, it seems to me that the honesty of Anjani’s voice evokes Cohen’s own. (Oops, I’m not the only one. In skimming for another factoid, I just found this, arguably more poetic, quote from Brian Johnson, “And though Cohen doesn’t sing a note on the album, his voice permeates it like smoke.” Yeah, what he said.)
In addition, many of the motifs, metaphors, and metaphysics from Cohen’s earlier corpus are, unsurprisingly, prominent in Blue Alert. “[I] Had to do time in the tower” from “Crazy To Love You,” for example, echoes the lines from Cohen’s “Tower Of Song,” and “Thanks For The Dance” is reminiscent of “Dance Me To The End Of Love” and, to my ears at least, seems almost a direct response to “Do I Have To Dance All Night” (See earlier post: The Best Leonard Cohen Song You’ve (Probably) Never Heard)
Love is, indeed, the focus of Blue Alert, and Cohen’s words are of a piece with the sensibilities of his earlier work. He is ambiguous and ambivalent but never ambagious. Love is everything and not enough to save us. And the sex is good, too.
Anjani and Anjani Thomas: An Aside On Names Anjani and Anjani Thomas are, for the purposes of the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names, both of which refer to the exotically lovely, dulcet-voiced singer best known for her Blue Alert CD and her long-term relationship with Leonard Cohen. I include this clarification on posts about Anjani-Anjani Thomas in part for the purpose of what the folks at Wikipedia call disambiguation (i.e., to positively identify for the reader and remove any doubts the reader might have about which Anjani of all the possible Anjanis is being discussed) and in part to aid and abet the search engines. While a rose is, famously, a rose is a rose, a “tea rose,” for example, is not exactly the same as a “rose” – especially to a search engine. Searches that include “Anjani” as part of the search terms may not produce the same results as the same search terms other with “Anjani Thomas” substituted for “Anjani.” Should any other Anjani, say one who has not produced a CD called “Blue Alert” or one who has not been associated with Leonard Cohen for the decade, I promise to do my best to make that identification clear as well.
Both Holly Cole and Tanita Tikaram are subjects worthy of their own posts. And DrHGuy has not forgotten his promise/threat to post features about Leonard Cohen, the uses of poetry, and other topics, not to mention such thus far unmentioned but worthy themes as the comparative analysis of Paul Simon Vs Simon & Garfunkel, the list of female singers I want to sleep with even though I know they would hurt me and the chances of Tina Turner spending the night with me approximates zilch, the comfort and strength embedded in the poems of A.E. Housman, and the improbability of an adult American woman wearing a correctly sized bra unless she has been fitted for one by a lady of a certain age who speaks with a distinctive foreign accent. So much to blog, so little time. [↩]
“Kiss” in this setting is a statistical representation. This recommendation will evoke in some readers no more than a shrug of the shoulders while others will respond not only with kisses but with caresses, fondling, and maybe a bit of making out in addition. It will average out to a kiss. [↩]
I guess she didn’t know that Lenny is always saying stuff like that, just goofing around [↩]
Nightingale, the one previously recorded track, first appeared on Dear Heather but has been completely restructured and stripped of much gratuitous instrumental accompaniment, sounding as though it was were new [↩]
The good news is that the entire interview was revealing, interesting, and insightful . Of special interest were the descriptions Cohen and Anjani provided of the unusual process by which the songs in the Blue Alert album were created.
The bad news is that, although the link to the program listing is still intact, the archived recording of the interview itself is no longer available. (At least, I can’t find it. When I click on the appropriate buttons, I get a popup box reporting “This media cannot be found.” If anyone has better luck, please let me know.)
Whether the recording was actually missing from the website’s archives or the problem was idiosyncratic to my own computer software or internet connection, it is available now – and it is a treasure for fans of Leonard Cohen and Anjani.
This list of snippets from the show provide a taste of the treats offered in the interview:
Anjani and Leonard Cohen perform “Undertow,” the song which Anjani has described as the demarcation between her previous vocal style and the revised mode that would mark her renditions on the “Blue Alert” album.
They provide a brief history of their introduction by John Lissauer,1 including Cohen’s comment that on that first encounter he was “smitten by [Anjani's] beauty,” to which he quickly adds, “that quickly evaporates when you’re actually working with someone.” He goes on to speak of Anjani’s musicianship and discipline.
Cohen recounts Columbia’s refusal to issue “Various Positions” (an album which included “Dance Me to the End of Love” and “Hallelujah”) and the assessment by Columbia Records president Walter Yetnikoff, “Look, Leonard; we know you’re great, but we don’t know if you’re any good.”
Anjani and Cohen offer an anecdotal history of the making of the “Blue Alert” album, including her request to put his lyrics for “Blue Alert” to music herself, which she laughingly characterizes as “I had to wrestle him for it,” to which Cohen replies, “There’s a lot of concessions you make for peace in the house.”
Cohen notes that “What you hear [in "Blue Alert"] is Anjani’s demo.” He explains that attempts to add other instruments cluttered the song, that “all the acoustic space was fully and gloriously occupied by Anjani’s keyboard and voice.” He adds that “John Lissauer put on a moment of saxophone at the end that just situates it in the smoke.”
Anjani sings “Blue Alert.”
Leonard Cohen describes his involvement in an “avalanche of litigation” and credits their work on the “Blue Alert” album as “sublime release,” saying “the songs rescued us from the curious tiny ordeal that had overtaken my life at the time.”
Both Anjani and Cohen review the writing of “Never Got To Love You,” which originated from unused “outtakes” (Cohen’s term) from “Closing Time.” Cohen notes that the original lines were “very securely situated at this bar I remembered on the Laurentian Highway.”
Anjani sings “Never Got To Love You.”
Cohen briefly notes the publication of his “Book of Longing” and pays homage to Irving Layton. Also mentioned is the release of the tribute film, “I’m Your Man,” with shout outs to Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, Perla Batalla, and others.
Anjani explains how she came to understand – and learn from – Cohen’s approach to music, which she refers to as the “Story of ‘C.’”2
Cohen and Anjani describe their “normal life” and Anjani praises his expertise in making egg salad. Cohen speaks of their “very deep collaboration” on music and in daily life, noting that “the future always uncertain.”
Anjani sings “Thanks For The Dance”
How To Listen To The Recorded Interview
Again, the original problem may have been unique to my browser or my internet access, but this is the following method now works (for me).
One that web page, you should see the image below (sans my annotations). Click on “Legacy Player.” (In my case, clicking on the other choices, “Listen” or “My Shows,” leads to a “This media cannot be found” warning.) A pop-up window should form, a 15 second blurb for KCRW follows, and then the interview begins.
Musical Of Backstage Lives Of Artists On Tour Opens Off-Broadway To Mixed Reviews
This teaser features Leonard Cohen as videographer, Anjani Thomas in pseudo-rant, and Dominique Issermann directing. An unrecognized (by me) cast member provides comic relief. The scene deteriorates when, in a room full of musicians, no one knows the words to “Dominique.”
From German Documentary ‘Halleluja in Moll’ (1985)
While I will address several of these in upcoming posts, today’s focus is on the three videos (total time: 17 minutes) comprising the appearance of Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas as guests on the March 30, 2007 edition of “Først & sist” (“First & last”), the Norwegian talk show hosted by Fredrik Skavlan.2
Left to Right: Al Gore, Leonard Cohen, Fredrik Skavlan ( host,) Anjani Thomas, and Gro Harlem Brundtland
Leonard Cohen On His Ordination As A Zen Monk, The Pilfering Of His Money, Al Gore, and Anjani
My recommendation of this interview segment is based in large part on Cohen’s low-key explanations of the reasons he devoted a few years to living in a Zen monastery on Mount Baldy and the events surrounding the pilferage of his retirement fund, both of which demystify the circumstances without denying the significance of the episodes.
As always, Cohen is well-spoken, poised, and witty, especially in regard to his loss of his retirement fund of several million dollars.
Money has a way of disappearing if you don’t watch it very, very closely. That’s a certain wisdom I acquired. I wasn’t absolutely certain of this [before the loss], but now I am. It’s enough to put a dent in your mood.
[Responding to the host's observation that Cohen seems "quite happy" despite having very little money following the loss:] Well, I don’t recommend this as a spiritual exercise, …
Leonard Cohen exercises the poet’s prerogative of re-interpreting and manipulating her [the interviewer's] words and his own to distract and deflect. A trivial but nonetheless amusing example follows:
Leonard Cohen: I always thought I would change my name and get a tattoo
Beryl Fox: Where?
Leonard Cohen: There’s this place on St. Lawrence Blvd.
The interviewer’s facial expression at that point is a bonus.
As one might expect, Cohen has, in the 39 years that separate the two interviews, become more subtle and sophisticated in his technique, but he still shepherds the conversation into the path he chooses, content to follow the lead of the interviewer only if it fits his needs. This is, I hasten to add, invariably a benefit to the quality of the interview.3
Two brief Cohen expositions are worthy of special note:
1. In a few sentences, he makes Al Gore, who is also a guest on the show, sound principled rather than ponderous and spiritual rather than self-righteous. Mr Gore, unfortunately, proves himself equally efficacious in undoing this rehabilitation when he responds to Cohen’s comments.
Now we come to the girl I love, even though she has a mean streak. She translates that mean streak into passion and fire. That’s why I love her. The Pearl of the Pacific, from Honolulu, Hawaii, Ms Anjani Thomas.
Compare that with his response to the host’s phrase, “This is a long love story,” which was spoken simply as an invitation for Cohen to provide the history between Anjani and him. Instead, Cohen first finds it necessary, with notable stuttering and stops and starts, to correct the improper application of “love story” to the relationship:
It wasn’t always a love … It was an affectionate story for a long time, and it ripened into something deeper. But I found it’s best not to name a relationship.
It is important to acknowledge that this shift does not seem the consequence of any change in Cohen’s relationship with Anjani, to whom he appears deeply attached during the interview. In fact, just prior to his halting pronouncements on the nature of the connection, Cohen had spontaneously segued from Anjani as his backup singer to Anjani as his romantic partner:
I depended on that [Anjani's] voice, I leaned on it, I slept on that voice.
Instead, the difference appears the result of Cohen’s insistence, which has intensified with age, of speaking in a knowledgeable manner only about matters concerning which he is indeed knowledgeable.
Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas On Først & sist, NRK, 2007 (1 of 3)
Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas On Først & sist, NRK, 2007 (2 of 3)
Anjani Sings “Thanks For The Dance”
Reflecting the power of ratings, the lion’s share of the interviewer’s attention is on Cohen. The primary question asked Anjani is, in fact, “How is it to work and live so close to Leonard Cohen?”
It turns out that “It’s a lot of fun.”
On the other hand, Anjani does a star turn on the show, performing “Thanks For The Dance.”
Update: As is apparent below, Part 3 of Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas On Først & sist, NRK, 2007 has been removed by the YouTube user. I have sent a message asking that the segment be restored but have received no response. As far as I can determine, the video is not available elsewhere.
Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas On Først & sist, NRK, 2007 (3 of 3) Includes Anjani Performing “Thanks For The Dance”
When treasures like these become available from 25 years ago, my fantasies tend toward scenarios such as the discovey of a cache of tapes stored in mislabeled box at an abandoned TV studio. The actual explanation is less dramatic but perhaps more impressive. The 1985 Cohen performance (as well as songs sung by Donovan and Joni Mitchell) were recorded from TV by a colleague of Kaare Johnsen while the other material was recorded from TV broadcasts by Kaare Johnsen herself. (A few items, not among those discussed in this post, were found on DVD). That Kaare and her colleague had the foresight to record these performances and the orgnization to find them again 25 years later is a formidable – and a bit intimidating – accomplishment. [↩]
The other two guests are American environmental activist and former vice president Al Gore and Gro Harlem Brundtland, who from 1984-87 was chairman of the UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development (also former prime minister of Norway and director-general of the World Health Organization). [↩]
One of the several reasons I desperately long to interview Leonard Cohen is my conviction that, if I can muster the presence of mind to stutter out a discernible query of any sort (currently, I’m thinking of going with “So, Leonard, how’s tricks?”), the interview will be a pristine, elegant discussion of whatever Cohen wanted to talk about – which would be the same result regardless of what I had asked, so it is, as they say, all good. [↩]
Leonard Cohen in stylishly scruffy mode – Norway 1985
3 Videos Of 1985 Leonard Cohen Norway Concert Surface
Two days ago, three videos, “I Tried to Leave You,” “Heart With No Companion,” and “Story of Isaac,” taken from a TV broadcast of a 1985 performance by Leonard Cohen in Kalvøya (“Isle of Calf” – near Oslo), Norway appeared on YouTube, courtesy of kaarekjohnsen. While all three are interesting and well worth watching, the most entertaining and intriguing of the lot is “I Tried To Leave You.” (Because of YouTube’s 10 minute limit, the song requires two videos, the second of which is just over 1 minute long.)
Anjani And The Mean Streakin’ Pearl of the Pacific Blues
Then as now, “I Tried To Leave You” is used as a showcase for the band members’ talents. Unlike the contemporary rendition of “I Tried To Leave You,”1 however, the 1984 version is performed as a blues number.2
Nowhere is this more evident than in the solo by Anjani (identified as “Angie Thomas” on the TV caption) beginning at 2:36 with the salutatory appeal, “Baby, Baby, Baby,” following which Anjani channels Ruth Brown for a few bars lamenting good love gone bad.3
Cohen’s introduction of Anjani is itself a treat:
Now we come to the girl I love, even though she has a mean streak. She translates that mean streak into passion and fire. That’s why I love her. The Pearl of the Pacific, from Honolulu, Hawaii, Ms Anjani Thomas.
Also Starring …
The video of “I Tried To Leave You” also features an impressive display of guitar skills by band members, Leonard Cohen in stylishly scruffy mode4 improvising lines and being crowned with a wreath of laurels, and a huge crowd of incredibly wholesome-looking, uniformly well-behaved Norwegians.
The Boys In The Band
“I Tried To Leave You” also serves as background for Cohen’s introductions of the band members which are generous and laudatory as those he performs in concerts now. He creates a couple of titles congruent with those he has used for band members in the World Tour. His 1984 drummer, for example, is designated the “Master of Surfaces” while his 2009 counterpart, Rafael Gayol, is labeled the “Prince of Precision” or “Our Timekeeper.”
Only The Lonely
And then as now, he has a special concern for those alone. In 2009, it usually takes the form of this blessing, “May you be surrounded by friends and family, and if none of these is yours, may the blessings find you in your solitude. ” In 1984, he urges his audience to remember him and his band “… even when you find yourself alone in your room making passes at yourself.”
Update Feb 21, 2012: The original videos referenced in this post and at least two sets of replacements have been removed because of copyright issues.
Leonard Cohen – Story Of Isaac (Kalvøya, Norway, 1985) – Removed
Leonard Cohen – Memories (Kalvøya, Norway, 1985) – Removed
Leonard Cohen – Heart With No Companion (Kalvøya, Norway, 1985) – Rmoved
Leonard Cohen – I Tried to Leave You (Kalvøya, Norway, 1985) – Removed
None of the many versions of “How To Sing The Blues” found on the Internet (see example of these rules below) address the likelihood of a Canadian crooner and his Hawaiian back-up singer, with the non-blues name, “Anjani,” being qualified to sing the blues. The reader is thus left to his own devices. I offer the following only as a convenience in this effort:
How To Sing The Blues
1. Most Blues begin “woke up this morning.”
2. “I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick something nasty in right away:
I got a good woman—with the meanest face in town.
3. Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. Sort of.
I got a good woman—with the meanest face in town.
I got a good woman—with the meanest face in town.
She got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weighs 500 pounds.
4. The Blues are not about limitless choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch; ain’t no way out.
5. Blues cars are Chevies, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Other acceptable Blues transportation modes include Greyhound buses and southbound trains. Walkin’ plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die. Blues don’t travel in Volvos, BMWs, or SUVs. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain’t even in the running.
6. Adults sing the Blues. Teenagers can’t sing the Blues. They ain’t fixin’ to die yet. In the Blues, “adulthood” means old enough to get the electric chair when you shoot that man in Memphis.
7. You can have the Blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont, Tucson, or North Dakota are just depression. The best places to have the Blues are still Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City. You cannot have the blues in any place that don’t get rain.
8. A man with male pattern baldness ain’t the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg while skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg when your broken-down pickup truck rolled over on it is.
9. The following colors do not belong in the Blues: violet, beige, mauve (unless you’re truly desperate for a rhyme).
9. You can’t have the Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is just plain wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.
10. Good places to have the Blues: the highway, a jailhouse, an empty bed, the bottom of a whiskey glass. Bad places to have the Blues: ashrams, gallery openings, weekends in the Hamptons, golf courses, Tiffany’s, and Ivy League institutions.
11. No one will believe it’s the Blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man—and it’s an old black suit.
12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues?
Answer “Yes” if:
a. your first name is a southern state—like Georgia
b. you’re blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis.
d. you can’t be satisfied.
e. you’re older than dirt
Answer “No” if:
a. you once were blind but now can see.
b. you’re deaf
c. the man in Memphis lived.
d. you have a trust fund or an IRA.
e. you have all your teeth
f. you were once blind but now can see
13. Blues is not about color, it’s about bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues; Gary Coleman could. Ugly old white people got a leg up on the blues. Julio Iglesias and Barbra Streisand will never sing the Blues.
14. If you ask for water and baby gives you gasoline, it’s the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are: wine, whiskey, muddy water, beer, black coffee. Blues beverages are NOT: mixed drinks, kosher wine, sparkling water, Snapple, Starbucks Frappuccino, or Slim Fast. Although Rubber Biscuits and the Wish Sandwich are famous blues snacks, better stick to common blues grub like Greasy Bar-b-que, Fatback and beans, and Government cheeze. Blues food is never: Club sandwich, Sushi, or Crème brule.
15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a Blues death. So is substance abuse, the electric chair, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. It is not a Blues death to die during liposuction or from tennis elbow.
16. Excellent names for female Blues singers: Sadie, Big Momma, Bessie, or Fat River Dumpling. Excellent names for male Blues singers: Willie, Joe, Little Willie, Lightning, or Big Willie. Singers with names like Muffy, Sierra, Auburn, Alexis, Gwenyth, Sequoiz, Brittany or Rainbow are not permitted to sing the Blues, no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
17. The Build Your Own Blues Singer Name Starter Kit:
a. Name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, Asthmatic)
b. First name (from above lists) or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi)
c. Last name of a U. S. president (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
Examples: Blind Lime Jefferson, Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Okay, maybe not “Kiwi”…)
18. I don’t care how tragic your life; if you own a computer, you cannot sing the Blues.
You’d best destroy it. Fire, a spilled bottle of Mad Dog, or shotgun.
Maybe your big ass woman just done sit on it. I don’t care
19. Hey there, you can READ! This too be a big ol’ problem. Most folks singin’ the
Blues ain’t never had much a chance for education. In the Blues… the three R’s stand
for Railroads, Runnin’ and Rehab.
20. It gots to be dark to sing the blues, preferably after midnight. Singin’ da blues at noon is forbidden.
21. If none of the above works, try one last, pathetic stab at authenticity: name your guitar. Remember, Lucille is taken.
22. Epitaph on a blues musician’s tombstone: “I didn’t wake up this morning” [↩]
I think she’s singing about good love gone bad. I can’t follow all the words but if one is singing about a love that, for example, only gets sweeter with each passing day, one is not singing the blues, is one? [↩]
Do I Have To Dance All Night Surpasses 70,000 Views
"Do I Have To Dance All Night" was performed many times in concerts but was never released in the US.
As part of my crusade to popularize this song, I've cobbled together 2 videos - one for the semi-funky 1976 version with Laura Branigan and one for the 1980 more gypsy, less disco version - that kinda sorta fit the music.
As of Dec 19, 2012, the video of the 1976 version of Do I Have To Dance All Night has been viewed 70,152 times.
Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1
This video features the first version of the song Leonard Cohen would later revise into "Chelsea Hotel #2" along with images of Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin - whose liaison with Cohen at the Chelsea Hotel led to the creation of the song, the Hotel itself, and other associated people & places.
Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen had a fling in the 1960s that, for unspecified reasons, was short-lived, with Cohen instigating the parting.
It was then and is now a complex connection. In 1988, Cohen said, I'm still very friendly with Joni - I had dinner with her before the tour, and I have the same admiration for her as you do. But I think it was Noel Harrison who came up to me in the LA Troubadour and said "How do you like living with Beethoven?"
Photos of or related to Leonard Cohen that fall into specific themes have been among the ongoing features at DrHGuy, HOAG's sibling site. Galleries displaying collected images of 3 of these themes are now available at
And We’re Still Making Love In My Secret Life – Julie’s Story & Video
... I never had a chance. I was - and this is the only word that fits - smitten. I still am.
She was smart and quick-witted, although it would take me 3 years to recognize that she was, in fact, much smarter than me, and then another 2 years to forgive her for that. She was also good-looking and unabashedly sexy.
And, we fell madly, irredeemably, unflinchingly in love.
Complementing the unlikely story of how Julie and I met, fell in love, and - 9 years, 2 husbands, 1 wife, and 2 careers later - got together to spend an outrageously wonderful 20 years together before her death, a video, set to the poignant "In My Secret Life" by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson, is now available that evokes the role Julie, who died 10 years ago, continues to play in my life.
This Heck Of A Guy compilation includes unreleased Leonard Cohen performances over a 30+ year period.
Track List: Vol 1
1. Feels So Good (The Other Blues Song)
2. Book Of Longing
3. The Darkness
6. Do I Have to Dance All Night (1976)
7. Blues By The Jews
Track List: Vol 2
1. Red River Valley
2. Never Got To Love You (Duet with Anjani)
3. Can't Help Falling In Love
4. Ride Around
5. The Union Makes Us Strong
6. We Shall Not Be Moved
7. To Love Somebody
8. The Hypnotist (Poem)
9. Chelsea Hotel #1
10. There's No Reason Why You Should Remember Me
11. Streets Of Laredo
12. Do I Have To Dance All Night (1980)
Now, Another Other Leonard Cohen Album, the second collection of unreleased Leonard Cohen songs joins the popular The Other Leonard Cohen Album to offer fans of the iconic singer-songwriter a total of 3 CDs of musical treats. Another Other Leonard Cohen Album includes the following tracks plus liner notes by Sylvie Simmons.
1. Je Veux Vivre Tout Seul
2. Kevin Barry
3. Die Gedanken Sind Frei
4. Store Room
5. As Time Goes By
6. Don’t Go Home with Your Hard-on
7. Blessed is the Memory
8. Silent Night
9. Dead Song
10. Another Saturday Night
11. Ballad of the Absent Mare
13. The Butcher
14. Un As Der Rebbe Singt
15. Song to the Machines
16. If It Be Your Will
17. Thirsty for the Kiss
18. A Thousand Kisses Deep
19. I Tried To Leave You
20. Whither Thou Goest
21. Mr Cohen Must Be Going