Friday, 7 March 2014

Cohen Copycats

Remember that video of Christian Sleep that I posted hastily the other day. Well I'll 'fess up and say that I didn't listen to the track before sharing it with you.  Now I have and have found that it's not representative of what I heard him play. It's much more polished than one bloke and his guitar on a stage at a holiday park could come up with.  So I thought I'd give it another shot and find a song that I actually heard this guy perform  I nearly embedded his experimental version of Ave Maria but you'll have to follow the link to marvel at a incredible vocal range because how could I resist a bit of Leonard?  By the way, cosmic ordering didn't work out for me. The great man never came to tea.

Christian Sleep's version isn't the only live version of Hallelujah that I've heard in recent days. It won't surprise you to find out that if a bloke decides to play a gig called 'The Songs of Leonard Cohen' I'm going to be very interested indeed.  And with a magicky rearrangement of childcare I was able to go to Keith James' concert at  Plymouth's tiny  B-bar.  Moral of the story?  It's always good to have a decent working relationship with your former spouse where kids are involved.  Thanks Mr X!

Right let's go into review mode here.  It was a great night.  Anyone who came though expecting someone doing an impression of Leonard complete with sharp suit and natty hat would have been disappointed.  This bloke was beardy and casual dressed.  Some of the musical arrangement diverged big time from the recording that I know and love but were no less enjoyable and thought provoking for that.  Keith James hoodwinked us a little for not all the songs that he played were by Leonard.  He apologised for playing one of his own compositions but hey, I liked it enough to include it in this post instead of a Cohen track. High praise indeed.

Since schooldays when I was taught  English by a heavily powdered Scotswoman with a facial twitch and a fondness for verse about death, I've been heard to say, in my more crass moments, that I don't like poetry.  Of course, with my love of wordplay and songs with clever and thought provoking lyrics this isn't strictly true. And I've been to a John Hegley gig so that counts doesn't it?  Keith James deflected away from Leonard Cohen's work and played songs inspired by  the Spanish poet, Frederico Garcia Lorcia who is said to have heavily influenced Leonard Cohen.  A tenuous link indeed Mr James! However, I think that you'll be pleased to know that after hearing these, I've been inspired to take a plunge, read and surprisingly enjoy poetry in its own right for the first time in thirty odd years!


  1. I'm always interested to hear how other people cover LC. Some are quite shameful - I'll mention no names, but there are others who do an excellent job - my favourites being John Cale, Katherine Williams and Jeff Buckley. Glad you enjoyed your night out.

  2. Hello wanted to send you this link as saw this band last night and they were fab and they will be in Devon shortly if you might be interested.

  3. Sorry forgot the link it is Stompin Dave and his Bluegrass Band.

  4. Thanks for the tip Redhair116 - I've listened online and they sound right up my street. The next concert in Devon coincides with a ferry crossing but it looks like the next day in August might be one where I can catch them. x