Friday, 27 January 2017

Songs From My Roads




There's some nutty woman who drives around the South Hams area of Devon in a little green Skoda singing her heart out.   I think that I can harmonise quite well but any foot passengers on the Brixham-Kingwear ferry who hear me through the car windows may disagree. What is quite wonderful is that I get paid good money to have these impromptu concerts as I travel between the houses of poorly people.    My job exposes me to all sorts of human suffering. Music is my comforter and joy, a pick me up that bolsters mental energy before, between and after these visits.

My favourite album at the moment is 'Songs From The Road', a lesser known  collection of live performances by Leonard Cohen from 2008 and 2009. One of the reasons that I'm loving it is that it features  the more obscure  songs from the '60s and early '70s that count among my personal favourites.  I'm normally much more of a fan of later works.  Lover, Lover, Lover is the first track, a rather wonderful starter in my book. Later  on we have the very moody, brooding Avalanche where the backing music seems to tumble.

The song that I've been playing on repeat though is The Partisan, first recorded back in the 1960s. It's not Cohen's own composition. Rather it dates from  World War II and is a partly translated song about the French resistance. I get to practice my second language skills during my singalong but recognise that the need to tell people that the Germans have forced me to surrender doesn't loom large in my Breton holiday repertoire!

Now I know that Leonard Cohen is like Marmite.  Some of you out there must have sinking hearts everytime I do a post about him.  But I'd urge you  to click and play just the first minute of this track. The instrumental introduction is amazing,  a remarkably accomplished piece of musicianship.

Fellow fans who love those gravelly tones can continue listening to the vocals.   Someone commented previously that they would be happy to hear Leonard reciting a phone book.  I agree heartily.  So it's no wonder that  hearing him sing in French,  that most seductive of languages, makes the hairs on my back stand on end!

10 comments:

  1. I haven't got the album, but I do know this song. I am still listening to "Darker and Darker" CD in the car and love most of the tracks now that I know them better. Treaty is still the favourite though. I too ,think that the backing music is wonderful on so many tracks of his. I think that he had the same two young women backing singers for a long time ? There is one song, though I can't think which at the moment, where he comes in after a particularly beautiful intro , and his voice gives me shivers! Have a good day. Lovely and frosty again this morning here, so no mud for the dog walk!

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    1. I knew you'd comment!!! You inspired me to revisit 'You Want It Darker' in the car yesterday. I think that the one you're referring to is 'Travelling Light'. Love 'Steer Your Way' too. xx

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  2. 9:35pm...East Coast OZ. Long time reader first time comment. Listening to The Essential Leonard...oldie but great. Drowning ou the party next door and enjoying NZ Sav Blanc.
    Thankyou he has always resonated with me and I think the little green skoda is rocking.

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    1. It's lovely that you've commented. Thank you. I always like to hear from people that haven't connected before. xx

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  3. I had never heard of him before you introduced him to me, but I have found that I knew some of his songs from the covers that others have done [love Suzanne by Judy Collins] which I have enjoyed. His voice isn't to my taste, but a bit like Bob Dylan, they have both written classic tracks. Arilx

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    1. See - like Marmite. Love that voice!!! xx

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  4. I think it was me who said about listening to him read a phone book. What a talent. Such a loss.

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    1. Ah I'm pleased that I found out who wrote the comment. I'm still sad at the loss. I had hoped to see another concert or two before he died. Such a humble, lovely talented man. xx

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    2. I drive along the river Rhine in a little red Skoda Citigo listening to Leonard Cohen. I had to stop "You want it darker" because it´s not good to drive with tears in your eyes. Since our English teacher brought a LP of Leonard Cohen to one of his lessons (in 1970!), I have loved his music.
      I think he should have been given the Nobel Prize in literature instead of Bob Dylan.

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    3. I think he is deserving of that Nobel Prize too. Like the idea of another Citigo filled with Leonard Cohen music. xx

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