HERE IT IS
Of the half dozen Here It Is is the most recent. It is also the classiest. The proof is written on the front of the cover - Blue Note.
Close friend of Cohen’s, Larry Klein, has put a top quality jazz band together and then chosen some of the world’s top singers to set Cohen songs on top of the band’s gentle breeze.
It is so good with nearly too many highlights to name - Norah Jones on Steer Your Way, Gregory Porter on Suzanne and Mavis Staples on If It Be Your Will.
The surprises for me are Peter Gabriel who shifts sonic backgrounds on a measured Her It Is, Nathaniel Ratelift’s disciplined Famous Blue Raincoat and Iggy Pop’s menacing You Want it Darker.
Perhaps after the overexposure and far-too-many covers of Hallelujah we should give a special word to Sarah McLachlan for a sublime version of that old hymn!
WHO BY FIRE
First Aid Kit curate an evening of the Canadian sage’s poetry and songs and then invite actors and singers and musicians to put it together sublimely.
There are deft touches elsewhere, adding just a dash of Anthem to Famous Blue Raincoat, a male voice to shift the spiritual lightsome on Show Me The Place. You Want It Darker into If It Be Your Will brings more depth of spiritual reflection. The Future with spoken word weeks out it’s prophetic breadth.
There are a plethora of ways that this is great. If you’re a First Aid Kit fan, you’ll love it. If you are Cohen fan, you’ll love it. If you want a musical night at the theatre you’ll love it. If you want to take Leonard Cohen into some place of spiritual retreat then you’ll love it.
FAMOUS BLUE RAINCOAT - JENNIFER WARNES
Jennifer Warnes’ finest hour, Famous Blue Raincoat probably relit Cohen’s reputation in 1986. Warnes did such an immense job, particularly on Bird On A Wire, Ain’t No Cure For Love and Came So Far For Beauty. Warnes even co-wrote the beautiful Song Of Bernadette and introduced to the world First We Take Manhattan.
I’M YOUR MAN - The Film Soundtrack
The live performances from a concert film tribute. Heavily Wainwright heavy. Martha’s Tower of Song and The Traitor are gathered with her brother’s Chelsea Hotel #2 and Everybody Knows and her mum and aunt’s Winter Lady. Best of the others has to be Nick Cave’s I’m Your Man and the very best of all a collaboration of the man himself and U2 on Tower of Song.
TOWER OF SONG
The shiny sheen one. Elton John, Billy Joel, Still et all. All a little perfect for me. Bono’s spoken word Hallelujah might be the best of all, experimented with long before it was in the American Song Book!! Suzanne Vega’s Story Of Isaac might be the other best thing.
I'M YOUR FAN
The original Tribute from 1991 had the mighty REM to lead it off and all the indie stars of the day in it, The Pixies, The Fatima Mansions and That Petrol Emotion among them. Nick Cave’s Tower Of Song was like him starting to reach for the mantle. Among my favourites were The Lilac Time’s Bird On A Wire, Lloyd Cole’s Chelsea Hotel and John Cale’s Hallelujah.