Songs of Leonard Cohen

March, 19 2015 | The Foundry & Eddie's Attic

Released in 1967, Songs of Leonard Cohen is the debut album from the Canadian poet turned songwriter. Produced by John Simon, after original producer and Cohen champion John Hammond took ill, the ten tracks contain more elaborate arrangements (strings, horns, background vocals, etc.) than Cohen had wanted (he argued for just vocals and guitar). Still Cohen’s dry, plaintive and emotional voice is still front and center, allowing the listener to be swept away with his rare poetry. He’s been called “the master of erotic despair,” and indeed there aren’t many greater mouthpieces for the wounded, cast-off lover. He’s not afraid of heartbreak or painting himself in unflattering light. Cohen has always managed to stay vulnerable and wide open emotionally in his writing, and as this album testifies, that was the case right out of the gate. The album became a cult hit in America, but Cohen’s real popularity started overseas. Songs spent over a year on the UK album charts. His breakthrough hit “Hallelujah” was added to the collection on a re-release, but even without the oft-covered gem, this album features some of Cohen’s finest work, including “Suzanne.” The song, which tells the story of a “half-crazy” woman living near the St Lawrence River in Montreal was named the 41st best song of the 1960s by Mojo. And you may recall the 1960s can boast more than a handful of pretty great songs. So tuck into some Greek stew (Cohen would eventually spend much of his time living on the Greek island of Hydra) and sip on a Red Needle (which we’ve learned is his favorite cocktail) and allow us to sing you some pained serenades.

Side 1:

1. Suzanne - Dwayne Shivers
2. Master Song - Marshall Ruffin
3. Winter Lady - Rebecca Lovell
4. The Stranger Song - Dwayne Shivers
5. Sisters of Mercy - Marshall Ruffin

Side 2:

6. So Long, Marianne - Marshall Ruffin
7. Hey, That
8. Stories of the Street - Thayer Sarrano
9. Teachers - Thayer Sarrano
10. One of Us Cannot Be Wrong - Dwayne Shivers