My last post about Leonard Cohen’s early recordings has me excited to curate this conversation about someone we all seem to care so much about. Leonard’s not everyone’s bag and it’s really wonderful to see so many folks interested in the man’s complex, felt lyricism.
Not sure if I can find more unique documents to share about the man, but this film is another great take on Cohen’s beginnings that I’ve never seen before. This one delves back just a little farther into the roots of Cohen’s aesthetic which can seem mysterious and even self-generated without a closer look.
When we think about Bob Dylan’s work, it’s easy to draw the line directly through Ramblin’ Jack Elliot to Woody Guthrie and then out from there to the 1000 starry points that make up the constellation of American vernacular music. As a Canadian with a connection to the French language, Cohen’s music is particularly European, but it all starts with his high school Country/Western band, The Buckskin Boys. In Cohen’s songs, Hank Williams drinks a shot with Allen Ginsberg and Federico Garcia Lorca while the Buddha reads the Torah to L. Ron Hubbard. Here, Ray Charles’ rhythm and blues becomes entangled with the chanson traditions embodied by Jacques Brel, and they both find their place in the exquisite verses and high melodies of this most gifted singer/songwriter.
Here is Leonard Cohen’s Lonesome Heroes…