Friday, August 31, 2007

Leonard Cohen: BBC-TV, Summer 1968

What can I possibly say about Leonard Cohen that hasn't already been expressed with greater eloquence elsewhere? Imaging a world without Leonard is like picturing a wintry, barren continent bereft of even spindly, leafless trees. No music has helped me navigate more hard times (such as the breakup with the ex who described Cohen as a "Singing Easter Island head") and left me feeling stronger for it. I can never repay him, but I can pass this on to you.

Thirty-nine years ago today, Leonard made his first television appearance in a concert for the BBC, recorded at the Paris Theatre on August 31 and September 07, 1968. In a short-sighted move sadly typical of the era, the videotape was apparently erased, but fortunately for us the excellent-quality audio tape remains. This set is particularly noteworthy for a very rare concert appearance of Teachers, and the oldest live known live performances of Sisters of Mercy, The Story of Isaac and One of Us Cannot Be Wrong.

From the August 31 broadcast:

01. You Know Who I Am
02. Bird On The Wire
03. The Stranger Song
04. So Long, Marianne
05. The Master Song

From the September 07 broadcast:

06. There's No Reason Why You Should Remember Me (improvisation)
07. Sisters Of Mercy
08. Teachers
09. Dress Rehearsal Rag
10. Suzanne
11. Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
12. Story Of Isaac
13. One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong

This performance has been bootlegged a few times; all I know about the source of this recording can be found here. Illustration by The Etch-A-Sketchist.

:: click here to download ::


j said...

You are a gentleman and a scholar.

. said...

Yeah. Leonard. Infinitely quotable, but let's start with just two:
"I'm always touched by the modesty of their interest in me." - talking about his long relationship with CBS.
"The dancing - they never mention the dancing." - when asked if he had any perticular gripes with critics.