Original Vinyl of Leonard Cohen: Live Songs; Signed by Him

  • Leonard Cohen: Live Songs.

Leonard Cohen: Live Songs.

Item Number: 5672

New York: Columbia Records, 1973.

Original LP of Leonard Cohen’s first album of Live Songs. Signed by Cohen on the front cover. In very good condition, with the original record.

The album consists mostly of reinterpretations of songs (often with additional or significantly altered lyrics) from Cohen's sophomore LP Songs From a Room taken from the 1972 European tour. At the beginning of a Paris, France performance of "Bird on the Wire", Cohen recites the first verse of a French translation of the song's lyric. "Nancy" is a version of "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy", while "Improvisation" is an extended instrumental guitar trio version of the vamp from "You Know Who I Am", which is also featured. The other tracks are a cover of the folk standard "Passing Through", and "Minute Prologue". A "bonus" track, "Queen Victoria", was recorded by Cohen alone in his Tennessee hotel room in 1972. Neither Songs of Leonard Cohen nor the then-recent Songs of Love and Hate (which featured a live track, "Let's Sing Another Song, Boys", culled from the Isle of Wight performance) are represented. The 1972 European tour, from which most of the selections on Live Songs are taken, is covered extensively in the 1974 Tony Palmer documentary Bird on the Wire. The album cover features an unsmiling Cohen staring icily at the camera. The liner notes were composed by the little-known (and often institutionalized) artist and poet Daphne Richardson. Two months before the album's release, Cohen, who had been grappling with depression at the time, told Roy Hollingworth from Melody Maker, "I just cannot stand to remain part of the music business. I've reached a state when I'm just not writing anything." In March 1975 he would explain to Harvey Kubernik of Melody Maker, "The previous album Live Songs represented a very confused and directionless time. The thing I like about it is that it documents this phase very clearly."