The Complete Albums Collection contains all 17 Leonard Cohen albums – both live and remastered studio recordings along with a lavish 36–page booklet including all discographical annotations and recording information, as well as a brilliant 1,300–word essay by Pico Iyer.
Disc 1: Songs Of Leonard Cohen
Disc 2: Songs From A Room
Disc 3: Songs Of Love And Hate
Disc 4: Live Songs
Disc 5: New Skin For The Old Ceremony
Disc 6: Death Of A Ladies' Man
Disc 7: Recent Songs
Disc 8: Various Positions
Disc 9: I'm Your Man
Disc 10: The Future
Disc 11: Cohen Live
Disc 12: Field Commander Cohen
Disc 13: Ten New Songs
Disc 14: Dear Heather
Disc 15: Live In London (1st CD Of 2–Disc Set)
Disc 16: Live In London (2nd CD Of 2–Disc Set)
Disc 17: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
Disc 18: Songs From The Road
Music Review: Leonard Cohen – The Complete Columbia Albums Collection [Box Set]
SeattlePI, October 30, 2011 by David Bowling
So what defines an artist's career? In the case of Leonard Cohen it is a body of work that now spans over four decades and is one of the best and most respected in music history. He has just passed his 77th birthday and, in celebration, he and his label has just issued a spectacular box set, The Complete Columbia Albums Collection.
Cohen is that rare artist who has spent his entire career with the same label, which means this collection – 17 discs: 11 studio albums and six live ones – is indeed complete. There is also a shorter set of just the studio releases, but if you are going to shell out the funds for such an extensive box set, you might as well go the extra mile and buy the big one.
Each album is on a separate disc and enclosed in a mini–LP replica sleeve. All the music has been remastered from the original master tapes. An enclosed booklet includes discographical annotations and recording information, plus an extended essay by Pico Iyer. It all adds up to about as complete a retrospective as you can find.
The albums span 1967's Songs of Leonard Cohen to 2009's Songs From The Road. This march through time exposes the listener not only to the evolution of the artist's music but to the progress of time itself, as Cohen's lyrics intertwine with the progression of the last 40 years. Though a noted poet and novelist, it is as a singer and particularly as a lyricist that he has made his mark. His songs have been covered by other artists over 2,000 times.
He began his recording career as a folk artist, but his sound and style have expanded and meandered in a number of directions down through the years until it became uniquely his own. He has garnered notoriety as a pop star, recluse, troubadour, folk icon, philosopher, theologian, and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – and all are important aspects of his identity as well as his music.
Cohen burst upon the American music scene in the late '60s with albums like Songs of Leonard Cohen and Songs From A Room. Songs such as "Suzanne," "Bird On A Wire," "Sisters of Mercy," "Story of Isaac," and "So Long Marianne" proved that a new songwriter of note was on the scene.
While some of his mid–career releases didn't always earn as much attention as his early work, albums such as Various Positions (with songs like "Hallelujah" and "Dance Me To The End of Love"), I'm Your Man ("First We Take Manhattan" and "Ain't No Cure For Love"), and Ten New Songs ("A Thousand Kisses Deep" and "The Land of Plenty") were under–appreciated gems that showed his musical vision expanding in different directions, solidifying his stature as an under–the–radar superstar.
The live material serves as good companions to the studio material, with songs taking on new textures and nuances. As well, listeners can follow the evolution of some of his more famous compositions.
The last two albums in the set are Live At The Isle of Wight 1970, recorded August 31, 1970, and Songs From The Road, recorded in 2008 and 2009; and together they provide suitable bookends to Cohen's career to date (a new studio album is due in January, 2012). Interestingly versions of "Bird On A Wire," "Suzanne," "The Partisan," and "Famous Blue Raincoat" appear both albums, 38 years apart.
The Complete Columbia Albums Collection is a trip through the musical mind, music, and soul of Leonard Cohen. So too is it a wonderful odyssey of lyrical and cultural pictures of both a career and time period. For casual and hardcore fans alike, this one is essential.
Music Review: Leonard Cohen – The Complete Columbia Albums Collection
Blogcritics, November 10, 2011 by Glen Boyd
While Leonard Cohen's name may not carry the same instant, household sort of recognition as someone like say Bob Dylan, his body of work over some four decades as a singer, songwriter, poet and all around renaissance man is no less remarkable.
From the moment of his debut album for Columbia, 1967's Songs Of Leonard Cohen, Cohen established a name for himself as a songwriter of uncommon depth with songs like "Suzanne" and "So Long, Marianne." Already an established novelist when that record came out, his reputation as a formidable talent equally rooted in the traditions of Dylan and Gershwin, has only grown to legend status in the decades since. Cohen's voice – particularly on his later work – is nearly as unmistakable as his songs, pulling off the unique trick of sounding weathered and wise, yet oddly slick and soulful all at once.
Some of Cohen's best known work – songs like "Bird On The Wire" for example – may have gained its greatest popularity when interpreted by other artists. But it is on his lesser known songs, like "Democracy," "Boogie Street," "I'm Your Man," and "First, We Take Manhattan" (well okay, that one is fairly well known), that the revelation of his true artistic voice is best discovered. On songs like these, Cohen can take on the persona of wise old sage, poetic bard, hopeless romantic, and street hustler, sometimes within a single song.
Like the best songwriters though, Cohen is mostly a great storyteller. His words come most alive when he is adopting the character persona of the drinkers and angels of compassion that populate the seedy bar of "Closing Time," or the more curious mix of humanity inhabiting a place like the "Chelsea Hotel."
If you haven't yet discovered Leonard Cohen for yourself, The Complete Columbia Albums Collection is probably not the best place to start. For that, you'd probably be far better served with the crash course offered by a collection like The Essential Leonard Cohen. But it is by far the most complete.
This exquisitely assembled boxed set features completely remastered versions of all 17 of Leonard Cohen's albums for his career long label, Columbia. In addition to the studio recordings, this includes all of his live albums from Live At The Isle Of Wight (recorded in 1970), right up to 2009's two–disc Live In London set.
All of the albums are housed in a simple, but elegantly designed box, that opens up to reveal each album in a loving recreation of its original sleeve (including those with gatefolds). There is also a nice booklet that features full annotation of each album, plus liner notes from longtime Cohen confidante Pico Iyer.
Incidentally, Cohen's reinventions of some of his greatest songs on the concert stage represent some of the most stunning music to be found on this entire collection. Playing in a huge room like London's O2 Arena, Cohen amazingly captures the torchy ambiance of a jazz singer performing at some piano bar around last call. His band is likewise top notch. On the live recordings, they perform with such precision as to be nearly indistinguishable from something created in the studio.
For those who'd just as soon skip the live recordings though, there is also a box containing Cohen's eleven studio albums appropriately titled The Complete Studio Albums Collection.
As for the more expansive Complete Columbia Albums Collection, this isn't anywhere near so much as big, brassy and over the top a compilation of an artist's collective work as other recent boxed sets out there from U2 and the like. But it just oozes class.
Leonard Cohen: The Complete Albums Collection
The Complete Albums Collection
Rating: * * * *
Leonard Cohen is one of the most unlikely and most beloved musicians of all time. Following a world tour from 2008–2010 that marked a return to the stage after 15 years away and served as a much–deserved victory lap comes The Complete Albums Collection, a 16–CD set of all of Cohen's studio and live albums that should solidify his reputation as one of the greatest songwriters of all time – one of the few who can stand alongside giants like Bob Dylan and Neil Young.
The thing that jumps out most after listening to this collection is Cohen's incredible consistency. He simply has never made a bad album. Yes, Cohen only has 11 studio albums, compared with 34 for Dylan. Still, it's remarkable that over a four decade career, there's not a Self–Portrait in the bunch.
By the time Cohen released his first album in 1967, he was already well into his 30s with several acclaimed novels and books of poetry under his belt. Perhaps because of that Cohen didn't experience any of the learning curve that Dylan and Young went through. He emerged into the music world fully formed.
His debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, is a masterpiece that contains many of his most enduring songs ("Suzanne", "Sisters of Mercy") sung over tasteful, yet spare arrangements that keep the focus on Cohen's voice and lyrics – exactly where it belongs. His next two albums, Songs from a Room and Songs of Love and Hate, followed the same formula with similarly strong results.
It was on 1974's New Skin for the Old Ceremony that Cohen started to expand his sound a bit, pushing his vocal range further and adding more elements of both R&B and country to his music. His most experimental – and most controversial – album, Death of a Ladies Man, followed in 1977. Produced by Phil Spector, Ladies Man added studio effects and disco to Cohen's repertoire. Cohen would later deride the album as a failed experiment, but it actually holds up quite well in retrospect.
The real lesson of that album may be that no amount of studio trickery can disguise the core of what makes Cohen special – great lyrics, a uniquely intimate delivery and simple yet sturdy melodies. We'd see this again when Cohen added synths and electronic beats to albums like I'm Your Man and The Future. While he generally fares best when he goes back to basics (1984'sVarious Positions is a great example of this), I get the feeling that Justice could remix these songs they'd still sound like Leonard Cohen.
As great as his studio recordings are, the three discs I find myself returning to the most in this set are live albums: Live from the Isle of Wight 1970, Field Commander Cohen Live 1979 and Live from London, which was recorded in 2008. While Cohen is known for his intimacy, his songs expand in the live setting, and these discs capture him at key points in his career.
These discs are completely different from one another and taken as a whole they prove once and for all that Cohen isn't just a poet who happens to sing; he's a true musician. Take Isle of Wight, in which Cohen is given one of the most daunting tasks any musician ever received – perform in the middle of the night at a festival for 600,000 people right after they've experienced an explosive live set from Jimi Hendrix. Yet he has the crowd in the palm of his hand from minute one, offering them moments of hushed folk ("The Stranger Song" "Bird on the Wire"), celebratory country–influenced hoedowns ("Tonight Will Be Fine") and between–song banter that ranges from humorous to surreal to profound – and sometimes all three.
Field Commander Cohen shows more of the jazz and gospel in his music. Live in London includes all of the above while adding a prominent R&B element. What's most appealing about the latter is how inspired and passionate Cohen sounds as he looks back at his career in front of arena–sized crowds. This despite the fact that Cohen hadn't toured for ages and was very upfront about the fact that he only launched this one to make some money after learning that most of his life savings had been stolen.
The sound on all the newly remastered CDs is terrific and it comes in a nice package, but there are flaws that show Columbia didn't take the care it should have in putting this together. For example, each CD comes in a small cardboard case meant to mimic an album cover. They look great but are so small that it's often impossible to read what's on them. I challenge anyone to make out the lyrics printed on the back of Various Positions, I'm Your Man and The Future, or the liner notes to Isle of Wight, without a magnifying glass. You'd think they'd be printed on an insert somewhere, but you'd be wrong. And while Pico Iyer's essay offers a nice overview of who Cohen is and why he's important, it would be nice to have more testimonials and photos in the main booklet, including reminiscences from Cohen and his band members.
Like any box set of this size, The Complete Albums Collection is not cheap, and the people who want it most likely have a lot of these albums. My advice: If you own less than half of Cohen's catalog, it's worth completing the collection. Cohen is the kind of artist that rewards time spent, and there's not a disc here that isn't chock full of worthwhile material. Whether or not Cohen ever releases the new album he's been teasing fans with, this collection is a great summation of a one–of–a–kind career.
Box sets 2011, from Beach Boys to U2
Leonard Cohen, "The Complete Columbia Albums Collection" (Columbia/Legacy, $170): How much of one artist do you really need? Complete discographies are all the rage this box-set season, and they're obviously not intended for the casual fan. The Canadian songwriter is a tough self-editor, releasing only 10 studio albums since the late '60s. And even then he occasionally messes up; his original version of the classic "Hallelujah" is weighed down with soggy synthesizers and reverb. He honed his approach on subsequent live recordings; he's released six such discs over his career, and they often allow him to reinterpret and rearrange brilliant tunes that got botched in studio sessions the first time around. For students of masterful songwriting, there are few better artists to investigate this comprehensively.
Christmas Gifts for the Music Geek In Your Life
Flavorwire, December 7, 2011 by Tom Hawking
Leonard Cohen - The Complete Studio Albums Collection
This has rather slipped under our radar, and seems to have slipped beneath everyone else's too. It's a box set of all Leonard Cohen's studio albums, from 1967's Songs of Leonard Cohen right up to 2004's Dear Heather. This is all well and good, but the thing is that these aren't just reissues of albums that should be in your collection anyway - they're also remasters, a fact which hasn't exactly been trumpeted by the Sony marketing department (it gets a quiet mention on definitive Cohen website The Leonard Cohen Files, but that's about it). Anyway, this fact definitely makes the set worth a look, even if you own these albums already, and especially since the thing's a steal at about $6 an album. If you're feeling extravagant, there's also a 17-album set that includes all Cohen's live records and a 36-page booklet.
Present tense: Making a personal statement
Buffalo News, December 15, 2011 by Jeff Simon
...But for anyone who is a lover of the songs (and/or poems or novel) of Leonard Cohen, you couldn't do better than "Leonard Cohen: The Complete Columbia Albums Collection" on 18 discs (Columbia/Legacy). His voice is still sepulchral, his melodies dogged and the arrangements often border on camp, but it's a truly great box set of great music that deserves familiarity as a whole.
The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (Columbia/Legacy)
* * * *
In January, Leonard Cohen's scheduled to release Old Ideas, his first new studio album since 2004's Dear Heather. That perhaps already renders this mini-LP replica set unnecessarily deficient, but 17 albums on an 18-CD collection capture the vaulted magnitude of Cohen's tower of song. Beginning with his secular trinity - 1968's timeless Songs of Leonard Cohen ("So Long, Marianne"), 1969's Songs From a Room ("Bird on a Wire"), and 1971's Songs of Love and Hate ("Famous Blue Raincoat") - Montreal's prophetic poet establishes his mix of the sacred and sexual in elegant elegies. From there, the highlights become less frequent, falling off after the grandiose multiplicity of 1977's Death of a Ladies' Man, produced by Phil Spector, until his first major comeback with the sophisticated modernism of 1988's I'm Your Man ("First We Take Manhattan"). Local bassist and current musical director Roscoe Beck earns his stripes, first appearing with his jazz-fusion ensemble Passenger as the backing band for the baroque Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979 and reuniting three decades later for 2009 double album Live in London and the following year's Songs From the Road. Judging from sheer output, Cohen's most comfortable on the road, a drifting romantic leading masses in quiet worship - a reverie best captured on the recently unearthed At the Isle of Wight 1970.
Holiday Gift Guide Review: Leonard Cohen, "The Complete Columbia Albums Collection"
The Second Disc, December 13, 2011 by Joe Marchese
It's hard to believe that Leonard Cohen was once tarred with the infamous "New Dylan" brush, even though he was in rather rarefied company alongside other "New Dylans" like Loudon Wainwright III and even Bruce Springsteen. Sure, both Mr. Cohen and the former Mr. Zimmerman shared non-traditional voices and a gift for truly literate lyrics. Both made their recording debuts on Columbia Records, and even shared a producer, Bob Johnston. But the similarities largely end there. When Songs of Leonard Cohen was issued in late 1967, Dylan himself was still the new Dylan! Currently about to enter his 50th year as a recording artist, Bob Dylan barely had five years under his belt in 1967. Thanks to the herculean efforts of Columbia Records and Legacy, Leonard Cohen's own 44-year career can now be assessed in one remarkable collection sure to inspire a breed of "new Cohens."
Leonard Cohen: The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (Columbia/Legacy 88697 87184 2) is a 17-album, 18-disc set offering the complete live and studio albums of one of Canada's favorite sons. From 1967's Songs of Leonard Cohen to 2010's Songs from the Road, the box set contains the arc of the uncompromising career of one of the few men in rock who can truly be called a poet. As with the most of Legacy's Complete Albums Collection box sets, the emphasis is on the music. The sturdy if no-frills cardboard box contains mini-LP replica jackets for each disc (every one adorned with the red Columbia label) and a 36-page booklet containing a brief essay by novelist Pico Iyer as well as credits for every album.
The one thing missing that would immeasurably enhance a set such as this would be a lyric booklet; while Cohen's melodies deserve due credit, the man is one of rock's purest poets, and his words are paramount. By the 1967 release of the simply-titled Songs of Leonard Cohen, he was already an established author, but his early efforts included here make it clear that he didn't enter music as a dilettante.
A seriousness of purpose, and a somber atmosphere, marks Cohen's early album efforts. Songs of Leonard Cohen employed subtle orchestrations to flesh out the composer's stark melodies, while producer John Simon brought out the baroque and folk-rock flourishes here and there. One could even imagine the Mamas and the Papas on the backing vocals to "So Long, Marianne." Cohen explores the foibles of love and lust in this dark collection of songs, with frequently spiritual overtones; the first song on the first album of the box set, "Suzanne," was likely Cohen's most famous song until "Hallejulah" came along, and it remains a perfectly crafted character study about a mysterious woman who still spellbinds. Religious references abound ("Suzanne," "Sisters of Mercy," "The Stranger Song") as does a percolating anger; the darker moments could be offset by Cohen's dry, infrequently emotive vocals, but his disaffected vocal actually demands concentration and enhances the haunting nature of the songs, even in their gentler moments ("Travelin' Lady").
Cohen's first three albums are often considered of a piece, although each of these albums has its strengths and unique character. Bob Johnston encouraged a less-intricately arranged approach to Cohen's 1969 follow-up, Songs from a Room, which is highlighted by the stunning "Bird on the Wire." The presence of Nashville session musicians including Charlie Daniels (yes, that Charlie Daniels!) lends a unique air to these albums, as well. Cohen's on-the-nose album names continued with his third, 1970's Songs of Love and Hate. And yes, you'll find those, but throughout the albums here, you'll also note songs of suicide, of despair, of pain, of death, of addiction. (Love and Hate's "Famous Blue Raincoat" later gave its title to Jennifer Warnes' acclaimed album of Cohen compositions, while "Dress Rehearsal Rag" is a fascinating, twisting song that is far weightier than its title would indicate: "But you've used up all your coupons /except the one that seems to be written on your wrist along with several thousand dreams/Now Santa Claus comes forward, that's a razor in his mitt; and he puts on his dark glasses and he shows you where to hit.") Cohen's favorite recurring themes come sharply into focus on The Complete Collection. It's a great luxury to travel with the artist through this chronological set, illuminating those previously overlooked avenues.
After that initial three-year burst of creativity, Cohen's studio albums arrived with less frequency. Only eight more such albums have followed in the ensuing 40+ years. Over these subsequent collections, you'll hear Cohen aging gracefully into his voice, which sounded old and wizened before its time. With producer and arranger John Lissauer (who added greater instrumental textures including strings, woodwinds, banjo, mandolin, trombone, trumpets and more), he returned for 1974's New Skin for the Old Ceremony. One of Cohen's best albums, New Skin challenged listeners with more oblique lyrics about, well, love and hate, but even when the lyrics are oblique, the master craftsman gets the message across with his use of big, bold imagery. Sexual, religious and cultural references all abound in songs like "Is This What You Wanted" ("You were the promise at dawn, I was the morning after/You were Jesus Christ my Lord, I was the money lender. You were the sensitive woman, I was the very reverend Freud/You were the manual orgasm, I was the dirty little boy") and "Chelsea Hotel No. 2," which frankly draws on Cohen's relationship with Janis Joplin: "I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, you were talking so brave and so sweet, giving me head on the unmade bed, while the limousines wait in the street." Cohen's honesty is disarming, with the song's final line the equivalent of a punch in the stomach: "I don't mean to suggest that I loved you the best, I can't keep track of each fallen robin. I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, that's all, I don't even think of you that often." Janis Ian joins Cohen to provide backing vocals on this most purely musical of Cohen's albums.
After the jump, Cohen meets Phil Spector, embraces the eighties, and emerges as an elder statesman of music!
The Complete Collection will also allow you to revisit (and finally in sparkling remastered sound!) the most bizarre album ever recorded by Cohen. 1978's Death of a Ladies' Man teamed Cohen with Phil Spector, who marshaled the forces of Nino Tempo and the remnants of the L.A. Wrecking Crew for this incredibly offbeat effort. Entirely co-written by the pair (who reportedly wrote 15 tracks from which the final album's eight songs were culled), it's a hedonistic affair, or an exercise in darkly-tinted nostalgia. Over a Wall of Sound that's less polished and more sludgy than you might remember, Steve Douglas still contributes big, honking sax solos, while Cohen croons bluntly over the backing provided by Hal Blaine, Don Randi and Ray Pohlman. "I said look, you don't know me now/But very soon you will/So won't you let me see your naked body?," he asks on "Memories" in a sea of thick echo, prominent choirs and brass bleats. In "Paper Thin Hotel," Cohen dryly intones, "You are the naked angel in my heart/You are the woman with her legs apart." Despite the in-your-face debauchery, the songs are not without merit, and frequently offer evocative imagery on par with Cohen's best. "Frankie Laine was singing 'Jezebel'/I pinned an iron cross to my lapel" tells you everything you need to know about the song's narrator in one opening line. Then there's the rock and roll party of "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On," in which Cohen and Spector are joined by a chorus including Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg! Over a cacophonous arrangement, the singers sound unhinged: "You can't shake it, or break it with your Motown!/You can't melt it down in the rain!" The near-parody of the country-and-western "Fingerprints" is another freewheeling track ("I touched you once too often, now I don't know who I am/My fingerprints were missing, when I wiped away the jam") on this album that's unlike any other.
Recent Songs (1979) and Various Positions (1984) might be the most overlooked titles in Cohen's catalogue. The former returns Cohen to a folk setting after the Hollywood glam of Death of a Ladies Man, while the latter sees him embracing glossy, synthesizer-laden 1980s production styles. Jennifer Warnes provides guest vocals on both albums, but is most prominent on Various Positions. Columbia initially rejected the album for U.S. distribution when Cohen presented it to the label, but it was absorbed into his Columbia catalogue for its 1990 CD release. Its "Dance Me to the End of Love" has become a minor standard, but it's been eclipsed by another song off the album, "Hallejulah." Like so many of Cohen's other songs, the sober, solemn "Hallejulah" featured many biblical allusions in its original version. It was greeted with little fanfare on the album, but when John Cale recorded a cover version in 1991, people started to pay attention. Cale's version, in turn, inspired Jeff Buckley in 1994 to record what might be the most famous rendition. Buckley's version has been the starting point for countless recordings and performances on mainstream television programs as diverse as American Idol, ER, The O.C. and The West Wing! With the late-blooming "Hallejulah," Cohen made arguably his most well-known contribution to the standard songbook, and also earned himself a healthy annuity.
1988's I'm Your Man could be said to have ushered in a golden age for Cohen that continues to this day. Awash with synth-pop stylings, the album is surprisingly accessible. Among its standouts are the exciting title track and the menacingly-intoned (but danceable!) "First We Take Manhattan," which could have emerged from the score of a dark musical: "They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom/For trying to change the system from within/I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them/First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin!" Hollywood latched onto many of the songs from 1992's The Future, with three of the album's tracks featured on the soundtrack to Oliver Stone's controversial Natural Born Killers. In an unusual move, Cohen even provided his own spin on Irving Berlin's "Always," turning the familiar 1925 love song into a deep-voiced blues with a hint of gospel. Cohen sat out the rest of the 1990s, returning for a set entirely co-written with Sharon Robinson and simply called Ten New Songs (2001). 2004's Dear Heather placed even more emphasis on female vocals, long a part of Cohen's musical DNA and epitomized by Jennifer Warnes' contributions to his catalogue. On Dear Heather, Cohen played more with the idea of reciting poetry over musical backgrounds, and reworked "The Tennessee Waltz" much as he had "Always." Dear Heather remains the artist's last studio album as of this writing, but another one is on the way. Old Ideas (a title Cohen has kicked around for years) is currently scheduled for release by Columbia at the end of January, 2012.
All six of Cohen's live albums are here, too, covering a wide swath of his career, between 1970 (Live at the Isle of Wight, issued in 2009) and 2009 (Songs from the Road, issued in 2010). The most definitive of these concert documents is Live in London, a 2-CD set recorded in 2008 and included in full. Even if Cohen has taken to the road partially as the result of well-publicized financial troubles, these live performances make clear that he is enjoying his current role as an elder statesman of folk and rock. He inhabits these songs even more fully in their varied live settings.
The Complete Columbia Albums Collection is also available in a truncated edition containing only the studio albums. It's titled, simply enough, The Complete Studio Albums Collection! The full Albums Collection, however, is the way to go, painting the definitive portrait of the artist both on stage and in the studio. Mark Wilder and Bruce Dickinson are the primary mastering engineers for the box set, and they've worked wonders on the albums receiving their first-ever upgrades.
The most serious drawback to the set is that bonus tracks issued on the Dickinson-produced remasters of Cohen's first three albums have been dropped from this collection. (Some of the Complete Albums box sets have followed this practice, while other sets have indeed retained previously-issued bonus material. The lack of consistency from title to title can be maddedning!) That means that those buying this hefty box still need to hold onto the remasters of Songs of Leonard Cohen, Songs from a Room and Songs of Love and Hate.
As a monumental tower of song and retrospective of an uncompromising artist and writer, Leonard Cohen's The Complete Columbia Albums Collection simply cannot be beat.
Kompletna diskografija za 77. rodendan velikog umjetnika
Leonard Cohen ponovo je naglo i iznenadujuce postao 'fora', pa u išcekivanju novog albuma imamo još jednu priliku revaloriziranja njegove dosadašnje karijere
Ta novopronadena Cohenova slava, kao što znamo, najmanje je njegova 'krivnja' - jer da nije bilo one notorne racunovodstvene pronevjere u kojem mu je u vjetar otišla rezerva za crne dane, mozda se nikad i ne bi vratio 'na cestu'. Ovako je otišao na gotovo trogodišnju svjetsku turneju, obišao planet nekoliko puta, objavio dva albuma snimljena uzivo i obnovio (i proširio) svoju svjetsku bazu fanova. Njegov gubitak je, dakle bio naš dobitak, iako svi koji su ga imali prilike vidjeti, bilo u Zagrebu, bilo u Ljubljani, Beogradu ili Becu, znaju da mu uopce nije bilo mrsko nakon puno godina ponovo stati pred publiku. Na turneji se moglo cuti i par novih, sasvim obecavajucih stvari ('Born In Chains', 'The Darkness', 'Lullaby', 'Amen'...), a novi, povratnicki studijski album, koji dolazi nakon gotovo osmogodišnje pauze od ne baš pretjerano uspjelog 'Dear Heather', zove se 'Old Ideas' (to je bio i radni naziv prošlog albuma, ali se od njega odustalo jer je previše mirisao na kompilaciju starih stvari) i najavljen je za 30. sijecnja 2012. godine.
U išcekivanju novog albuma, ali i povodom Cohenova 77. rodendana (koji je bio 21. rujna), citav njegov katalog remasteriziran je i prepakiran u dvije fine kutije - 'The Complete Studio Albums Collection' sa 11 originalnih studijskih albuma i još opsezniji 'The Complete Albums Collection' koji, osim studijskih, sadrzi i šest sluzbenih Cohenovih live albuma (18 diskova, jer 'Live In London' iz 2009. je dvostruki) s nastupima koji sezu od 1970. ('Live At The Isle Of Wight') do lanjskog 'Songs From The Road'. Treba li uopce reci da su neki od Cohenovih albuma s koncerata naprosto esencijalni, pogotovo kasniji, koji sadrze mnoga radikalna nova citanja starih klasika. No ovo definitivno nije roba za fanove, jer ne donosi ništa što vec nemaju, a nema cak ni onih par bonus rariteta s ranih albuma koji su se pojavili u prethodnom valu remastera 2007. - to je vjerojatno stoga da se ocuva integritet originalnih albuma kao zaokruzenih umjetnickih djela. Bilo kako bilo, ne bi škodio još jedan disk s dodatnim raritetima, B-stranama i/ili suradnjama u oba paketa.
Od prvog ('Songs Of Leonard Cohen', 1967. godine) do posljednjeg ('Dear Heather', 2004. godine) Cohenova albuma prošlo je 37 godina, u kojima je on objavio svega stotinjak pjesama (tocnije 106 na studijskim albumima plus još kojih desetak manjih ili vecih objavljenih rariteta, neobjavljene, a uzivo izvodene pjesme tu ne brojimo, ali ih nema više od još kojih 20-ak). Neveliki opus, reklo bi se na prvu, ili iznimna samokontrola, svejedno, ali zar je vazno ima li opus nekog izvodaca 100 ili 700 pjesama kad iza njega ostaje barem 20-ak antologijskih. Cohen naprosto ima bolji prosjek od drugih. Kod njega su remek-djela pjesme puno cešce nego remek-djela albumi, iako i medu njima ima nekoliko koji su došli blizu savršenstva. Medu najbolje bi svakako trebalo svrstati Cohenove albume iz zrele faze 'Im Your Man' (1988) i 'Various Positions' (1984) gdje gotovo da i nema krive note, krivog stiha ili minute praznog hoda. Cohen si u karijeri nikad nije dopustio loš album, a kad ga ne bi milovale glazbene muze, one pjesnicke su uvijek bile blizu. Albumi manjeg nadahnuca, nazovimo to tako, bili bi 'Recent Songs' (1979) i vec spomenuti aktualni, manje pjevani više recitirani 'Dear Heather', iako na oba ima sjajnih momenata i antologijskih pjesama - primjerice 'Our Lady Of Solitude' na 'Recent Songs' ili pak 'Because Of' na 'Heather'.
Svojevrsnim eksperimentom bi se pak mogao nazvati simpaticni 'Death Of A Ladies Man' (1977) koji je radio s legendarnim Philom Spectorom, a najviše klasika vjerojatno bi se moglo naci na uvodnom kvartetu albuma - 'Songs Of Leonard Cohen' (1967), 'Songs From A Room' (1969), 'Songs Of Love And Hate' (1971) i 'New Skin For The Old Ceremony' (1974). Svakako treba spomenuti i kasne Cohenove albume 'The Future' (1992) i posebno 'Ten New Songs' (2001) gdje zvuci nevjerojatno svjeze i nadahnuto, a vec je blizu sedamdesetoj.
što reci, velika karijera, veliki umjetnik koji još ni priblizno nije rekao svoju zadnju.
"Complete discography of 77th birthday of the great artists"
(Croatia), December 22, 2011 by Ivan-Vanja Runjic
Leonard Cohen was again suddenly and surprisingly become 'cool', and in anticipation of the new album we have another opportunity to revaluations of his previous career
The Cohen's newly found fame, as we know, at least his 'guilt' - because there was one notorious accounting fraud in which he went into the wind reserves for a rainy day, maybe never, and would not back 'on the road'. Thus it went on almost three-year world tour, toured the planet several times, released two albums were recorded live and renewed (and expanded) its global fan base . His loss, therefore was our gain, although all who have had the opportunity to see, either in Zagreb, in Ljubljana, Belgrade or Vienna, they know that he did not hate it after many years again to stand before an audience. The tour could be heard a couple of new, very promising things ('Born In Chains', 'The Darkness', 'Lullaby ', 'Amen'...), a new, comeback album, which comes after a nearly eight-year break of not just too uspjelog 'Dear Heather', called 'Old Ideas' (it was the working title of the last album, but he withdrew because he too smelled a compilation of old stuff) and is scheduled for 30 January 2012. year.
In anticipation of the new album, but also on the occasion of Cohen's 77th birthday (which was the 21st of September), his entire catalog remasteriziran is packed in two boxes fine - 'The Complete Studio Albums Collection' with 11 original studio albums and a comprehensive 'The Complete Albums Collection' which, except for study, and contains Cohen's six official live albums (18 discs, because the 'Live In London' from 2009's twin), with performances ranging from 1970. ('Live At The Isle Of Wight') and last year's 'Songs From The Road'. Do you ever say that some of Cohen's albums from concerts simply essential, especially the later, which contain many radical new reading of old classics. But this is definitely not a commodity for the fans, because it does not bring anything you do not already have, and there are even those few bonus rarities from the early albums that have appeared in the previous wave remaster 2007th - It is therefore likely to preserve the integrity of the original album artwork as well rounded. Either way, it would not hurt another drive with additional rarities and B-sides and / or cooperation in both packages.
From the first ('Songs Of Leonard Cohen', 1967.) to the last ('Dear Heather', 2004. The ) Cohen's albums it's been 37 years, where he published only a hundred songs (namely 106 on studio albums plus another dozen of them smaller or larger published rarities, unreleased and live songs performed here do not count, but no more than another which 20 -AK). Smallish opus, it would seem at first, or extreme self-control, anyway, but does it matter whether a contractor opus 100 or 700 songs when he left behind at least 20-odd anthology. Cohen simply has a better average than others. With him are the masterpieces of songs rather than the masterpiece albums, though among them there are a few who came close to perfection. Among the best would certainly be classified as Cohen's albums from the mature phase of 'I'm Your Man' (1988) and 'Various Positions' (1984) where there is almost no wrong notes, wrong verse, or a minute of downtime. Cohen're in a career has never let a bad album, and when it would not be caressed musical muses, those poems were always close. Albums small inspiration, so let's call it, would be 'Recent Songs' (1979) and the above-mentioned current, less sung more recited 'Dear Heather', although both are some great moments and the anthology poems - such as 'Our Lady Of Solitude' in 'Recent Songs' or 'Because Of' the 'Heather'.
A kind of experiment would even be called cute 'Death Of A Ladies Man' (1977) who worked with the legendary Phil Spector, and probably the most classic one could be found on the introductory Quartet album - 'Songs Of Leonard Cohen' (1967), 'Songs From A Room' (1969), 'Songs Of Love And Hate' (1971) and 'New Skin For The Old Ceremony' (1974). Be sure to mention the late Cohen's album 'The Future' (1992) and especially the 'Ten New Songs' (2001), where it sounds incredibly fresh and inspired, and is already close to seventy.
What can I say, a great career, a great artist who is not nearly said his last.
Album: Leonard Cohen, The Complete Studio Albums Collection (Sony Legacy)
Independent (UK), December 28, 2011 by Andy Gill
* * * * out of 5
Phil Spector may have been able to find the most dramatic settings for some voices, but he met his match in Leonard Cohen's lugubrious baritone: the album they made together, Death Of A Ladies' Man, remains Cohen's least listenable, described by the singer himself as "grotesque", his voice a desperate hostage to the echoey-dungeon arrangements.
And framing what Cohen ironically referred to as his "gift of a golden voice" remains the secret to his most successful work, from the ingenious and subtle touches of oud, harpsichord and jew's harp with which John Simon tinted the singer's thrumming guitar work on his debut, through Bob Johnston's elegant balancing-act of absurdity and funereal sombreness on Songs Of Love And Hate, to Cohen's own blend of synths and strings on I'm Your Man. This 11CD set provides a pleasing illustration of the way in which world-weary irony has helped Cohen's worldview mature.
Legacy Reissue Roundup - Late 2011: Leonard Cohen - The Complete Albums Collection
The LA Beat, January 3, 2012 by Bob Lee
The packaging isn't exactly lavish on this set, nor is there any unreleased material to be found, but it does exactly what it says - every note Cohen ever released on an LP is found here, including eight discs of live material. Having all of Cohen's work in one place is a nice thing; those who have known his work primarily through best-of collections can trace his development from album to album and find the deeper cuts that deserve to be counted among his best. While his later studio albums are not necessarily his most crucial, they're all good, each one containing something unexpected. The thrills keep coming right up through the Live In London set from 2009, which features a striking version of "If It Be Your Will" sung by the Webb Sisters that's as strong as anything from his prime years. You could spring for the cheaper and more widely available Complete Studio Albums Collection, but in truth, the live performances of his biggest numbers are often preferable to their cleaner, sparser studio versions, so spring for the big one if you're going for it.
Speaking Cohen Home
Archives – Search Engine
Backgrounds provided by Eos Development