Leonard Cohen - Songs Of Leonard Cohen - Review
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critics' view

Some 13 years after his first published poetry, and 4 years after his first novel, the 33 year-old Quebecan finally got around to presenting an album of works; “Songs of Leonard Cohen” first seeing the light of day with a small production run in December ’67. The man was a natural-born artist, it was perhaps only a matter of time that his writing would lead to music. He seen music as perhaps the most likely route for his writings to spread to wider audiences, and was thrilled when Judy Collins chose to record two of his songs, “Suzanne” and “Dress Rehearsal Rag”, for her late ’66 LP, “In My Life”. Suitably encouraged, Leonard stepped into Columbia’s New York studios in August ’67 and laid down as masterful a debut set as any artist has ever done. He was, of course, fully formed as a writer by this stage; it was merely a case of getting the musical tone just right.

Despite a few artistic differences between Leonard (who wanted “more sparsity”) and the producer John Simon (who wanted to “beef it up a bit”) the end results are stunning. There’s strength in depth to the content, with finely crafted songs and captivating lyrics from start to finish. As well as a first class lyricist, Leonard proves himself as no mean picker, with a Spanish inflection which provides a real fresh sound for the NY folk scene. Together with his earnest delivery, sometimes bordering on the deadpan, he makes quite an impression; addictive and unforgettable.

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