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May 24, 2012


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I LOVE this. What a brilliant post. And I find the argument compelling. The opening song in Cohen's latest album is also a conversation between parts of the self. In this case, it is as if Inspiration is speaking to The Vessel ("he knows he's really nothing but the brief elaboration of a tube") It opens something like:

I love to speak with Leonard. He's a sportsman and a shepherd. He's a lazy bastard living in a suit.
But he does do what I tell him. Even though it isn't welcome.

I will read your post on the raincoat again and again! A perfectly articulated vision of inner geography, inner geography I love to get lost in.

Thanks, Jenny.

Former BAP blogger Earle Hitchner writes:

Lawrence Epstein did a fine exegesis of Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat" lyrics. But like a play that's read and not seen, which guts the impact by half, song lyrics require both a well-executed melody and a skillful performance to deliver full power. So let me recommend a recorded version not by Cohen himself that delivers full power: that by Jennifer Warnes on her 1986 album, FAMOUS BLUE RAINCOAT (a Cypress Records CD of exquisite DDD quality). There's also a 20th-anniversary edition of the album, released by Shout Factory in 2007, that contains four more tracks and a booklet. How good is Warnes's interpretation of Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat"? It's right up there with Jeff Buckley's famous rendition of Cohen's "Hallelujah." Trust your ears.

what an absolute pile of Horace McNure. The author must be a psychologist working for the government, an environment that creates phantom diseases or scenarios from innocuous sets of circumstances.
It's a marvelous song about love, betrayal and forgiveness...... let it stand as such for heaven's sake.

I just want to say I disagree with caudite. We happened to be discussing the song and Professor Epstein's analysis of it in class and we felt that it was key to understanding Leonard Cohen and his influence. Thank you. Respectfully. Jane

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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