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Songs From The Road (Vinyl)

Leonard Cohen

Columbia 2010

Review by David Bowling

 

Leonard Cohen passed away November 7 at the age of 82. He released his debut album, Songs Of Leonard Cohen  in 1968, which began his rise to becoming one of the best and most respected singer/songwriters in popular music. This respect culminated with his induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on March 10, 2008.

Cohen has been reclusive at times, virtually disappearing on occasion. In 2008, though, he announced his first tour dates in fifteen years and since then, performed live in many parts of the world. During March of 2009 he released Live In London which presented the up-to-date version of his live show.

At the end of 1010 he released Songs From The Road, which gathered twelve of his best-known songs from performances in such places around the globe as Israel, England, Sweden, Finland, California, Germany, and his home country of Canada. They were recorded October of 2008 through November of 2009.

The album was released in three formats, including CD+DVD, Blu-ray, and in the format of this review, the 2-LP, 180-gram audiophile vinyl with a gatefold jacket. Extensive liner notes and comments about each song served to enhance the package.

I have always maintained that when produced correctly and played on the proper equipment, vinyl is the equal of a CD. That is the case here as the extra weight of the vinyl gives the sound a crystal-clear quality and clarity which is a necessary ingredient for enjoying a live album.

The material covers all parts of Cohen’s career. “Bird On A Wire,” “Suzanne,” “Famous Blue Raincoat,” “Hallelujah,” plus eight more are given passionate performances by Cohen and his backing band. While there may not be a complete concert feel to the release as the performances come from different shows, each does present him at his live best.

Songs from the Road presents Leonard Cohen live which is the way he should be heard and experienced. It is a double treat to have this release issued on vinyl. A must for any fan of this old song master.

Rating: ****

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