Live Songs

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Live Songs
Live album by Leonard Cohen
Released April 1, 1973
Recorded 1970, 1972
Genre Folk
Length 49:10
Label Columbia
Producer Bob Johnston
Leonard Cohen chronology
Songs of Love and Hate
Live Songs
New Skin for the Old Ceremony
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
Robert Christgau B+ link

Live Songs is Leonard Cohen's first live album, released during the three-year silence between Songs of Love and Hate and New Skin for the Old Ceremony. It consists of recordings from concerts performed mostly in Europe in 1970 and 1972. Cohen is backed by a medium-sized, country-influenced group, which includes guitarist/fiddler Charlie Daniels and vocalist "Jennifer Warren", who would soon become famous as Jennifer Warnes, among other things a popular interpreter of Cohen's songs.

The album consists mostly of reinterpretations (often with additional or significantly altered lyrics) of songs from Cohen's second album, Songs From a Room ("Nancy" is a version of "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy", and "Improvisation" is an extended instrumental guitar trio version of the vamp from "You Know Who I Am", which is also featured). 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 same tour as the 1970 recordings here) are represented. The other tracks are a cover of the folk standard "Passing Through", and two new compositions: "Please Don't Pass Me By (A Disgrace)" (a thirteen-minute singalong recorded in 1970) and "Minute Prologue". A "bonus" track, "Queen Victoria", was recorded by Cohen alone in his Tennessee hotel room in 1972.

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.

Track listing[edit]

  • All songs written by Leonard Cohen except "Passing Through" (by Dick Blakeslee, arranged by Cohen).
  • All recorded in 1972 except "Please Don't Pass Me By (A Disgrace)" and "Tonight Will Be Fine" in 1970. Location of recording in parentheses.

Side 1 (Recorded in 1972)[edit]

  1. "Minute Prologue" – 1:12 (London)
  2. "Passing Through" – 4:05 (London)
  3. "You Know Who I Am" – 5:22 (Brussels)
  4. "Bird on the Wire" – 4:27 (Paris)
  5. "Nancy" – 3:48 (London)
  6. "Improvisation" – 3:17 (Paris)

Side 2 (Recorded in 1970 and 1972)[edit]

  1. "Story of Isaac" – 3:56 (Berlin)
  2. "Please Don't Pass Me By (A Disgrace)" – 13:00 (London)
  3. "Tonight Will Be Fine" – 6:06 (Isle of Wight)
  4. "Queen Victoria" – 3:28 (Tennessee)