|Studio album by Leonard Cohen|
|Released||September 27, 1979|
|Recorded||April - May 1979 at A&M Studios, Hollywood|
|Producer||Leonard Cohen, Henry Lewy|
|Leonard Cohen chronology|
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2012)|
Recent Songs is the sixth studio album by Leonard Cohen, released in 1979. Produced by Leonard Cohen and Henry Lewy, it was a return to Cohen's acoustic folk music after the Phil Spector experimentation of Death of a Ladies' Man, but now with many jazz and Oriental influences.
The album included Gypsy violin player Raffi Hakopian, Armenian oud player (located in Los Angeles) John Bilezikjian and even a Mexican Mariachi band. Long-time Cohen collaborator Jennifer Warnes prominently appeared in vocal tracks. Members of the band Passenger, whom Cohen met through Joni Mitchell, played on four of the songs. They also served as his tour band later that year and in 1980. Mitchell had also introduced Cohen to her regular sound engineer Henry Lewy, who produced Recent Songs. Garth Hudson of The Band also appeared on the album. The painting of Cohen on the album cover is by the artist Dianne Lawrence. 
"Came So Far for Beauty" seems to be an unaltered outtake from the unfinished 1975 album Songs for Rebecca (the horns may have been added later), which also included early versions of "The Traitor" and "The Smokey Life" (then with music by John Lissauer).
"Ballad of the Absent Mare"'s metaphoric lyrics are based on the twelfth-century Ten Bulls (or Ten Ox-herding Pictures). The song is covered by several artists, notably Emmylou Harris on the album Cowgirl's Prayer (as "Ballad of a Runaway Horse") and Perla Batalla feat. David Hidalgo on the album Bird on the Wire: the Songs of Leonard Cohen.
Three outtakes are known, "The Faith", "Misty Blue" (by Bobby Montgomery), and a studio recording of "Do I Have to Dance All Night", a live version of which was released as a single in 1976. Cohen wanted to include "Misty Blue"/"Do I Have to Dance All Night" as a free bonus single with the LP, but Columbia rejected the idea.
Cohen's 2004 song "The Faith" is based on the same folk tune as "Un Canadien errant" (which was covered on Recent Songs), and Cohen's collaborator Anjani acknowledged in a 2005 interview (Old Ideas: Notes on Dear Heather) that he used an out-taked alternate 1979 track for "Un Canadien errant", adding new vocal line with completely new lyrics, for his 2004 album Dear Heather.
The Canadian singer Patricia O'Callaghan performs covers of "The Window", "The Gypsy's Wife" and "The Smokey Life" on her fifth solo album Matador: The Songs of Leonard Cohen released in 2011.
Nana Mouskouri has covered the song on several albums (Song for Liberty, Vivre Avec Toi, I'll Remember You, The Rose) and also sung the song in translation, for instance as "Das Fest" her German language album "Ich hab gelacht, ich hab geweint"
|Robert Christgau||(B) link|
|Rolling Stone||(mixed) link|
All songs written by Leonard Cohen, except where noted.
- "The Guests" - 6:40
- "Humbled in Love" - 5:15
- "The Window" - 5:56
- "Came So Far for Beauty" (Cohen, John Lissauer) - 4:04
- "The Lost Canadian (Un Canadien errant)" (Traditional, Antoine Gérin-Lajoie) - 4:42
- "The Traitor" - 6:16
- "Our Lady of Solitude" - 3:13
- "The Gypsy's Wife" - 5:13
- "The Smokey Life" - 5:19
- "Ballad of the Absent Mare" - 6:26
- Album lyrics, from The Leonard Cohen Files