24 May 2015
- Last edited 25 May 2015
Originally posted by saintbletch
It's a shame that this has been so tainted in recent years, but it's still one of my favourite covers.
If only those that have murdered it in the name of chart success had bothered to 'listen' to the words.
A magical interpretation of the 'laughing' Leonard Cohen original, brought to life by an artist for whom the song obviously meant something very personal.
Also covered to great effect by my compatriot Mr Cale, isn't it. Much as I like Jeff Buckley's version, this one is my favourite. From the same concert as the live version of Hearbreak Hotel that I posted earlier, all found on an LP called Fragments of a Rainy Season. Incidentally, John Cale first recorded this for a Laughing Len tribute LP entitled I'm Your Fan; he knew that Cohen had left a few verses out of his original recording, so he got Cohen to send him the whole lot. His final stanza, for instance, doesn't appear in the original, but Cale liked it better than the one that Cohen chose. Cohen's original is less dark which, given his reputation, may come as a surprise.
Long story, well a story that spans a long period of time anyway. My memory is a bit sketchy as my synapses had cider in them at the time, but a few months before Arthur Lee died, a mate and I went to see him at The Brook. He was the frontman of the band Love. I didn't know much about him/them before going, but my mate (who is older) was a massive fan. Anyway, it was a great night and even though he was getting on, he put on a great show.
Fast forward to last month and me and the same mate are at a Calexico gig in London and as part of the encore, they played this.
A cover of Love's Alone again, or...
Was almost spiritually good.
Forever Changes, recorded in 1967 and from which Alone again or... is taken, is a masterpiece. I saw Arthur Lee perform the LP at the RFH about a dozen years ago and he was excellent. I like that Calexico version, mind.
Just wanted to say that since this 'chat', and following my walk to Hursley where I discussed Love with the same mate mentioned above, I've been playing Forever Changes every day.
I found a version that was recorded live - perhaps during the tour you saw, and it's stunning. The original recording - or at least my copy, features some pretty dodgy stero mixing, so the live version is a real treat.
So whilst this is definitely not a cover, and therefore off-topic, I'll risk the infraction...