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Charity Shop Classics: Leonard Cohen

As Leonard Cohen releases a new LP, James Graham unearths his debut

Written by . Published on January 31st 2012.


Charity Shop Classics: Leonard Cohen

The Songs of Leonard CohenThe Songs of Leonard CohenUNTIL recently I thought The Songs of Leonard Cohen was some sort of greatest hits compilation, partly due to its title, but also because the quality is so high.

In fact it was his debut LP, released in 1967 when Cohen was 33 and already a published poet and author.

I picked up this copy for £1 in a Cancer Research shop and it has been a purchase which keeps on giving.

At first I was drawn to the familiar ('Suzanne') or upbeat ('So Long, Marianne') - wary of Cohen's sombre voice.

But I've been completely sucked in, and was almost moved to tears by my new favourite, 'Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye'. The songs are the opposite of pop - weighty and dense - and take a while to soak up.

It's true, his singing voice is heavy and unorthodox but it has soul which complements the surprisingly tender melody of each tune. This is the kind of record that becomes a life-long companion.

Charity Shop Classics goes out on the south Manchester radio station All FM 96.9 every Sunday from 11-12pm – except on the first weekend of the month.

Hear 'The Stranger Song' from The Songs of Leonard Cohen here.

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