Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Leonard Cohen - Death Of a Ladies Man (1977)

This is one of my all-time favourite albums, but its overlooked within Cohen's discography. It doesn't really fit neatly with the rest of his work - so perhaps this partly explains it. Compared with Cohen's other work the production is much richer and the songs are funnier too.

It was recorded in 1977 and produced by the legendary/infamous Phil SPector who is credited with writing the music. According to wikipedia Cohen and Spector fell-out during through recording (rather like Lennon  did with Spector during the Rock'n'Roll sessions), so several songs only feature guide-vocals. Spector can
be heard providing backing vocals on several tunes - his weedy, thin voice can be best heard in the fade-outs.

Cohen is often regarded as a solemn, melancholy artst but this album is packed with wry humour. The songs are mainly about sexual frustration and relationships. As evidence - just check-out the song title "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On". Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg also feature among the massed-chorus of this song.

Jarvis Cocker, springs-to-mind, as another artist whose songs have covered similar themes.

I can't think of any other case where I can detect any direct musical influence in Cohen's work - but elements of Donovan's Atlantis and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, I think, can be heard in the 9-minute final track "Death of a Ladies' Man".

It'd be interesting to read some contemporary reviews of this album. I gather it was a critical and commercial failure at the time and Cohen was dismissive of the results.

Its also got a great cover. Just who are those women?

I think in the 36 years since its recording, it has dated-well, and I can easily imagine listening to this album in another 36. (I hope so anyway).