Leonard Cohen – Live Songs

More Leonard Cohen

Live Songs

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

We had a big shootout for this live album, compiled from different shows Cohen performed in 1970 and 1972, and we’re pleased to report that the sound was killer on both sides of this copy.

Drop the needle anywhere and you’ll notice the impressive immediacy to the vocals, the clear transients on the guitars and the deep, note-like bass. Cohen’s voice sounds just right here — deep and gravely — and the overall sound is rich, warm and full.

This copy has the kind of sound we look for in a ’70s Singer Songwriter album. A few qualities to listen for:

Immediacy in the vocals (so many copies are veiled and distant);

Natural tonal balance (most copies are at least slightly brighter or darker than ideal; ones with the right balance are the exception, not the rule);

Good solid weight (so the bass sounds full and powerful);

Spaciousness (the best copies have wonderful studio ambience and space);

And last but not least, transparency, the quality of being able to see into the studio, where there is plenty of musical information to be revealed in this simple but sophisticated recording.

Problems to Watch For

Some of the more common problems we ran into during our shootouts were slightly veiled, slightly smeary sound, with not all the top end extension that the best copies have.

You can easily hear that smear on the guitar transients; usually they’re a tad blunted and the guitar harmonics don’t ring the way they should.

These problems are just as common to the originals as they are to the reissues. Smeary, veiled, top-end-challenged pressings were regularly produced over the years. They are the rule, not the exception.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Minute Prologue 
Passing Thru 
You Know Who I Am
Bird on the Wire 
Nancy 
Improvisation

Side Two

Story of Isaac 
Please Don’t Pass Me By (A Disgrace)
Tonight Will Be Fine 
Queen Victoria

AMG Review

Live Songs is an integral part of the early Cohen chronicles… for those who’ve formed a friendship with the words and wisdom of Leonard Cohen, this album finds him raw and naked in one of his finest hours.