Monday, October 15, 2012

“Sing Another Song, Boys”

No, friends, it isn’t Monday morning, & Leonard Cohen isn’t a blues musician by any reasonable definition of the term. But I’m here to introduce a bit of a change in our programming—which—& I apologize for this—has gotten a bit desultory of late other than the fine poems submitted by Barbie, Mairi, Carmen & A.K. Barkley.

In an effort to jump start things a bit here at Robert Frost’s Banjo, I’m calling an end to the long running Monday Morning Blues series. Obviously, one could write about the blues for a lifetime & still leave ground completely uncovered—but I also think it’s time for me to move on. However, the Any Woman’s Blues series about women blues guitarists will continue to appear the last Monday of each month.

So Mondays will remain “musical,” but without reference to genre. I’m hoping to diversify the posts as much as I can, not just in terms of musical content, but also in terms of form—in other words, not necessarily all YouTube videos with commentary.

Finally, I’m also strongly considering folding the Banjo Friday posts into this Musical Monday concept, which would free up another day in the schedule.

Now to today’s song: I’ve been thinking about Leonard Cohen quite a bit these days, & “Sing Another Song, Boys,” recorded live at a show on the Isle of Wight & released on what may be his finest album, Songs of Love & Hate. It may be my favorite Cohen song—the lyrics are a disjointed but extremely evocative portrait of love trapped within the selves of the lovers: lovers who will “never ever reach the moon” because they are ultimately self-enclosed; the music is a driving 6/8 time, with Cohen’s expressive talk-sung baritone voice providing the perfect channel for his words—& the typical lovely harmonies setting off his vocal. This is musically very far from the blues—but the emotion of the singing certainly points toward a relationship, however distant.

Beautiful piece of music—enjoy!


Image links to its source on Wikipedia, which claims Fair Use.


  1. Ha! You say, "Leonard"; I'm in!

    As I was listening, I was trying to decide of which of his other songs I was being reminded. I figured it out, it's "So Long, Marianne".

    I was fortunate to see him in person a few years back and it was an experience I will never forget.

    I do prefer his live recordings and now you've given me a new one to seek out, since I had not heard this particular song, and I like it very much! Thanks!

  2. Hi Kat: Thanks! The tempo & the meter are similar to So Long Marianne--hadn't thought of that. He's coming here next month; I honestly don't know that I'll be going, but he is certainly a major figure indeed. I should point out that this is the only "live" cut on "Songs of Love & Hate." "Songs of Love & Hate" was his third album (a trilogy of "Songs" albums--"Songs of Leonard Cohen," "Songs from a Room," "Songs of Love & Hate") & was produced by the great Bob Johnston for Columbia.

    Great to see you!

  3. Ah! It's always great to here Leonard Cohen. Thanks John!

  4. Like Kat, I too had the good fortune to see Leonard live, and I afterwards, felt as if I'd been to the best possible version of "church" that existed.

    Truly, a peak moment.

    Thanks for posting this, John.

    1. Hi T.! Thanks for stopping by! That is indeed high praise for a Leonard Cohen show; I will have to consider my options. Hope you have been well.


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