Various Artists-Tower of Song - The
Songs of Leonard Cohen (A&M)
Leonard Cohen is one of the
most brilliant songwriters out there, but his gruff vocals have probably
kept him from getting a wide audience. This makes it fascinating to see what
other artists can do with his work.
Actually, this is the third Cohen
tribute album, following Jennifer Warnes' Famous Blue Raincoat and
the compilation I'm Your Fan.
This one plays it safer and more
commercial than the others, and thus is the worst of them. Still, it has
much worth hearing.
Bono and Sting are obvious choices to take on Cohen's
oeuvre, and they sound fine here, but the real standouts are Tori Amos'
gentle take on "Famous Blue Raincoat" and, believe it or not, Billy Joel's
surprisingly sensitive "Light As the Breeze."
Sometimes a song and artist
are just mismatched, though, for example, Don Henley puts too much of a
peaceful easy feeling on "Everybody Knows," a masterpiece of obsessive
jealousy and spite.
Still, if this album gets people to seek out the
originals, it's a triumph. (11/95)
Jay S. Jacobs
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August 05, 2015.