Judy Collins Sings Leonard Cohen: Democracy

Judy Collins Sings Leonard Cohen: Democracy

by Judy Collins
     
 

All songwriters should have such sympathetic interpreters as Judy Collins. In this lovely and inspiring collection of performances drawn from Collins albums of the past four-plus decades, this matchless singer brings warmth, emotional acuity, and luscious vocal tones to some of Leonard Cohen’s finest songs. Collins’s connection to Cohen stretches back to the…  See more details below

Overview

All songwriters should have such sympathetic interpreters as Judy Collins. In this lovely and inspiring collection of performances drawn from Collins albums of the past four-plus decades, this matchless singer brings warmth, emotional acuity, and luscious vocal tones to some of Leonard Cohen’s finest songs. Collins’s connection to Cohen stretches back to the beginnings of Cohen’s career as a performer. In fact, Collins could be said to have brought him to international attention by recording his poetic compositions for the first time. Her 1966 version of the enduring Cohen song “Suzanne” is among her best-loved tracks, and many other performances here rival it. Classics like “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” “Famous Blue Raincoat,” and “Bird on a Wire” and more recent Cohen fare such as “A Thousand Kisses Deep” are given intimate, heartrending readings by Collins, verifying her respect for the composer and personal affection for the songs themselves.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Singer and songwriter Judy Collins is credited with having "discovered" Leonard Cohen in 1966. She was the first person to record the classic "Suzanne" and "Dress Rehearsal Rag," launching the career of one of popular music's most profoundly talented singer/songwriters and enigmatic figures. Collins was revered at the dawn of the baby boom for her crystalline, breathtaking voice and her ability to emotionally translate even the most elliptical forms of musical poetry. Judy Collins Sings Leonard Cohen: Democracy collects ten performances of these tunes from the singer's Elektra catalog, one from her fine 2000 album Judy Collins Live at Wolf Trap, one from her 1967 album, Wildflowers, and three new recordings. The sweep in years is covered almost seamlessly. The title tack opens the record with its jarring modernity of programmed drums and keyboards and is immediately followed by the original recording of "Suzanne," only to be book-ended with a stunning reading of "A Thousand Kisses Deep," full of modern production and Collins' emotionally loaded, sensual performance. The set moves to "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" from Wildflowers. This and "Priests" both come from this seminal album where Collins covered not only Cohen, but Joni Mitchell as well, and scored big with "Both Sides Now." The album is given added significance because it was the first to feature her own songs. These songs were inspired, according to Collins' unflinchingly honest, elegant and moving liner notes, by Cohen himself; she states that he exhorted her to write her own material. Given the beauty of these notes, one wishes she would still. There are no weak or substandard selections here; Some of the other standouts are a rollicking country-rock read of "Bird on the Wire," and her acoustic reading of "Famous Blue Raincoat," accompanied only by her acoustic guitar. There is one near-rarity here: Collins' gorgeous reading of "Take This Longing," from her Bread and Roses collection with bassist Tony Levin, is breathtaking. Ultimately, this collection speaks volumes not only to Collins' considerable gifts as an interpretive singer, but more than this, to the fact that her voice, at once instantly recognizable, has lost none of its empathy, its steely conviction, or its aching vulnerability. This album, in past and present tenses, underscores Collins' under-celebrated contribution to excellence and history..

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/31/2004
Label:
Elektra / Wea
UPC:
0081227651022
catalogNumber:
76510

Tracks

  1. Democracy
  2. Suzanne
  3. A Thousand Kisses Deep
  4. Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye
  5. Dress Rehearsal Rag
  6. Priests
  7. Night Comes On
  8. Sisters of Mercy
  9. Story of Isaac
  10. Bird on the Wire
  11. Famous Blue Raincoat
  12. Joan of Arc
  13. Take This Longing

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Judy Collins   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Buddy Emmons   Pedal Steel Guitar
Joshua Rifkin   Conductor
Jay Berliner   Acoustic Guitar
James Burton   Electric Guitar
Sue Evans   Percussion,Background Vocals
Richard Bell   Piano,Background Vocals
Chris Ethridge   Bass
Steve Gadd   Drums
Tony Levin   Bass
Hugh McCracken   Electric Guitar
Michael Sahl   Organ,Piano,Harpsichord
Billy Slapin   Recorder
Russell Walden   Guitar,Keyboards,Musical Direction
James Gordon   Drums
Susan Evans   Percussion
Gene Taylor   Bass,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Leonard Cohen   Composer,Author
Judy Collins   Arranger,Producer,Liner Notes,Audio Production
Jennifer Warnes   Composer
Joshua Rifkin   Arranger
Mark Abramson   Producer,Audio Production
David Anderle   Producer
Hugh Brown   Art Direction
Robert Dennis   Arranger
Arif Mardin   Producer
Alan Silverman   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Russell Walden   Arranger,Programming
Robert Sylvester   Arranger
George Williamson   Sound Design
William Elliot   Composer
Saori Soga   Art Direction
Sharon Robinson   Composer

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