Recent Songs

Recent Songs

Infobox Album |
Name = Recent Songs
Type = Studio album
Artist = Leonard Cohen

Released = September 1979
Recorded = April–May 1979, A&M Studios, Hollywood
Genre = Folk
Length = 52:55
Label = Columbia Records
Producer = Leonard Cohen, Henry Lewy
Reviews =
* Allmusic Rating|4|5 [ link]
*"Rolling Stone" (mixed) [ link]
Last album = "Death of a Ladies' Man"
This album = "Recent Songs"
Next album = "Various Positions"

"Recent Songs" was the sixth studio album by Leonard Cohen, released in 1979. Produced by Henry Lewy and the artist himself, the album was a return to Cohen's acoustic folk music after the Phil Spector experimentation of "Death of a Ladies' Man", but now with many jazz and Oriental influences.

The album included Gypsy violin player Raffi Hakopian, Armenian oud player (located in Los Angeles) John Bilezikjian, and even a Mexican Mariachi band. Long-time Cohen collaborator Jennifer Warnes prominently appeared in vocal tracks. Members of the band Passenger, whom Cohen met through Joni Mitchell, played on four of the songs. They also served as his tour band later that year. Mitchell had also introduced Cohen to her regular sound engineer Henry Lewy, who produced "Recent Songs". Garth Hudson of The Band also appeared on the album.

Track notes

"Came So Far for Beauty" seems to be an unaltered outtake from the unfinished 1975 album "Songs for Rebecca" (the horns may have been added later), which also included early versions of "The Traitor" and "The Smokey Life" (then with music by John Lissauer).

"Ballad of the Absent Mare"'s metaphoric lyrics are based on the twelfth-century text "Ten Ox-herding Pictures" (or "The Ten Bulls") by the Chinese master Ka-Kuan. The song has been covered by several artists, notably Emmylou Harris on the album "Cowgirl's Prayer", in this case, as in some others, as "Ballad of a Runaway Horse."


Three outtakes are known, "The Faith", "Misty Blue" (by Bobby Montgomery), and "Do I Have to Dance All Night", the latter being a studio recording of a live song released as single in 1976. Cohen wanted to include "Misty Blue"/"Do I Have to Dance All Night" as a free bonus single with the LP, but Columbia rejected the idea.Cohen's 2004 song "The Faith" is based on the same folk tune as "Un Canadien errant" (which was covered on "Recent Songs"), and Cohen's collaborator Anjani admitted in a 2005 interview ( [ Old Ideas: Notes on "Dear Heather"] ) that he used an out-taked alternate 1979 track for "Un Canadien errant", adding new vocal line with completely new lyrics, for his 2004 album "Dear Heather".

Track listing

All songs were written by Leonard Cohen, except where noted.

ide one

#"The Guests" – 6:40
#"Humbled in Love" – 5:15
#"The Window" – 5:56
#"Came So Far for Beauty" (Cohen, John Lissauer) – 4:04
#"The Lost Canadian (Un Canadien errant)" (trad., Antoine Gérin-Lajoie) – 4:42

ide two

#"The Traitor" – 6:16
#"Our Lady of Solitude" – 3:13
#"The Gypsy's Wife" – 5:13
#"The Smokey Life" – 5:19
#"Ballad of the Absent Mare" – 6:26

External links

* [ Album lyrics] , from The Leonard Cohen Files

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