O Canada Day music

Take Off

It’s Canada Day, and so I need some Canada Day music. And there’s a LOT of it. I came across this list of the Best Canadian Musicians: 25 Icons From The Great White North.

I’m eliminating anyone whose music I don’t own, which is not a knock on the artists. I don’t have any albums by Shawn Mendes, Drake,  Ron Sexsmith, Blue Rodeo, Justin Bieber, Feist, Bryan Adams, Rush, or Rufus Wainwright (though I have music by each of his parents). And I was not familiar with Broken Social Scene, Joel Plaskett, or Al Tuck.

I do have Bob & Doug McKenzie with Geddy Lee from Rush doing Take Off.

That leaves:

Diana Krall. My wife and I have seen her live, though not simultaneously. Maybe a quarter century ago, I caught her open for Tony Bennett at Tanglewood. We have about a dozen and a half of her albums.  She is one of my wife’s K girls, along with Alison Krauss. Popsicle Toes

Daniel Lanois. I LOVE his album Acadie. Of course, I have several albums he’s produced for others, including U2, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, the Neville Brothers, Emmylou Harris, and Bob Dylan. The Maker

Gordon Lightfoot. I have a couple of his LPs. But this is the first song of his I ever heard. If You Could Read My Mind

Cowboy Junkies.  I’ve opted for the last song on The Trinity Session. Walkin’ After Midnight

Arcade Fire. I have two of their CDs, which I’ve been playing every July 1 since. No Cars Go

The Guess Who. I have three of their LPs, plus the greatest hits on CD.  The last song on the original GH. Hang On To Your Life with that ending from Psalm 22

Kathryn Dawn

k.d. lang. I have a LOT of her music, from her country roots to her more MOR material. She is one of the reasons I don’t organize my music by genre. Season Of Hollow Soul 

The Tragically Hip. Road Apples is an album I play on July 1. Twist My Arm

Bruce Cockburn. I bought several used albums from my roomie Mark in the 1980s.  I’ve already written about The Trouble With Normal. Lovers In A Dangerous Time

The Band. I loved the second (brown) album back in high school and then got all of their studio albums. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

Joni Mitchell. I’ve seen Joni twice, in 1974 in Saratoga Springs, NY, and in 1981 in Philadelphia. I bought her early albums on CD in 2022. People’s Parties/The Same Situation

Leonard Cohen. I had one LP years ago. I have songs of his covered by Judy Collins, Jennifer Warnes, and others, but in the past thirty years, I’ve come to appreciate him as a teller of his own tales. If you get a chance, see the 2022 movie about him. Almost Like The Blues

Neil Young. I have scads of Neil Young, from Buffalo Springfield to CSNY to at least 20 solo albums; here is the list from 2010, and I’ve gotten some since then. Mr. Soul from Trans, because why not?

Movie – Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song

September Cohen

Leonard CohenWhen we were in the Berkshires last week, my wife recommended that we go to the Images Cinema in downtown Williamstown, MA, to see the documentary Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song. She knew this would be the type of film I would be interested in seeing. I didn’t even know of its existence.

It is, the New York Times called “a definitive exploration of [the] singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen as seen through the prism of his internationally renowned hymn.”

It starts off with the poet and perhaps dilatant songwriter too shy to go out on stage. His then-new friend, Judy Collins, who had just covered his song Suzanne, went out on stage with him. He developed some confidence in performing, but developed some bad, though not uncommon, habits.

Leonard and his producer created an album containing Hallelujah and other good songs. In 1984, his label, Columbia, initially rejected it! (Yet they released an overdone album produced by Phil Spector.) The path of the song, involving perhaps 150 verses, Bob Dylan, John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, and far too many versions from American Idol and similar programs, is a fascinating tale.

Then in his seventies, Leonard has a musical resurgence. I have two albums of his from the 2010s, which I enjoy. He died in 2016 at the age of 82.


“Approved for production by Leonard Cohen just before his 80th birthday in 2014, the film accesses a wealth of never-before-seen archival materials from the Cohen Trust, including Cohen’s personal notebooks, journals and photographs, performance footage, and extremely rare audio recordings and interviews.” The film’s copyright is 2021, but the release date was July 15, 2022.

At some point, Leonard considered changing his first name to September. It’s not only his birth month, but it is also the month that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur often fall. I was particularly fascinated with him negotiating with his religious beliefs.

As luck would have it, Kelly has already written an essay about the song and has linked it to a Cohen version of Hallelujah.

The documentary is recommended if you can find it.

Death, politics, plus other happy topics

trump-house-plane1I don’t know about you, but I’m STILL recovering from the election. Oh, maybe it’s not just the election, maybe it was Leonard Cohen’s death, and Leon Russell’s and, interestingly enough, Gwen Ifill’s. When I heard the news about the PBS newswoman, I sobbed for twenty minutes, and I’m not even sure why.

Maybe it was because the electoral process often missed Gwen Ifill’s sagacity as she, mostly quietly, fought the cancer. Surely, it’s because, at 61, she was younger than I. Maybe it was seeing how her death affected others. Pete Williams, reporting on MSNBC, could barely get the words out without choking. Or maybe it was her calm in rough seas.

What I have noticed is that people before the vote had different points of view. But it has NEVER come out so vigorously, post-election. Some folks in my circle got into a bit of a Facebook tussle over Donald Trump, which was largely about how his family seemed to monetize everything in the transition, from “as seen on 60 Minutes” bling to the greatagain.GOV website seeming to hawk Trump businesses, to a potential conflict if his adult kids were to get security clearance.

As this quote from Hot Air notes:

If Trump has real estate in the UAE and the Trump kids discover that there’s a developing terrorist threat there, and they decide to sell that property because of it, they’ve used secret national intelligence made available to them by their father to avoid a financial loss for the family. It’s as far from a blind trust as you can get: Instead of the managers of Trump’s wealth being completely independent of him, they’d be exploiting him to see things on the global financial landscape that they otherwise never would have known. It’ll be a “superhuman-sight trust,” not a blind trust.

And even if they’re scrupulous somehow about keeping business and government separate, just by pure chance they may end up selling assets or buying assets in a place that later coincidentally turns out to be strongly affected by some Trump administration policy. The public will assume corruption even if it’s not there, which will damage Trump. For the sake of his own credibility, he should stick with a blind trust.

Of course, the request for clearance “never happened,” I’m told; I suspect it was a trial balloon. And “Trump isn’t taking a salary” though he ought to. And “the Clinton stole the silverware.” And it all got rather testy after that. But in years past, who we and they voted for just would not have come up. And, for the most part, it didn’t matter; one didn’t think less well of the other.

People being disenfranchised saddens me as much as it angers me. There’s hate mail, and a lot worse out there. This is interesting: in the same month the movie Loving, about a white man and a black woman winning a Supreme Court case about getting married, is being released, SMU is flooded with fliers titled “Why White Women Shouldn’t Date Black Men.” So maybe I’m mourning.

I shan’t mention the white nationalist champion the Prez-elect picked as his chief strategist or the climate science denier who’s heading his EPA transition team or his anti-gay potential SCOTUS pick or Rudy Guiliani.

The only things that make me happy, and only mildly, seem to involve Vice President-elect Mike Pence. He’s dealing with his own email controversy, ironically. Lots of people are donating to Planned Parenthood in his name, which I love! He’s leading a transition that may in discord, which, in the short term, might not be too bad for the country.

My favorite Barack and Joe meme actually involved Michelle and Jill asking why was it always the guys? “Male patriarchy.”

So I’m in a major funk. Even doing Chuck Miller’s quiz thing didn’t help:
Year given: 1986
Age: 33
Now: 63
Relationship status: Living with someone
Now: Married
Living in: Albany
Now: Albany
Pets: None
Now: Two cats
Was I happy?: There were elements of happiness. I had my 33 1/3 party in July because. I still have a copy of the invitation somewhere in the attic. Work at FantaCo was interesting because I was working on a comic book.
Now: Well, you WOULD ask AFTER the election
Kids: None
Kids now: One

I know others in similar, or worse, situations, and I feel for them. Oh, and I attended my cousin’s funeral last week.

You know what ELSE it is? It’s information and the fact that I can no longer trust much of what I read, a real pain for a librarian.

When I saw that jazz man Mose Allison had died, I didn’t believe it, not because, at 89, he couldn’t have passed away, but because I was unfamiliar with the source. It wasn’t until I read it in the New York Times that I was satisfied it was true. This is exhausting over time.

This list of False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical ‘News’ Sources is useful, but occasionally there are really useful insights in some of them, especially on the satirical sites. And it may be that the problem is the failing media who cut their budgets. The word of the year is post-truth; this suggests to me we’ll NEVER be able to talk with each other. This makes me terribly sad.

But the one thing that gives me a modicum of hope is that a LOT of people seem really stirred up to engage in activism. As the Rev. William J. Barber II noted, A Dying Mule Always Kicks the Hardest. “Why Donald Trump’s election means ‘we must work together for a Third Reconstruction in America.'”

Listen to Mose Allison. Your Mind Is On Vacation and Monsters of the Id.

And from Sharon Jones, who ALSO died (dammit), Stranger to My Happiness and Retreat, which she did not.

November rambling #1: Theodosia Burr

I have a lot of Leonard Cohen songs, Hallelujah, Suzanne, and Bird on a Wire, among them, that others have covered.

Analytical Grammar: Homophone graffitil
Analytical Grammar: Homophone graffiti

Why many Americans don’t see Donald Trump as racist

So You Want to Wear a Safety Pin

1st woman elected to Congress, in 1916

John Oliver: School Segregation and Multilevel Marketing

6 Million Lost Voters: State-Level Estimates of Felony Disenfranchisement, 2016

Do You Understand the Electoral College? You should read all of AmeriNZ’s posts this past week, e.g. Fixing the Electoral College, which mentions my favorite fix, Instant Runoff Voting

Trump was unfamiliar with the scope of the president’s job when meeting Obama

Prince Ea: I JUST SUED THE SCHOOL SYSTEM and Dear Future Generations: Sorry

How Teens In The Balkans Are Duping Trump Supporters With Fake News

How Andy Borowitz explained the election to his six-year-old daughter – (NOT fake news)

A 1922 New York Times article about Adolf Hitler catastrophically misjudged the authenticity of his anti-semitism

Writer too strong to live, about sports, sexism and alcohol (HT to Jaquandor)

Deepika Padukone on depression

The men feminists left behind

A Teaching Moment on Sexual Assault and It’s hard to talk about, but it happens to so many women and Reasons So Many Guys Don’t Understand Sexual Consent

Top African American environmental leader faces racial incident in Adirondacks – Aaron Mair, who I have met, is the president of the Sierra Club

Gwen Ifill, longtime PBS news anchor, died after a battle with cancer – she was 61 – made me feel surprisingly devastated

Four-color Christ Jesus

Glenn Beck tries decency

Amy Biancolli interview in Widows and Widowers Magazine

The Dramatic Life and Mysterious Death of Theodosia Burr. The fate of Aaron Burr’s daughter remains a topic of contention

Race-Conscious Casting and the Erasure of the Black Past in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton

This black woman rode across America in 1930. On a Harley. In spite of rampant racism, she was ‘very happy on two wheels’


Trevor Noah wasn’t expecting liberal hatred

You’ve Just Crossed Over Into … the Rod Serling Gazebo

Ira Gobler and the Star Wars Toys That Never Were

Norman Rockwell Museum Presents Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning, through May 29, 2017

My Poetic Side: favorite war poets, each related to a different war and ordered chronologically, from The American Civil War to the Iraq War.

Presidential candidates in comic books

Robert Vaughn, Man from UNCLE actor, dies aged 83. I used to play the spy show with sister Marcia. I played Napoleon Solo, the Vaughn role.

Now I Know: Fool Me Twice, Plane on You and Going to Venus in Peace and May The Force Be Costumed and Smell Ya Later?

Doing the Write-In Thing (ROG reference)


Jean Sibelius and the virtual national classical music work of Finland; here’s Finlandia

Mozart Requiem

K-Chuck Radio: Draw that bow, my son…

Jazz ‘Hot’: The Rare 1938 Short Film With Jazz Legend Django Reinhardt

Bohemian Rhapsody performed by excerpts from 260 different movies

An Hour of Jeopardy Think Music

16 Albums That Changed The Music Business

Master Recordings — From Abbey Road to Born to Run — Could Be Lost Forever, Without Archivists’ Help

Copland’s Fanfare: The making of a musical monument

Leonard Cohen died at the age of 82 and hugely influential singer and songwriter’s work spanned nearly 50 years; his 2008 induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; two of of my favorites are this and this

Leon Russell died – His 2011 induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Greatest Invention of One Thousand Years Ago

The 10 Greatest Double Albums In Rock History – you WILL guess most of these

The “432 Hz vs. 440 Hz” conspiracy theory

The Upper Crust of Music

C is for Covering Cohen

“I trusted Leonard more than anyone I had known…at times, more than myself.”

According to Wikipedia, Canadian poet-singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, a 2008 inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, has had over 2,000 renditions of his songs recorded. Indeed, there have whole albums of Cohen covers, some by various artists, but some by a single performer.

It has been stated by some that folk singer Judy Collins “discovered” Leonard Cohen because she was the first major artist to cover his tunes, starting with her sixth Elektra album, 1967’s In My Life, with Suzanne and Dress Rehearsal Rag.

She, however, would hastily disagree. On the liner notes of her tribute album to him, 2004’s Democracy Now, she writes: “what is more true is that he discovered me, and in that first year after our meeting, he told me I should be writing songs.” Subsequently, she did. They displayed a creative synergy, with her pushing him to perform, initially, at a WBAI (NYC) public radio fundraiser, quite literally. In return, she said, “I trusted Leonard more than anyone I had known…at times, more than myself.”

All these songs were sung by Judy Collins on Democracy Now:

Suzanne – Leonard Cohen and Judy Collins

Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye – Roberta Flack

Sisters Of Mercy – Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris

Bird On A Wire – Johnny Cash

Story of Isaac – Suzanne Vega

Most of the songs on Democracy Now were previously recorded by Judy, but there were three songs newly recorded by her, all written by Cohen, except the Song of Bernadette, co-written with William Elliot and Jennifer Warnes.

Song of Bernadette – Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt

And speaking of Warnes, who was a backup singer for Leonard Cohen in the 1970s, she also did a tribute album called Famous Blue Raincoat back in 1986, reissued with additional songs in 2007. Among the tunes, Song of Bernadette, Bird on the Wire, and

First We Take Manhattan – Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes

Famous Blue Raincoat – here sung by Joan Baez

Of course, no Leonard Cohen discussion would be complete without the oft-covered Hallelujah. I opted for the version by fellow Canadian k.d. lang, which she initially recorded for an album of tunes by Canadian songwriters, 2004’s Hymns of the 49th Parallel, and performed at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC, CANADA.

ABC Wednesday – Round 9

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