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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 04:39 GMT 

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Even though I don't think Leonard Cohen ever made a bad album, Death of a Ladies Man for me is the least appealing in his career. I don't think it's a bad album, in fact I think if it was cleaned up a bit it could be pretty great. Lately I was thinking of which album of Dylan's would compare to that record, and was torn between Street-Legal and Empire Burlesque.

While I don't agree with most of the similarities critics see in Street-Legal and Empire Burlesque, I think they are the two albums that are comparable with Death of a Ladies Man. Both are marred by their production (under and over) and have a sound that isn't typically associated with Dylan. It is because of the production and rushed nature of both albums that some great songs fly under the radar, in my opinion. The same goes for Cohen's album.

I feel like Street-Legal has more songs worth hearing (Changing..., New Pony, Senor, Where Are You Tonignt being examples) than Empire Burlesque. But Empire Burlesque needs to be stripped down more than Street-Legal needs to be cleaned up. It's possible that Empire Burlesque would be a more interesting album without the 80's cheese.

I'm hoping that in my lifetime I can hear a better version of Death of a Ladies Man, and that goes for Street-Legal and Empire Burlesque too. But I can't decide which album really needs the attention more. Just a few thoughts that have been in my mind today, anyone else have any thoughts on these albums?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 04:42 GMT 
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Street-Legal doesn't need polishing. Don't mess with it.

Empire Burlesque on the other hand could really use some work. Some decent songs buried under thick production and a weak voice.


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 05:13 GMT 
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Street-Legal is Dylan's Death of a Ladies' Man in every way — it's the sound of unrequited love leading to sad coke-fuelled arrogance, anger and pain. Cohen's however, being the gentleman he was, has a further touch of sweetness and acceptance that Dylan's does not, perhaps because he was not hurting as badly as Dylan was during this period.

They're both terrific albums for what they are and do not need to be changed.

I prefer Cohen's though, for the record. Held side by side lyrically, it really does show how much more of a precise master of poetry Cohen was compared to Dylan's "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" approach.


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 05:27 GMT 

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Nightingale's Code wrote:
Street-Legal doesn't need polishing. Don't mess with it.

Empire Burlesque on the other hand could really use some work. Some decent songs buried under thick production and a weak voice.


Not like polishing in the sense that things needed to be added, but more of accentuating what is already there. Some mixes sound muddier than others. There's one I heard on DylanRadio that brought out Dylan's voice and the drums and bass. It sounded great! The Spotify version and the record itself are great as is, so I see why it wouldn't desperately need anything. I really think artist like him and Cohen need to have their voices sound as clear as they can on their studio albums, not just because of what they might have to say but because I think they're among the best voices out there.

mystic garden wrote:
Street-Legal is Dylan's Death of a Ladies' Man in every way — it's the sound of unrequited love leading to sad coke-fuelled arrogance, anger and pain.

They're both terrific albums for what they are and do not need to be changed.

I prefer Cohen's though, for the record.


Death of a Ladies Man over Street-Legal? I'd be eager to agree if not for the tweaking of the vocals on Death of a Ladies Man. It's not necessary to do that! Phil Spector did hijack the album, though. I doubt it was Cohen's idea. Not to mention that it came out right after New Skin for the Old Ceremony, which perfectly captured his vocals and had instrumentation that added to the song without being distracting. Don't Go Home With Your Hard On is the only song I can think of that really benefits from the craziness of that album.


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 13:19 GMT 

Joined: Thu July 5th, 2007, 08:12 GMT
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Location: Copenhagen.dk
Dylan is providing backing vocal on "Hard-On".


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 15:19 GMT 
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Mr.Frank wrote:
Dylan is providing backing vocal on "Hard-On".


But you cannot hear him, can you?


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 15:39 GMT 

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Okay, i confess, i read it somewhere, but Allen Ginsburg is loud and clear.


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 15:55 GMT 
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*edit wrong thread :oops:


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 16:01 GMT 

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h.egbert wrote:
Mr.Frank wrote:
Dylan is providing backing vocal on "Hard-On".


But you cannot hear him, can you?


Whoever is yelling on the final version sounds close enough to Dylan, but it isn't exactly crystal clear. The real shame is that not ONE picture exists of the two of them together. I'm still hoping we'll see a long lost photo of Dylan and Cohen one day.


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 16:42 GMT 

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"Death of a Ladies' Man" is (I think) the only Leonard album I've never heard. I always wondered if it's as bad as everyone says it is.

As for the rest of his records, they range for me from good ("Dear Heather") to absolutely classic ("Love and Hate", "Ten New Songs"). Then again, I love everything but Bob's jacket on "Empire Burlesque". So maybe I'd be on board with "Ladies' Man".


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 17:29 GMT 

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holliswatson wrote:
"Death of a Ladies' Man" is (I think) the only Leonard album I've never heard. I always wondered if it's as bad as everyone says it is.

As for the rest of his records, they range for me from good ("Dear Heather") to absolutely classic ("Love and Hate", "Ten New Songs"). Then again, I love everything but Bob's jacket on "Empire Burlesque". So maybe I'd be on board with "Ladies' Man".


It's not bad, but it's dressed up in the Spector sound and it isn't really fitting. But once you get over the initial reaction to the sound, there's great material on the record. If you like Empire Burlesque, I think you'd find Death of a Ladies Man enjoyable. Also, like Dylan, Cohen took a few of the songs from the album on the road shortly after it's release ('79 I believe). The live version of Memories is awesome! It showed how great the song can be, like the live version of When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky and Seeing the Real You At Last (although the album version is pretty good too).


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 17:54 GMT 
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holliswatson wrote:
"Death of a Ladies' Man" is (I think) the only Leonard album I've never heard. I always wondered if it's as bad as everyone says it is.

As for the rest of his records, they range for me from good ("Dear Heather") to absolutely classic ("Love and Hate", "Ten New Songs"). Then again, I love everything but Bob's jacket on "Empire Burlesque". So maybe I'd be on board with "Ladies' Man".

Death of a Ladies' Man is great. I think it gets unfairly maligned for its unusual sound considering the rest of Cohen's output. It's definitely messy and Spector really took over moreso than anyone would want for a Cohen album, but the songs they got out of it were great.


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 17:55 GMT 
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Nightingale's Code wrote:
Street-Legal doesn't need polishing. Don't mess with it.

Empire Burlesque on the other hand could really use some work. Some decent songs buried under thick production and a weak voice.


Disagree with the "weak voice." I think his singing is great on EB - powerful even, although at this time he had finally fully slipped into the "Bob sounds like an impression of himself" period.


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 18:14 GMT 
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^Dark Eyes is a major exception, it’s probably my favorite song of the 80’s from Bob and it’s a real masterpiece both in writing and execution. The other songs don’t do much for me and I think the singing on the album is a caricature of himself (although the BS3 version of When The Night Comes Falling is terrific).


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 19:58 GMT 
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Fair enough ... I like all the songs on EB, but then, I fully realize that I love the album more than anyone I know, even among Dylan fans.


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 21:23 GMT 
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Death of a Ladies Man is one of Leonard’s greatest works. Don’t you dare touch it. I listened to it yesterday and there’s not a single song to skip.


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 Post subject: Re: Dylan's
PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 22:50 GMT 

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goodnitesteve wrote:
Death of a Ladies Man is one of Leonard’s greatest works. Don’t you dare touch it. I listened to it yesterday and there’s not a single song to skip.


Who said skipping songs? I think they're great songs, and on the page they are fantastic as well (as is the case with all of his work). But it seems like Phil Spector almost tried to drown out Cohen's vocals, or layer them to the point where it sounds mixed up in all the music.

I'm not against records that have that crazy feel. Real Gone by Tom waits is wonderfully ragged and messy, but the remix and remaster they did last year did wonders. It didn't lose any of its original charm, it just made things clearer (and added some additional stuff on tracks like Hoist that Rag).

I still love Death of a Ladies Man, like I do Street-Legal, maybe even more.


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PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 23:16 GMT 
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Spector gave Leonard the wall of sound treatment. Everything was pretty muddy from the Ronettes as well, at least to my ears. Cohens vocals were recorded with two mics if I remember to sound fuller and more powerful.

The real gone remaster is nice but it’s not too much clearer for me. If you play it loud, it’s a killer record either way.


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 Post subject: Re: Dylan's
PostPosted: Thu January 11th, 2018, 23:48 GMT 

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goodnitesteve wrote:
Spector gave Leonard the wall of sound treatment. Everything was pretty muddy from the Ronettes as well, at least to my ears. Cohens vocals were recorded with two mics if I remember to sound fuller and more powerful.

The real gone remaster is nice but it’s not too much clearer for me. If you play it loud, it’s a killer record either way.


Good point! I posted about Real Gone a while back in "Other Artists" and I'm pretty sure it went nowhere, but that's okay.

I like, and agree with, the point you made about the Ronettes as well. I guess his approach to things don't appeal to me as much, or at least not when it's mixed with certain artists. I really like the song Iodine, you have any favorite tracks?

I'm still on the fence about Street-Legal/Empire Burlesque. Not that either of them need to be changed, but which one is closer to the Phil Spector style found on Death of a Ladies Man.

As to not upset Nightengale's Code, the sound on Street-Legal isn't a problem for me at all. I wasn't opposed to it when I first heard it, and I think it's fine today. I just wouldn't mind seeing an alternate remix of it, but that's just me. It doesn't need it. Empire Burlesque, on the other hand, really deserves to be cleaned of that Eighties sound it has. I can still listen to it, but it could do without the high hats and synth, as well as the reverb on the vocals. Also, I wish there was a way to take out some of the female vocals. I don't think these women aren't talented, but I think Dylan didn't give them any direction in regards to how he was going to sing each song, they just had to wing it. Trust Yourself is a good example.


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PostPosted: Fri January 12th, 2018, 00:06 GMT 
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I think memories may be my favorite or paper thin hotel. Fingerprints and iodine are special too. I think of it as an organic precursor to the Leonard we got on I’m Your Man and Various positions. New Skin and Recent Songs are excellent, but they’re safely rooted in Leonard’s sound. Every artist should make a balls to the wall Spector album.

Street Legal in its original form is muddy and the 1999 remix is encouraging, perhaps a minor revelation. I’d like to hear a brand new remaster. Things have come a long way since 1999, but Devito is gone. Maybe MSFL?

All of Bob’s 80’s albums with the exception of Saved, Shot of Love and Oh Mercy could benefit from naked versions. Will we get them? Maybe someday when we’re rewarded with multi track tips from the archive. I hope Can hear well, if I get to be that old.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


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PostPosted: Fri January 12th, 2018, 03:34 GMT 
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I love Death of a Ladies Man. It's a counterweight to any hindsight tendency to pack Leonard to into any convenient box of the consummate gentleman or saintly sage. He was also a rake, a libertine, a man who enjoyed many a vice...

With regard to the record, Leonard was really upset to find out that what he thought were the rough guiding vocals tracks that he laid down early in the recording process of Death of a Ladies Man ended up being the final product. He thought later he would go back and rerecord the vocals in a more polished way, but Spector, in his own demented genius way, wouldn't let Leonard back in to record the vocals again.

And...if it had to be compared to a Dylan record, Street-Legal would be the one.


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PostPosted: Fri January 12th, 2018, 17:10 GMT 

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ShotofMercy wrote:
I feel like Street-Legal has more songs worth hearing (Changing..., New Pony, Senor, Where Are You Tonignt being examples) than Empire Burlesque. But Empire Burlesque needs to be stripped down more than Street-Legal needs to be cleaned up. It's possible that Empire Burlesque would be a more interesting album without the 80's cheese.


Well, "Street-Legal" has already been cleaned up some 20 years ago with the then state of the art technology.

I'd assume that "Death Of A Ladies Man" was recorded with channel seperation and could in theory be "cleaned up" (not that I think it should be, mind you), whereas "Street-Legal" was not and because of that it might remain a muddy mess, albeit a very good one, forever.


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PostPosted: Fri January 12th, 2018, 19:37 GMT 

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I remember when I first heard about Cohen having his new album produced by Phil Spector. It was the most counter-intuitive idea I'd ever heard. A friend bought it, and I remember asking him: "What does it sound like? No, no, don't tell me, let me guess - Lenny droning on about depression and suicide, but with girls going 'shoop shoop' and the Wrecking Crew going full Wall of Sound?" - thinking I was being funny, and that it wouldn't really be like that. Until he replied: "YES! That's EXACTLY what it IS like!" And we listened. And l cried with laughter. Best musical joke ever (until Shadows in the Night, which had a similar effect. The difference is that I grew to love SITN, but I never did with DOALM).


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PostPosted: Sat January 13th, 2018, 00:31 GMT 
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Handsomeinthefog wrote:
whereas "Street-Legal" was not and because of that it might remain a muddy mess, albeit a very good one, forever.


They are both multi-track, both can be remixed. The difference lies in Dylan's insistence that they record him and the band in the studio just as though they were playing live on stage, complete with foldback monitors bleeding into other microphones and so on, in the confines of a recording studio.

Cohen's album was not that way, obviously he overdubbed his vocals to begin with, otherwise, the guide vocal that he objected to being used would not have made the final product.


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PostPosted: Sat January 13th, 2018, 06:30 GMT 

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I should clarify, mainly for my own benefit, that my opinion that Death of a Ladies Man is Cohen's least appealing album is like saying "Lily Rosemary and the jack of hearts" is the least appealing song on Blood On The Tracks. It's still a fantastic song, and Death of a Ladies Man is still a great album! Both are in great company and they both are worth hearing, even if they aren't favorites of mine.

I'm not all that opposed to some of the arrangements on that album. "yopietro" made a good point by stating how this album is beneficial to his career because it means Cohen couldn't be boxed in to a certain sound or idea. I personally think New Skin for the Old Ceremony (one of my favorites alongside I'm Your Man, love and hate, and you want it darker and more!) was a step in a new direction for Cohen. What I also loved about that album is how present his voice was, and how it captured every nuance and wonderful aspect of his singing. With Death of a Ladies Man, it can sometimes sound drowned out and gussied up. I Left a Woman Waiting is the closest, to my ears, that we get to hearing Cohen's voice stripped of any tin sound or other tricks.

But its still a wonderul piece of work. It's more Leonard Cohen, how can you go wrong?

Arthur Baker mentioned in multiple interviews about how he was going for the Spector sound on Empire Burlesque, I left that out in my original post. The more I think about it, Empire Burlesque seems closer to Death of a Ladies Man. The sound on Street-Legal was deliberate, while the sound of Empire Burlesque was Baker's idea. Sure, Dylan hired him, but Arthur Baker went for a big sound that changed the album rather than go with the material. He didn't run off with the tapes like Phil Spector, but he took a similar approach with the sound in some ways.

But I can still get into Empire Burlesque, just like I can enjoy Death of a Ladies Man. Of course, I can definitely listen to some Street-Legal!


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