on March 9th, 2008 at 03:10 pm
Dear Not So Young People
A) Youse guys don't take enough acid to understand what Cohen meant to us old farts.
B) I'm pretty sure they don't make the good shit any more.
C) I'm real sure you don't need any, for any practical reason.(Yes there was one.)
D) Nobody mentioned the Jennifer Warnes version.
E) IF you could see the period out the windshield instead of in the rear view, you might see that Dylan was the role breaker, the rule breaker, the obvious alien. I mean the second Dylan, Mr. Tambourine Man.
All of a sudden, no rules. Poof. You didn't have to write love songs, or listen to love songs, ot think about your little deuce coupe. The songwriting universe exploded, and the lesson of Dylan's voice was ""You Could Do That Too."
Remember this is happening when the PP&M and the sugar-coated Beatles rules the airwaves.
Then there was this little Jew. This little subversive Jew of ambiguous but enthusiastic sexuality, somebody who had done it all, and chuckled at all of it.
Lots of people, women mostly, like Judy Collins tried to sweeten Cohen, but a line like Jesus was a sailor, when he walked upon the water," tended to stop you in your tracks.
Cohen's take on religion was very important too. This was after Vatican II, and the Catholic Church was in ferment, Liberation Theology and all.
So anyway, Cohen was knowing and subversive to a system that was based on subversion, even PP&M.
So i saw Cohen live, before i had heard more than one of his songs, maybe two. Here is this little, meek, understated guy with a fucking uncool gut string guitar, and no singing chops at all, playing in bright sunshine in a very competitive setting. Dylan and Donovan and Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs and all those kids out there, all twenty years old and ready to kick ass.
And Cohen muttered his words, and 30,000 people though "How did he know that? That is my darkest secret. If anybody knew that, i would be ashamed."