Thursday 29th October
As I have got older myself I have become a sucker for the old guys. Dylan, McCartney, Neil Young, Paul Simon – all old guys now, but still going strong. But the oldest of all and the best is Leonard. He still tours, though less frequently than a few years ago. He has also made two new albums in the last decade, where many of his fellow ‘sixties’ stars have retired. And he keeps releasing new ‘live’ records. And I am a sucker for them too. How many times have I heard these songs? And yet I never tire of them. He once had a strong if deep voice, where now he barely whispers. Sometimes indeed he practically intones the songs, reciting them and letting the backing singers carry the tune. It matters not at all. I just love to hear his voice in whatever incarnation I hear it. Much like Dylan in fact. Though Leonard does seem to get away with it better than Bob these days.
In the last few years we have had a double ‘Live in London’, a single ‘Songs From The Road’, a triple ‘Live in Dublin’, and now ‘Can’t Forget, Memories of the Grand Tour’. At least this last one has some sound-checks of never released songs, and ‘almost’ rehearsals. There have also been a few unofficial live albums from concerts in the Seventies and the Eighties, along with his own official ‘Live at The Isle of Wight (1971)’ and ‘Field Commander Cohen (live from 1979)’. I have them all, though on the internet there are hundreds of Bootlegs of other concerts available. I don’t actually compare the different versions of the same songs, the differences are sometimes subtle and sometimes huge, but as I know every word I am simply singing along, either out loud (if the occasion allows) or in my head. These records are actually almost religion, a spiritual union between me and Leonard. Just as when I was a teenager The Beatles were singing for me alone, now Leonard is singing these songs just for me too. I really don’t care how many more live records he releases (the more, the merrier) I will buy them (after all, he is releasing them just for me). And I couldn’t care how many faces people pull, how often I hear that he is depressing. They simply haven’t listened, or are (more likely) incapable of hearing. This is no surprise as after all he is singing just for me. And as long as he is willing I will continue to be a sucker for the old guy.