Leonard Cohen – Death of a Ladies’ Man (1977/2014) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Leonard Cohen – Death of a Ladies’ Man (1977/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 00:42:47 minutes | 836 MB | Genre: Folk Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Columbia Records
Recorded: June and July 1977; Whitney Recording Studios, Los Angeles; Gold Star Recording Studios, Los Angeles; Devonshire Sound Studios, Los Angeles.

One of the most controversial partnerships in either man’s career was inaugurated the day Leonard Cohen and Phil Spector decided to make an album together. In the course of just three weeks together, the pair had written 15 new songs, described by Spector as “some great f*ckin’ music.” And though the recording took somewhat longer, Death of a Ladies’ Man still emerged as an album that, while it certainly lives up to Spector’s billing, can also be viewed as the most challenging record of both Cohen and Spector’s careers. Certainly, Cohen fans were absolutely taken aback by the widescreen wash that accompanied their idol’s customary tones, and many hastened to complain about the almost unbridled sexuality and brutal voyeurism that replaced Cohen’s traditionally lighter touch — as if the man who once rhymed “unmade bed” with “giving me head” was any stranger whatsoever to explicitness. It is also true that a cursory listen to the album suggests that the whole thing was simply a ragbag of crazy notions thrown into the air to see where they landed.

Pay attention, however, and it quickly makes sense. The brawling “Memories” bowls along, an echo-laden vaudeville drinking song that invites everyone who hears it to join in with the so-perfectly timed refrain of “won’t you let me see…your naked body.” “Iodine,” meanwhile, swings on one of Nino Tempo’s most seductive rhythm arrangements, while Steve Douglas’ sax squalls behind Cohen and co-singer Ronee Blakley’s rambunctious duet; and anybody looking for a dance smash to sidle wholly out of left field could turn to “Don’t Go Home with Your Hard-On,” a number that not only captured an almost irresistible funk edge, but also roped Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg into its rambunctious backing chorus.

Cohen himself has never been happy with the record — Spector’s mix, he complained, stripped “the guts out of the record,” but when he suggested the producer have another go, his entreaties were ignored. Finally agreeing to write the album off as “an experiment that failed” and trust that his fans would be able to pick out its “real energizing capacities,” Cohen allowed it to be released as Spector left it — and then effectively retired for the next five years. His judgment, and that most commonly passed down by rock history, has not been borne out by time. Alongside Songs of Love and Hate, Death of a Ladies’ Man represents the peak of Cohen’s first decade or so as a recording artist, both lyrically and stylistically stepping into wholly untapped musical directions — and certainly setting the stage for the larger scale productions that would mark out his music following his return. It might even be his masterpiece. –Dave Thompson

1 True Love Leaves No Traces 4:26
2 Iodine 5:04
3 Paper Thin Hotel 5:42
4 Memories 5:59
5 I Left A Woman Waiting 3:28
6 Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On 5:36
7 Fingerprints 2:59
8 Death Of A Ladies’ Man 9:19


Art Blaine – Guitar
Hal Blaine – Drums
Ronee Blakley – Background Vocals, Featured on “True Love Leaves No Traces,” “Iodine,” and “Memories.”
Bobby Bruce – Fiddle, Violin
Brenda Bryant – Background Vocals
John Cabalka – Art Direction
Conte Candoli – Trumpet
Leonard Cohen – Composer, Vocals
Ron Coro – Design
Jesse Ed Davis – Guitar
Billy Diez – Background Vocals
Steve Douglas – Flute, Saxophone, Wind
Oma Drake – Background Vocals
Bob Dylan – Background Vocals
Gene Estes – Percussion
Venetta Fields – Background Vocals
Gerald Garrett – Background Vocals
Terry Gibbs – Percussion, Vibraphone
Allen Ginsberg – Background Vocals
Bruce Gold – Engineer, Assistant Engineer
Barry Goldberg – Keyboards
Tom Hensley – Keyboards
David Isaac – Guitar
Pete Jolly – Keyboards
Jim Keltner – Drums
Dan Kessel – Organ, Synthesizer, Guitar, Keyboards, Background Vocals
David Kessel – Guitar, Background Vocals
Clydie King – Background Vocals
Sneaky Pete Kleinow – Guitar, Pedal Steel, Slide Guitar
Michael Lang – Keyboards
Larry Levine – Engineer
Charles Loper – Trombone
Sherlie Matthews – Background Vocals
Bill Mays – Keyboards
Don Menza – Flute, Saxophone, Wind, Horn Arrangements
Jay Migliori – Saxophone
Art Munson – Guitar
Bill Naegels – Design
Ray Neapolitan – Electric & Upright Bass
Al Perkins – Pedal Steel, Slide Guitar
Ray Pohlman – Bass, Guitar
Emil Radocchia – Percussion
Don Randi – Keyboards
Jack Redmond – Trombone
Bob Robitaille – Synthesizer, Assistant Engineer, Synthesizer Programming
Devra Robitaille – Synthesizer, Producer
Stan Ross – Assistant Engineer
Phil Spector – Guitar, Composer, Keyboards, Background Vocals, Producer, Vocal Arrangement, Rhythm Arrangements
Nino Tempo – Arranger
Bill Thedford – Background Vocals
Julia Tillman Waters – Background Vocals
Oren Waters – Background Vocals
Lorna Willard – Background Vocals
Robert Zimmitti – Percussion