Archive | August 18, 2013

“Hallelujah”–Leonard Cohen

Gets better with age: Cohen performing Hallelujah 2009.

An Early Cohen Version

The fact is my heart still aches that Jeff Buckley is dead. Yes, Leonard Cohen wrote this song but for me Jeff Buckley owns it.

Cohen’s career was in a dark period and when he released Various Positions in 1984, people did not even connect much at the time to the song. Fact is it was not until John Cale and Jeff Buckley each covered Hallelujah nearly ten years later did peoples’ eyes open to this masterful prayer.

Here is a great article that will tell you all you need to know about possibly the greatest song of all time:  The Holy or the Broken Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

John Cale

I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Jeff Buckley 2007 Sony Music Video

Jeff Buckley Live 1996 France

K.D. Lang

Bon Jovi

Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris

“Ain’t No Sunshine”–Bill Withers

Great Live Bill Withers

This is another one of those staples among great soulful vocalists. Many are called but few are chosen comes to mind. Bill Withers wrote it and sang the hell out of it on his 1971 release Just as I Am. It is a pure blues wailing over the loss of a woman. The lyrics are sparse and direct. The emotion is real, especially in the Withers and Bland version. King’s rendition sounds like a preacher testifying to the flock. Mayer, well you be the judge.

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And she’s always gone too long
Anytime she goes away

Wonder this time where she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away

And I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know,
Hey, I oughtta leave young thing alone
But ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Only darkness every day
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away

Bobby Blue Bland

Freddie King

John Mayer with a unique Reggae approach.

Selah Sue feat. Ronny Mosuse

Octavius Womack

Matt Andersen