Few artists have maintained such a devoted fan base for so long outside the mainstream as Leonard Cohen
. With such a rich catalog, any compilation of his material is bound to invite discussion. Cohen Live
opts to balance earlier material with work from his late-'80s/early-'90s period culled from two different tours. The newer songs include the lovely "Dance Me to the End of Love," the ominous "Everybody Knows," and "I'm Your Man." Cohen
classics such as "Bird on a Wire," "Who By Fire?," and "Suzanne" are among the older songs. Backed by strong musicians, Cohen
delivers the songs in his monotone rasp that is distinctly him. The renditions are fairly faithful to the studio versions, although the added warmth of the live performers provides an interesting contrast with Cohen
's baleful persona. Cohen Live
isn't necessarily essential, but fans will enjoy hearing one of the more original and enduring voices from the '60s in a different setting.