This re-release contains 17 tracks. The following songs have been dropped from the original version: Lady Midnight, The Partisan, Last Year's Man & Take This Longing. Nine tracks from later albums have been added and eight songs remain from his early albums like Songs of Leonard Cohen, Songs from a Room
, Songs Of Love And Hate and New Skin For The Old Ceremony. From the album Songs Of Love and Hate I would have chosen Joan Of Arc
, though, instead of Famous Blue Raincoat.
The quality of these timeless songs is proved by the many cover versions, of which a few of the best include Rita Coolidge's Bird On A Wire plus The Lilac Time's and the Neville Brothers' covers of the same song, Sting & The Chieftains' Sisters Of Mercy, James' cover of So Long Marianne, Geoffrey Oryema, Judy Collins
and Nina Simone's
very different interpretations of Suzanne.
The best (or my favorites) amongst the nine new tracks are The Future & Closing Time from the Future
album and Dance Me To The End Of Love from Various Positions. I would have preferred Take This Waltz from I'm Your Man over the title track, Everybody Knows or Manhattan. Likewise I think Alexandra Leaving is more memorable than A 1000 Kisses on Ten New Songs
Cohen completists would also be interested in Essential Leonard Cohen
. What I found particularly impressive on listening to this blend of old and new gems, were the brilliant arrangements and especially the siren-like quality of the female vocals so perfectly framing Cohen's voice. These songs just sound better and better as the years pass.