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Leonard Cohen: Under Review 1935-1977 is typical of the other volumes in the Under Review series: detailed, thorough, almost scholarly in their approach, these well-made and often fascinating volumes may not interest the casual fan, but will prove rewarding for those looking for a deeper investigation into the work of some complex, left-of-center artists. Cohen certainly fits that description. Born in Montreal in 1934, he published his first book of poetry, as well as a couple of novels (the second of which, Beautiful Losers, was quite controversial), well before he made his first record; thus when he turned to music, he was regarded less as a songwriter per se than as a poet who set his words to music (Bob Dylan, to whom Cohen was often compared, fell into the former category). Some interesting aural and/or visual recordings of Cohen reading his early work are included here, but the emphasis is on the five studio records he made for the Columbia label between '67 and '77, beginning with Songs of Leonard Cohen (featuring "Suzanne," still probably his best known song) and ending with Death of a Ladies' Man (produced and co-written by the ever-volatile control freak Phil Spector and later disowned by Cohen). An array of talking heads--musicians, producers, and a number of prominent rock critics among them--discuss Cohen, his melodies and lyrics (others include "Bird on a Wire" and "Famous Blue Raincoat"), and his inimitable voice (or "non-voice," as one pundit describes it), bolstered by photos, music excerpts, and occasional concert footage. Cohen himself was not interviewed for the project; then again, this is a critical review more than a biography or documentary.

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Bonus material consists of a brief featurette about Cohen's backing band, a trivia quiz, and information about the DVD's various contributors.

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VM517 Leonard Cohen Under Review 1934 - 1977 DVD (Documentary) $19.99 $17.99