This has been a busy week, producing this short but quality post.
I can’t find out much about Marian Henderson, except that she was involved in the folk scene in Sydney in the 1960s and 70s. Speaking of her version of Leonard Cohen’s “The Stranger” she said, “I very seldom sang love songs. I was pretty cynical, even then, about the male-female relationship. ‘Stranger’ meant a lot to me. I used to spit it out.” This song is full of vitriol. I was blown away when I first heard it.
Here’s a live version of “The Stranger” from Field Commander Cohen, a collection from Leonard Cohen’s 1979 tour.
Here’s Leonard live on the variety show Once More With Felix hosted by Julie Felix, a California girl folk-singer who made good hosting a BBC show in the late 1960s.
I bought Marian’s album blindly in a thrift shop because I saw it included “First Boy I Loved,” a cover of the Incredible String Band’s “First Girl I Loved.” I still prefer The Stringband’s version.
I know it’s hard to see, but somewhere in this album cover is the name of the band, along with a lot of other trippy stuff. It really makes you lament the loss of LP album art.
I love this song because it just really is a shame when you loved someone really intensely and then you find yourself, having broken up, spending time “making love to people I didn’t even like to see.” That’s a drag. We’ve all done it.