Renowned Album Tribute to Leonard Cohen Shines Again
Pictured in session are Jennifer Warnes and mastering engineer Bernie Grundman. Photo by David Goggin.
Jennifer Warnes has remastered for vinyl at Bernie Grundman Mastering her renowned album "Famous Blue Raincoat." Mastering engineer Bernie Grundman worked with the original analog masters he used to create the original vinyl release in 1987. This tribute to Leonard Cohen was Warnes' seventh album.
"Bernie Grundman mastered my very first recording," Warnes recalled. "Bernie and I hear music in a similar way, favoring natural sounds: hollow wood resonating, the scratch of resin on a bow, the dry thump of hands on skins, fingers plucking strings, the intimate sound of the human breath and voice."
The album's repertoire spans much of Cohen's career, from his 1969 album "Songs from a Room" to his 1984 album "Various Positions" (on which Warnes sang), with two titles from Cohen's then-unreleased album" I'm Your Man."
"For as long as I have been coming to Bernie for mastering -- the final stage in creating a recording," Warnes continues, "Bernie has always taken the time to invite me into his process and teach me how to listen. When I was first starting out making records, Bernie's generous mentorship opened a whole new world of understanding about the elegant and subtle language of sound. There are so many ways the manufacturing process can change a recording for better or worse, and Bernie knows them all."
"In preparation for the coming re-release of "Famous Blue Raincoat" in 33 and 1/3 vinyl by my audiophile label Impex Records," Warnes added, "Bernie examined our original analog reels and found them to be in good shape, I'm happy to say. These master reels passed through Bernie's unique equipment with very little manual alteration other than the normal accommodations for 33 and 1/3 vinyl."
Guest contributors on the album include guitarists Stevie Ray Vaughan, David Lindley and Robben Ford, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, keyboardist Russell Ferrante, arranger Van Dyke Parks and Cohen himself on "Joan of Arc."
"Famous Blue Raincoat" was produced by C. Roscoe Beck and Jennifer Warnes in 1987. It was recorded in Los Angeles at The Complex, Amigo Studios, Hollywood Sound, The Enterprise, Mama Jo's, Salty Dog Recording, and The Record Plant.
"What a joy to be back in Bernie's mastering studio," Warnes concludes, "preserving this album, knowing that our work has now passed the test of time, and is still loved, still heard. It doesn't get any better than this."
Cohen said about Warnes, "Her voice is like the California weather, filled with sunlight, but there's an earthquake behind it." The liner notes for the album include a sketch by Cohen of a torch being passed, with the caption, "Jenny Sings Lenny."
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