13 Songs, 1 Hour, 5 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

When Jennifer Warnes recorded this 1987 collection of songs by Leonard Cohen, Cohen’s career was in undeserved decline and Warnes, who served as one of Cohen’s back-up singers in the early ‘70s, had been experiencing great success with a series of country-pop and romantic movie-themed adult-contemporary hits. “First We Take Manhattan” and “Ain’t No Cure for Love” turned out to be previews for Cohen’s comeback album, 1988’s I’m Your Man, and Warnes’ interpretations forced critics to seriously evaluate her as a talented, often overlooked and underrated singer. The arrangements are less quirky than Cohen’s own attempts at mainstream pop. Unlike Judy Collins whose Cohen covers emphasize his solemnity and stick to the songs’ folk roots, Warnes takes a liberal approach, unafraid to turn “Bird On a Wire” into a dance number, or locate the nite-jazz and cinematic heart lurking within the title track, or use guitarists such as Robben Ford and Stevie Ray Vaughan on “Manhattan” to make a grander musical point. Her duet with Cohen on “Joan of Arc” is riveting and grandiose. A classic, impeccably written, arranged, performed, sung, and produced throughout. This 20th Anniversary Edition adds four tracks, including a live version of “Joan of Arc” and a delicate read of “If It Be Your Will.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

When Jennifer Warnes recorded this 1987 collection of songs by Leonard Cohen, Cohen’s career was in undeserved decline and Warnes, who served as one of Cohen’s back-up singers in the early ‘70s, had been experiencing great success with a series of country-pop and romantic movie-themed adult-contemporary hits. “First We Take Manhattan” and “Ain’t No Cure for Love” turned out to be previews for Cohen’s comeback album, 1988’s I’m Your Man, and Warnes’ interpretations forced critics to seriously evaluate her as a talented, often overlooked and underrated singer. The arrangements are less quirky than Cohen’s own attempts at mainstream pop. Unlike Judy Collins whose Cohen covers emphasize his solemnity and stick to the songs’ folk roots, Warnes takes a liberal approach, unafraid to turn “Bird On a Wire” into a dance number, or locate the nite-jazz and cinematic heart lurking within the title track, or use guitarists such as Robben Ford and Stevie Ray Vaughan on “Manhattan” to make a grander musical point. Her duet with Cohen on “Joan of Arc” is riveting and grandiose. A classic, impeccably written, arranged, performed, sung, and produced throughout. This 20th Anniversary Edition adds four tracks, including a live version of “Joan of Arc” and a delicate read of “If It Be Your Will.”

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3:46
4:42
5:33
8:00
3:21
3:43
3:54
4:52
3:40
4:51
8:22
3:08
7:53

Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5

21 Ratings

21 Ratings

Loved it then, love it even more now

012756

i fell in love with this album when it was released 20 years ago - it's even more amazing than i had remembered

A classic

marcbo1

One of the best albums of the late 80's has not aged one bit. The addition of the song "If It Be Your Will" is worth the purchase of this re-release on its own. The enhanced audio quality makes a big difference on this album which has so many quiet moments.

Reunited Again

Ed Rowland

When we divorced, we divided the CDs. I got Susan Vega's Days of Open Hand; she got Famous Blue Raincoat. Those were the first two picks out of the CD collection. She got first pick. And back in the dark ages when music came on pieces of plastic, or even vinyl, finding a replacement copy of an album like this was a challenge. God knows I tried.

I've missed this album terribly. This is one of those terribly rare things: a album that is so good that it can define a period in ones' life. You know what I mean. For me, this is music that goes with dinner parties. Exuberant, and excessive cooking; great wine; wonderful friends; meaningful conversations; and amazing, intelligent music playing in the living room.

A killer combination: Leonard Cohen's poetry set to music; and Jennifer Warnes' musicality. Oh, of course, there is something uniquely special about Cohen's untuneful voice that makes you listen all the more carefully to the words. There's another older Leonard Cohen album I can't listen to any more, because it's irretrivably linked to an old love, lost to youthful foolishness. But when you hear those songs sung by Jennifer Warnes, who can not only sing, but can also bring music to the table that meets the standards set by the lyrics, something amazing happens.

Of all the music I've ever owned, this album sits firmly in the top ten. Maybe even in the top one.

About Jennifer Warnes

Jennifer Warnes has succeeded in a number of nearly unrelated areas of popular music -- as a contemporary pop singer, as a country singer, as a singer of movie themes, and as an interpreter of the work of Leonard Cohen. She first came to public notice when she became a regular on the television show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967, under the name Jennifer Warren or simply Jennifer. In 1968, she was part of the original cast of the Los Angeles production of the musical Hair, and she signed to the Parrot Records subsidiary of London Records, which released her debut album, ...I Can Remember Everything. Her second album, See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me, appeared in 1969. Neither album was a commercial success, and she moved on to the Reprise division of Warner Bros. Records, which released Jennifer, produced by John Cale, in 1972. When that album also flopped, Warnes signed on as a backup singer with Leonard Cohen. She joined Arista Records in 1976 and finally registered in the charts in 1977 with "Right Time of the Night," a Top Ten pop hit that reached number one in the easy listening charts and also made the Top 40 in the country charts. It was drawn from her Arista debut album, Jennifer Warnes. The follow-up, Shot Through the Heart (1979), featured "I Know a Heartache When I See One," a Top Ten country and Top 40 pop and easy listening hit. Warnes' next album was an Arista hits compilation, Best of Jennifer Warnes (1982). In July 1982, Island Records released "Up Where We Belong," the love theme from the movie An Officer and a Gentleman, a duet between Warnes and Joe Cocker. She had sung movie themes before, but never with such success: "Up Where We Belong" hit number one and went platinum. Not surprisingly, moviemakers sought her out, and in 1983, she had chart entries with "Nights Are Forever" (from Twilight Zone: The Movie) and the title theme from All the Right Moves, a duet with Chris Thompson In 1986, she became the first signee to the short-lived Cypress Records label, which released her acclaimed Famous Blue Raincoat, an album of Leonard Cohen songs, at the start of 1987. In July of that year, RCA released "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," the love theme from the film Dirty Dancing, a duet between Warnes and Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers. It topped the charts and went gold. Warnes spent five years crafting a follow-up to Famous Blue Raincoat, releasing The Hunter, which featured songs by various writers, herself included, in 1992. Note that Warnes' many label affiliations preclude any compilation from adequately covering her career and that, amazingly enough, neither of her biggest hits is available on a Jennifer Warnes album. In 2001, Warnes decided that she'd enough feuding with labels, and her fans were rewarded with her first solo album in nine years. The Well, which was released in 2001, was privately funded and Warnes retained control of the masters, ensuring that she would control the destiny of the album. After a tour of Canada and select U.S. cities to promote the album, Warnes cared for her mother -- a constant touring partner for decades -- who passed in 2003. In an interview, Warnes said that in the aftermath, she didn't feel like singing for years.

In fact, while Warnes continued to write, she didn't record again for 16 years. Her manager got her a deal with BMG and encouraged her to cut an album. To that end, she teamed with bassist/producer Roscoe Beck in studios in Austin, Texas and Los Angeles beginning in 2015. The album-making process was prolonged due to several personal tragedies: Warnes lost two of her sisters within a week of one another, her manager was killed in an auto accident, one of her boyfriends passed on, and her dog died. In November 2016, Cohen, one of her oldest and closest friends, passed. Throughout it all, she labored on and completed an album in late 2017. She and Beck considered between 30 and 50 songs for the project, finally whittling the selection down to ten that included covers by Pearl Jam, Mark Knopfler, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Lonnie Johnson, Warren Haynes, and Mickey Newbury. Her sidemen for the sessions included Blondie Chaplin, Sonny Landreth, Ruthie Foster, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Lenny Castro.

With Pearl Jam's "Just Breathe" chosen as a first single, the finished set, titled Another Time, Another Place, was issued at the end of April in 2018. A few months earlier, her Dirty Dancing duet with Medley, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," was turned into an NFL Super Bowl ad. The New York Giants' Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. reenacted the classic dance finale scene. ~ William Ruhlmann

  • ORIGIN
    Seattle, WA
  • GENRE
    Pop
  • BORN
    March 03, 1947

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