Warren Zevon doing Leonard Cohen…the old masters at work. While the two auteurs approach to their craft is obviously different, Cohen and Zevon were far from diametric; working the same seam, exorcising tales of the human condition — not to mention their own demons — through song. Not surprisingly, the similarities and contrasts of Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman immediately come to mind.
An inspired cover, Zevon’s live reworking of “First We Take Manhattan” injects a bitter bite into the Cohen original (found on the 1988 LP, I’m Your Man). Ditching both the synthpop and attitude of the source material, Zevon’s version is all slathering snarl and paced like a dystopic “Lawyers, Guns And Money.” Listen closely and you can almost sense the caustic sneer spread across Zevon’s lips.
MP3: Warren Zevon :: First We Take Manhattan (Leonard Cohen cover)