1. Famous Blue Raincoat mp3
2. Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye mp3
3. Tower of Song mp3
4. Take This Waltz mp3
5. Suzanne mp3
6. Anthem mp3
7. You Know Who I Am mp3
8. A Thousand Kisses Deep mp3
9. Everybody Knows mp3
10. Story Of Isaac mp3
11. Dance Me To The End Of Love mp3
Christine Tobin voice, Phil Robson guitar,
Dave Whitford double bass, Huw Warren accordion (tracks 1, 4, 5, 9,)
Adriano Adewale percussionock piano (track 6)
Nick Smart trumpet (track 11), (all tracks except 4, 6, 8 & 11) Gwilym Simc
Produced by Christine Tobin and Phil Robson
‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’ is a beautiful re-working of eleven Leonard Cohen songs and is Tobin’s 2014 salute to the legendary Canadian singer, songwriter and poet in the year of his 80th birthday. In her own songwriting, Christine Tobin specializes in idiosyncratic, highly musical poetic vignettes with a strong sense of story, so it's no surprise she weaves such magic with the profound, sensual and mysterious songs of Cohen. She has been a lifelong fan and has always included one of his songs in her live programme since the mid-90s.
The songs chosen are from his early 1960s albums through to his 2001 release ‘Ten New Songs’. Christine was first drawn to Cohen at the age of ten after hearing ‘You Know Who I Am’ on the classic compilation double album ‘Fill Your Head With Rock’ which belonged to her eldest sister. Despite her tender years, she fell under the spell of his hypnotic tones and became a Cohen devotee, learning every song from his second LP ‘Songs From a Room’ by heart. Speaking of ‘You Know Who I Am’, Christine says, “I guess because I internalized it at such a young age, I feel its presence like an old friend, a comforting hymn that’s always there in the background.”
Tobin’s masterful arrangements and captivating delivery bring great luminosity to his work. Sometimes she reframes the songs, by changing the rhythm or broadening the harmonic backdrop to introduce new colours that present Cohen’s beloved melodies afresh and burnish the lyrics to a powerful glow. ‘Tower of Song’ is taken from its 1980s soundscape back to the 1960s – not hippie introspection but a homage to the Miles Davis band, deftly quoting ‘In a Silent Way/It’s About That Time’ in the finale. Tobin’s long-time musical partner, guitarist Phil Robson, contributes a compelling arrangement of ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’, where the lively West African influenced opening riff sets the tone for a reading imbued with an almost defiant emotional bravery. The band is a team of great musicians that provide a sensitive and responsive soundworld. Tobin is reunited with one of her earliest collaborators Huw Warren on accordion (long-time pianist/arranger with June Tabor),
award winning guitarist Phil Robson, Dave Whitford double bass, and Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale (Antonio Forcione band).
Special guest Gwilym Simcock unfolds a version of ‘Anthem’ that creates a kind of alchemy on an intimate voice and piano reading. Nick Smart’s trumpet intro to ‘Dance Me To The End of Love’ conjures up an otherworldly ballroom of romance and heralds the finale of this imaginative
re-visioning of Cohen classics.
The line-up is:
Phil Robson guitars
Huw Warren accordion
Dave Whitford double bass
Adriano Adewale percussion
Gwilym Simcock piano
Nick Smart trumpet
Christine’s live show ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’ won a prestigious Herald Angel Award at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
JAZZWISE review March 2014
A Thousand Kisses Deep
Christine Tobin (v); plus various personnel including Phil Robson (g); Huw Warren (acc); Dave Whitford (b); Adriano Adewale (perc)
Whether it's an affinity with his poetic sensibility – and at least one of the songs on this 11-track collection, 'Suzanne', was first published as a poem – or simply a deep-seated affection for his songs, there's something inherently right when vocalist Christine Tobin sings Leonard Cohen. Christine's ear for lyrical detail, coupled with her sensitivity to the singular mood of each song, combines to magical effect. From the alluring groove of 'Tower of Song', previously recorded by the singer on her 2003 album You Draw The Line, and the powerful imagery of 'Story Of Isaac', to the incredibly moving 'Anthem' (a duet with Gwilym Simcock, the only track to feature piano) and the enigmatic 'You Know Who I Am', a song that Christine has been singing since the age of 10, these are interpretations that shimmer with beauty and insight. As on her previous, award-winning release Sailing to Byzantium, the singer receives completely empathetic support from her musicians.
Leonard Cohen never made much impression on me, save when his songs crop up on others' recordings. The peerless singer Christine Tobin, though, has long had a special affinity for his work, and his words - a song or two of his appears on many of her past sessions. Now she gives us a full programme devoted to the sepulchral Canadian's work.
As her show at last year's London Jazz Festival presaged, the result is a real gem, a perfect presentation of 11 of his dark musings. The arrangements are stripped back, with acoustic or subtly electric guitar from Phil Robson, Dave Whitford's emphatic bass and percussion shaded just so by Adriano Adewale. Huw Warren, a strong presence on Tobin's first recording back in 1995, adds atmospheric accordion now and again. Anthem is a superb duo for voice and Gwilym Simcock's piano, and Nick Smart contributes affecting trumpet to Dance Me To the End of Love.
All the songs benefit from the breathing space built into this production. They are not so much jazzed up, perhaps, as jazzed down, the delivery tending at times almost to recitation. All the better for it: every word is heard to best effect, Tobin always finding exactly the right emphasis and inflection to bring out points of the lyric you might not notice.
There are musical touches to relish in every track, too: the nod to Miles' In A Silent Way at the close of Tower of Song; a Viennese tilt to Take This Waltz which would fit Ute Lemper (the accordion especially effective here); that interplay between voice and piano on Anthem. Overall, though, it is the blend of Tobin's lustrous dark voice with tart, often brooding words that creates that sense of rightness, that these songs might have been written with this performer in mind, because her mind reads them so sympathetically.
Tobin has some pretty good lyrics of her own, but just now she is on a roll with essays in intelligent interpretation. Her previous release Sailing to Byzantium, with her new settings of Yeats' poetry, was a fabulously successful marriage of words and music. Her vocal artistry here brings out the qualities of Cohen's words better than anyone else. It already makes her forthcoming collaboration with the always brilliant poet (and songwriter - they are different things) Paul Muldoon, sound like one to watch out for.
“The spring 2014 release of A Thousand Kisses Deep, Tobin’s forthcoming album of all this Cohen material, is, on the evidence of this wholly absorbing, often downright ravishing concert, something to be keenly anticipated.””
Chris Parker, London Jazz
London Jazz Festival, Southbank Centre