If the blues are done right, there are hints of hope with those heavy bits of worry. Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas from 2012 was an eloquent death album, but his poetic new one stretches languorously and forward. "I'm slowing down the tune, I never liked it fast,"
Cohen, the new octogenarian, murmurs huskily on the blues-vamping opening track Slow. "You want to get there soon, I want to get there last." While the following cut Almost Like the Blues is sardonic and almost like a tango, the next-up A Street is slow and funky, about carrying on even after some things are gone.
The disc's arrangements are judicious, but the female backing vocals are everywhere and sweet – a non-dairy creamer, because not all of us take it black. Born in Chains is somewhere between deeply Southern sixties soul and the Book of Exodus. Dig, then: Percy Sledge sings the Jews, and Lenny Cohen, he does the blues.