I’m Your Man – Leonard Cohen/Various artists (soundtrack CD)

(Verve Forecast) 4.5 stars

Leonard Cohen’s songs get under your skin.

Although he’s no great singer – Cohen freely admits it – and his melodies often tread well-worn paths, those lyrics are wickedly seductive and drolly self-deprecating.

While Australian director Lian Lunson’s movie tribute (filmed at concerts in the Sydney Opera House and England’s Brighton Dome) is on DVD, several of the performances on this soundtrack CD are among the best Cohen interpretations I’ve heard, with the McGarrigle/Wainwright clan and Teddy (son of Richard) Thompson featuring prominently.

Martha Wainwright backs up her typically all-stops-out rendition of `Tower Of Song’ by teaming up with mum Kate and aunt Anna McGarrigle on the gossamer-light `Winter Lady’, while her brother Rufus almost steals the show with `Chelsea Hotel No.2’ and `Everybody Knows’.

Thompson’s superb version of the ballad `Tonight Will Be Fine’ is hard to top but out of left field come the amazing tenor of Antony on `If It Be Your Will’ and Perla Batalla’’s spine-tingling treatment of `Bird On A Wire’.

They close with Cohen and U2 combining on `Tower Of Song’.

- Mike Daly

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