Release date: September 1979
Recent Songs was the sixth studio album by Leonard Cohen, released in 1979. Produced by Henry Lewy and the artist himself, the album was a return to Cohen's acoustic folk music after the Phil Spector experimentation of Death of a Ladies' Man, but now with many jazz and Oriental influences.
The album included Gypsy violin player Raffi Hakopian, Armenian oud player (located in Los Angeles) John Bilezikjian, and even a Mexican Mariachi band. Long-time Cohen collaborator Jennifer Warnes prominently appeared in vocal tracks. Members of the band Passenger, whom Cohen met through Joni Mitchell, played on four of the songs. They also served as his tour band later that year and in 1980. Mitchell had also introduced Cohen to her regular sound engineer Henry Lewy, who produced Recent Songs. Garth Hudson of The Band also appeared on the album.
Three outtakes are known, "The Faith", "Misty Blue" (by Bobby Montgomery), and a studio recording of "Do I Have to Dance All Night", a live version of which was released as a single in 1976. Cohen wanted to include "Misty Blue"/"Do I Have to Dance All Night" as a free bonus single with the LP, but Columbia rejected the idea. Cohen's 2004 song "The Faith" is based on the same folk tune as "Un Canadien errant" (which was covered on Recent Songs), and Cohen's collaborator Anjani admitted in a 2005 interview (Old Ideas: Notes on Dear Heather) that he used an out-taked alternate 1979 track for "Un Canadien errant", adding new vocal line with completely new lyrics, for his 2004 album Dear Heather.