THE OLD REVOLUTION - chords and comments

At the bottom you'll find a link to the complete lyrics.

In April 1969, Cohen released his 2nd album "Songs from a Room". The first takes were produced by David Crosby, but Cohen wanted a sparser sound, different from his debut album. The production was left to Bob Johnston (who also was meant to produce "Songs of Leonard Cohen", but was busy). He put Charlie Daniels on bass and various strings, Ron Cornelius on acoustic and electric guitar, Elkin "Bubba" Fowler on violin, banjo etcetera and himself on keyboards. The result sure was different. Reviews were ambivalent. «Cohen shouldn't sing his own songs», «The instrumentation is ridiculous» and so on ... but they all agreeded upon Cohen being a brilliant poet.
The album contains the only Cohen song I never could swallow - "Bird on the Wire"[!] - and two of the best songs he ever wrote : this one, and the haunting song about Nancy. These two diamonds stated my attitude to Cohen.
This was my first Cohen-album. I was ambivalent, too. I regarded much of the lyrics as nonsense. Huh ... «of course I was very young» ... the album inducted my Cohen-cycle lasting for about 5 years, and never really ending, only put into dormancy for many years. Now, when he's gone, I see what the man really was worth.
The song is the 1st track on the 2nd side of the album. It was also released as a single, but flopped. No wonder why; that flippin' jew's harp ...!

Interpreting the mans lyrics is tough shit. They are full of metaphores, religios references and personal stuff, and most probably he put more than ONE meaning into the same song. In the 70's, when a norwegian artist was forced to sing and write norwegian not to be condemned, I made a transcription - making it a desillutioned working-class hero's longing for a mate to understand his radical thoughts. Maybe not what Cohen meant, but what I did at that time. I'm still proud of it, but haven't performed it for 40 years.

Interpreting his recordings is usually sacrilege. The songs are monumental statues. I have a passion on fucking up originals, but Cohen's work is too original.
C               F          C
I finally broke into the prison
G            G7           C  ...C7
I found my place in the chain
F       [Faug]     C     [Cmaj7] Fm
even damnation is poisoned with rainbows
all the brave young men
E                      E7     Am
they're waiting now to see a signal
            F              Dm           G ...G7
which some killer will be lighting for pay
F         [Faug]    C      [Cmaj]   Fm
into this furnace I ask you now to venture
C           G      F    ...C
you whom I cannot betray

The chords in [] are optional. According to the flippin' jew's harp and Johnston's shady, floating keyboard, I figured them appropriate.
C major
C seventh
C major seventh
F major
F minor
F augmented
G major
G seventh
E major
E seventh
D minor
A minor
Leonard Cohen