12 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s tempting to write off David Blue (a.k.a. S. David Cohen) as a mere Bob Dylan imitator by virtue of his sneering drawl and impressionistic folk/rock songwriting. But a closer listen to his 1966 self-titled debut album exposes his distinctive quirks and virtues. Like his good friend Dylan, Blue drew upon the bohemian milieu of Greenwich Village for his cast of lyrical characters. His approach, though, was more naturalistic, sketching angelic prostitutes (“Midnight Through Morning”), furtive dope fiends (“It Tastes Like Candy”) and assorted downtown hustlers (“Arcade Love Machine”) with a sense of insider knowledge. Blue has a special penchant for intricate story-songs, as “Grand Hotel” and “The Street” ably show. Musically, his first album is heavy with blues-rock guitar and twittering Al Kooper-ish organ, giving many tracks a nervous, jangling feel. Ballads like the reflective “I’d Like to Know” offer some softness for contrast. With a voice short on mellifluence but long on attitude, Blue sustains his persona as a hipster romantic adrift on the crazy avenues of mid-‘60s New York.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s tempting to write off David Blue (a.k.a. S. David Cohen) as a mere Bob Dylan imitator by virtue of his sneering drawl and impressionistic folk/rock songwriting. But a closer listen to his 1966 self-titled debut album exposes his distinctive quirks and virtues. Like his good friend Dylan, Blue drew upon the bohemian milieu of Greenwich Village for his cast of lyrical characters. His approach, though, was more naturalistic, sketching angelic prostitutes (“Midnight Through Morning”), furtive dope fiends (“It Tastes Like Candy”) and assorted downtown hustlers (“Arcade Love Machine”) with a sense of insider knowledge. Blue has a special penchant for intricate story-songs, as “Grand Hotel” and “The Street” ably show. Musically, his first album is heavy with blues-rock guitar and twittering Al Kooper-ish organ, giving many tracks a nervous, jangling feel. Ballads like the reflective “I’d Like to Know” offer some softness for contrast. With a voice short on mellifluence but long on attitude, Blue sustains his persona as a hipster romantic adrift on the crazy avenues of mid-‘60s New York.

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