Blue, David


Band members                          Related acts

- Harvey Brooks -- bass (1966)
- David Blue (aka David Stuart Cohen) (RIP 1982) -- vocals,

  guitar, keyboards
- Monte Dunn -- guitar (1966)
- Paul Harris -- keyboards (1966)
- Herbert Lovelle -- drums (1966)

- Bb Rafkin -- guitar (1968)
- Buddy Salzmann -- drums, percussion (1966)

 

  supporting musicians (1975)

- Tery Adams -- cello

- John Barbata -- drums, percussion

- Chris Ethridge -- bass

- Glenn Frey -- backing vocals

- David Lindley -- guitar, violin, viola, mandolin, zither

- David Mason -- guitar, backing vocals

- Graham Nash -- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

- Bob Rafkin -- guitar

- Jennifer Warnes -- background vocals

 

 

 

- S. David Cohen (solo efforts) 

 

 


 

Genre: folk-rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The Singer Songwriter Project

Company: Elektra

Catalog: --

Year: 1965

Country/State: Providence, Rhode Island

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

Cost: $1.00

 

Over a career that spanned some two decades, Bob Dylan proved a blessing and a curse for Rhode Island-born singer/songwriter David Blue. Born Stuart Cohen, he apparently suffered through a miserable childhood (cold and unloving parents, early death of a beloved sister, social outcast, etc. etc.), dropping out of high school in 1958 and joining the Navy (his father had been in the service). Cohen's military career proved brief. Discharged for being unable to adopt to the military lifestyle, by the early-'60s Cohen had relocated to New York's Greenwich Village. Working as a dishwasher he started taking acting classes and hanging out with the likes of Eric Anderson, Tom Paxton and Dave Van Ronk. Encouraged by his friends, Cohen started to write and perform, his Dylan-styled act attracting local attention, including that of Elektra Records which was more than happy to sign someone that might appeal to the same audience Dylan was genrating for Columbia. 

Cohen's recording debut came in 1965. "The Singer Songwriter Project" was apparent an effort to showcase recently signed talent without having to make a major investment. Featuring the talents of Richard Farina, Bruce Murdoch and Patrick Sky, Cohen was represented by three selections - "I Like To Sleep Late In The Morning", "It's Alright With Me" and "Don't Get Caught In A Storm". Having heard this compilation, about all we can say is that Cohen sounded pretty routine.  None of the three acoustic numbers is particularly impressive, or memorable.  

"The Singer/Songwriter Project" track listing: (only reflects Cohen's contributions shown)
I Like To Sleep Late In The Morning (David Blue) - 
It's Alright With Me (David Blue) - 
Don't Get Caught In A Storm (David Blue) - 

 

 


Genre: folk-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  David Blue

Company: Elektra

Catalog: EKL-4003

Year: 1966

Country/State: Providence, Rhode Island

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: stereo pressing; small "stereo" tag on front - not shown in picture; small cut out hole top left corner

Available: SOLD

GEMM catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

Cost: $1.00

 

 

Produced by Arthur Gorson, 1966's "David Blue" is fascinating, if only for the fact it shows someone laboring with an overwhelming Dylan fixation (geez even Blue's haircut looks like mid-'60s Dylan). There's no doubt Blue was a talented performer. Unfortunately, those talents included being blessed (or cursed) with a gruff voice and a half-sung/half spoken delivery that bore more than a passing comparison to Dylan. As a writer Blue wasn't bad, but in the shadow of Dylan's best work, originals such as "So Easy She Goes By" and "Midnight Through Morning" simply couldn't compete. On the other hand, his debut is better than 99.9% of material released by Dylan-wannabes. So what makes it so good? Give Blue credit for hiring a first rate backing band (including bassist Harvey Brooks, guitarist Monte Dunn and keyboardist Paul Harris - all had previously played with Dylan), and having the smarts to rock out. Up tempo numbers such as "The Gasman Won't Buy Your Love", "If Your Monkey Can't Get It", The Byrds-do-Dylan-styled "It Ain't the Rain That Sweeps the Highway Clean" and "It Tastes Like Candy" are great and literally save the album from the typical annoying angst of Dylan-inspired singer/songwriters. Anyone into Dylan circa "Blonde On Blonde" or "Highway 61" will be impressed (and have to wonder if these aren't simply Dylan outtakes). Out of print for some 30 years, in 2002 the mail-order Collector's Choice label finally reissued the set in CD format. 

"David Blue" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Gasman Won't Buy Your Love (David Blue) - 3:00
2.) About My Love (David Blue) - 2:35
3.) So Easy She Goes By (David Blue) - 3:31
4.) If Your Monkey Can't Get It (David Blue) - 2:58
5.) Midnight Through Morning (David Blue) - 4:52
6.) It Ain't the Rain That Sweeps the Highway Clean (David Blue) - 3:30

(side 2)

1.) Arcade Love Machine (David Blue) - 3:50
2.) Grand Hotel (David Blue) - 4:03
3.) Justine (David Blue) - 2:58
4.) I'd Like To Know (David Blue) - 2:22
5.) The Street (David Blue) - 6:10
6.) It Tastes Like Candy (David Blue) - 4:08

 

 


Genre: folk-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  These 23 Days In September

Company: Reprise

Catalog: 6296

Year: 1968

Country/State: Providence, Rhode Island

Grade (cover/record): VG- / VG

Comments: cut lower right corner; edge wear; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5466

Price: $20.00

 

"The These 23 Days In September" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) 

(side 2)

1.) 

 

  • 1. These 23 Days in September (David Blue)- 5:22
  • 2. Ambitious Anna (David Blue) - 3:24
  • 3. You Need A Change (David Blue) - 3:05
  • 4. The Grand Hotel (David Blue) - 4:04
  • 5. The Sailor's Lament (David Blue) - 4:17
  • 6. You Will Come Back Again (David Blue) - 3:32
  • 7. Scales For A Window Thief (David Blue) - 5:45
  • 8. Slow And Easy (David Blue) - 3:24
  • 9. The Fifth One (David Blue) - 2:45

 

If Blue's second album was not nearly as much of a cultural artifact as his 1966 Elektra debut, which went to embarrassing extremes in its Bob Dylan imitation, it was of greater artistic merit. Most importantly, Blue sang far better, though he still wasn't a great singer, with far fewer of the glaringly off-key notes that had bedeviled his first LP. As both a singer and songwriter, he was still Dylanesque, but was becoming far more his own man, as a world-weary commentator with a growing country influence. Certainly the title song far outstrips anything on David Blue, sounding something like a combination of Dylan and early Leonard Cohen, its haunting minor melody enhanced by judicious touches of accordion and sitar. Nothing else on the record is as affecting, and some of it's rather pedestrian, minor Dylanesque stuff, in fact. But it's not obnoxious, and sometimes the music's rather good, as in "Ambitious Anna," which like some of the other tracks have a border feel. On such tunes, Blue seems like a peer or even slight antecedent to somber cowboys like Townes Van Zandt. The remake of "The Grand Hotel," a highlight of his first album, is sung better here, but has a sparer, less interesting arrangement

http://folk.uio.no/alfs/blue.html

Nesya Shapiro Blue

 

I don't recall exactly when (early to mid-80s) but David dropped dead while jogging in Washington Square Park in NYC. Apparently he was carrying no ID and his body was not identified for several days. During the period that I knew him, he seemed to have a real problem dealing with the fact that his star had not risen to the heights of some of his friends.

 


Genre: folk-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Nice Baby and the Angel

Company: Asylum

Catalog: SD 5066

Year: 1973

Country/State: Providence, Rhode Island

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+

Comments: promo sticker on cover; small cut out notch lower edge; radio station ID written in red magic marker on back cover (WMEK 3-25-73)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6288

Price: $20.00

 

I'll start out by telling you David Blue's "Nice Baby and the Angel" has to be one of the most schizophrenic albums I've ever heard.   Having previously signed with David Geffen's Asylum Records, this 1973 Graham Nash produced release was Blue's fifth album over a seven year timeframe.  Musically the album marked a dramatic shift in Blue's sound.  After years spent laboring to relatively little success as a Dylan-styled folkie, producer  Nash deserved credit for pushing Blue towards an updated, more contemporary sound and for bringing in what was one of the year's most impressive casts of L.A. sessions players including David Lindley, Chris Ethridge and The Eagles Glenn Frey.  Blue clearly took notice of his surroundings and throughout this album you could hear the singer trying to figure out a way to appeal to longstanding folk fans, while carving out a more rock-oriented audience.  Longstanding folk fans were covered by downcast acoustic folk numbers like 'On Sunday, Any Sunday' and 'Yesterday's Lady', while rock fans could latch on to 'Outlaw Man' and the equally rocking 'Darlin' Jenny'.  Perhaps one of the unintended consequences was that album literally bounced from one genre to the other, occasionally leaving you to wonder what in the world was going on (check out the sudden shift in gears between 'On Sunday, Any Sunday' and 'Darlin' Jenny'). That said, the biggest surprise to my ears came in the realization that Blue's voice was actually well suited for tougher rock material.  I actually thought the rock performances beat the crap out of the more conventional folk flavored songs on the LP.   Too bad he didn't record a couple more rockers for the collection.

 

- For years I thought The Eagles had written 'Outlaw Man'.  Shame on me for not paying more attention to the performance credits ...  Here you can see/hear where Glenn Frey and company grabbed their inspiration from.  Kicked along by David Mason's lead guitar, Blue's version of the song simply sizzled ...   One of the album's standout performances.   rating: **** stars

- 'Lady O'Lady' found Blue returning to a more typical folk setting.  Showcasing Lindley on mandolin and Jennifer Warnes on backing vocals, the song was quite pretty, but paled next to the opener.   rating: ** stars

- 'True To Your' found Blue taking a stab into band-styled Americana.  One of the album's biggest surprises, this country-tinged hoedown was actually a blast with one of those harmony refrains that climbed into your head and simply wouldn't leave.  Once again Lindley provided mandolin and the violin backing.  rating: **** stars

- Another pretty acoustic ballad, 'On Sunday, Any Sunday' 

- Clearly intended to appeal to his newly found rock fans, 'Darlin' Jenny' was a growling rocker that sounded like it would have fit perfectly on one of the earlier Eagles LPs.   Lindley's slide guitar provided one of the album highlights.   The track would have made a great follow-on single for Elektra ...  rating: **** stars

- Of all the songs on the album, 'Dancing Girl' was probably the one that came the closest to spanning the gap between folk and rock.   Using his huskiest delivery and kicked along by Lindley's instantly recognizable guitar, this was easily one of the album's strongest melodies and performances.  Imagine a good Neil Young song (though with a better voice).   rating: **** stars

- Normally a stark acoustic ballad like 'Yesterday's Lady' probably wouldn't have done a great deal for me, but this was one of the exceptions.  Blue's dry delivery couple with Lindley's acoustic guitar, banjo, and mandolin made this one worth checking out.   rating: *** stars

- 'Nice Baby and the Angel' was a pretty slice of Southern California-styled country-rocker.  Maybe that's the reason I didn't like it very much ...    rating: ** stars

- A throwback to his Dylanesque roots complete with navel gazing singer/songwriter angst, 'Troubadour Song' was a stark ballad - basically Blue accompanied by acoustic guitar and Terry Adams cello.    rating: ** stars

- 'Train To Anaheim' found Blue diving headlong into L.A.-styled country-rock, though this time out the results weren't quite as impressive (Blue sounded like he was singing with a bad cold, or a nose full of some sort of illicit substance).  The song was upbeat and catchy enough (yes there was commercial potential here), but this time around sounded somewhat formulaic ...   rating: *** stars

 

Asylum also tapped the album for a pair of singles in the form of:

 

 

- 1973's "Outlaw Man' b/w 'Troubadour Song' (Asylum catalog number AS 11015)

- 1973's "True To You' b/w 'Dancing Girl' (Asylum catalog number AS 11021) 

 

As you'd expect the album proved a commercial disappointment.  Blue's longstanding folk base simply wanted nothing to do with his newfound rock moves, while most rock fans looked at him as a folkie and wanted nothing to do with the man.  Ironically, while the album didn't sell, Blue subsequently got his recognition in rock circles.  Having sung backup vocals on 'Outlaw Man', Glenn Frey convinced his fellow Eagles to cover the song on their breakthrough 1973 album "Desperado".     

"Nice Baby and the Angel" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Outlaw Man   (David Blue) - 2:49

2.) Lady O'Lady   (David Blue) - 3:15

3.) True To You   (David Blue) - 3:36

4.) On Sunday, Any Sunday   (David Blue) - 3:41

5.) Darlin' Jenny   (David Blue) - 3:50

(side 2)

1.) Dancing Girl   (David Blue) - 2:44

2.) Yesterday's Lady   (David Blue) - 4:31

3.) Nice Baby and the Angel   (David Blue) - 3:03

4.) Troubadour Song   (David Blue) - 3:41

5.) Train To Anaheim   (David Blue) - 3:27

 

For anyone interested, though it hasn't been updated in years, there's a nice David Blue website at:

http://folk.uio.no/alfs/blue.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

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