David Blue (self-titled)

David Blue

At first listen (and glance, just check out the cover) it’s hard not to dismiss David Blue’s first LP as a shameless Bob Dylan imitation. And that would be a fair assessment. From the drunken delivery of his pal’s (yes, they were actually friends) unmistakable drawl to the grittier interpretation of Highway 61’s revved-up folk, Blue seems to be doing everything possible and more to convince the world that he is Bob Dylan.

So why even bother? Because the songs are actually pretty decent. It’s definitely the harder-driving ones that’ll snag you like a rusty old nail. A Bo Diddley beat is shredded to pieces on “If Your Monkey Can’t Get It,” a grinding cut that’s further damaged by a dissonant collision of overdriven guitars and screaming keyboards. Another standout, “It Tastes Like Candy,” closes the album with some fuzz guitar savage enough to find a permanent home on a Seeds record. And it’s all propelled by a primitive thump that never lets up.

Slightly less engaging are the quieter moments where he proves to be a fairly competent balladeer. The best of these are “Midnight Through Morning” and “Grand Hotel,” with their graceful piano/keyboard work and Blue’s attempts to actually hit a note here and there. And, no, the lyrics are not spared the treatment as he gets us tangled up in obscure, imagery evoking language we know we’ve heard somewhere before.

Although this album could only be crowned a masterpiece in some dreadful Dylan impersonator contest, it is a consistent, enjoyable ride if you give it a chance. And let’s be thankful that someone had enough sense to snatch that harmonica (conspicuously absent from the recordings) away from him before he really made a fool of himself.

Blue toned down the Dylanisms and continued releasing material into the 70s, occasionally under his real name (Cohen). David Blue was reissued on Collector’s Choice Music.

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“If Your Monkey Can’t Get It”

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  • Jason

    Hi Stranger, great choice, this is actually one of my favorites. I have some of the later singer songwriter records like Stories and Nice Baby and the Angel and they are pretty strong though the Dylanisms are toned down considerably in favor of something more original. So Easy She Goes By is one of my favorite songs off the above album, it has that classic 1966 Al Kooper organ sound. Welcome, and thanks for the great reviews!!!

  • Stranger,

    “The room it was lit up. Me too, I couldn’t sit up.” That line is funny. Not sure whether I’m laughing at or with, but still enjoyable. Good post.

  • R.S.

    I threw this LP on today and dug it for sure, and started poking around online and ended up here. A friend just told me that David Blue is Leonard Cohen’s brother. It makes sense. They look a bit alike, and there is a similar sound in the voice as well (and they have, the same last name)…
    Aside from the obvious Dylan influence (which, while there, I never think gets too overwhelming/corny), there are also some moments in the ballads that have a serious Tom Rapp thing going on. The wasted lispy delivery reminds me of Pearls Before Swine.
    Cool record…..
    I fully agree about the tasteful absence of harmonica….

  • Stranger

    Thanks for stopping by, RS! – appreciate the insightful comments… that’s the first I’ve heard of him being related to L. Cohen …but you never know…

  • Mark Tunnell

    For the record – S. David Cohen (David Blue) and Leonard Cohen were not even remotely related.

    David was from Rhode Island, while Lenny is of course Canadian.

    Oh, and nice review by the way.

  • Nice piece, I’ll send folks over here who need a short heads-up on David Blue, which is just about everybody.

  • Mark Tunnell


    While my initial comment about David being originally from Rhode Island is technically correct, it is not the whole story and thus may be somewhat misleading.

    David became acquainted with New York City from a very early age, via day trips he embarked on without telling his family (often when he was supposed to be in school!). He quickly became accustomed to the wild-and-woolly hustle that was (still is) NYC in those days and it’s pretty safe to say that by age 21 he had firmly acquired a Noo Yawk state of mind.

    Anyway, I thought I would add that little detail. I did not mean to previously imply that David had a stereotypical New England upbringing – he was about as far from a Kennedy as one could get!


  • Stranger

    thanks for the input, Mark and Will. I really appreciate your comments.Been listening to Blue’s 2nd album, 23 days in September, lately -that’s a good one as well

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