David Blue (self-titled)
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.
“If Your Monkey Can’t Get It”