Saturday, May 06, 2006:

The Roots Canal: David Blue

Dave Cohen (David Blue) -- I Like to Sleep Late in the Morning
David Blue was part of the folk set running around Greenwich Village in the 60s. He, Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan were particularly close friends -- in fact, some speculate that It's All Over Now, Baby Blue was written about him. That's him sitting on the floor behind Dylan on the cover of The Basement Tapes. He had a prominent role in Dylan's film, Renaldo and Clara. Later, Dylan was said to treat him badly, more like an errand boy than a friend. There's also speculation that Joni Mitchell's song and album Blue were named after him.

David was kind of a sad case. All of his friends went on to become famous, and he was left behind. He was apparently finally reaching some kind of peace with himself when he died of a heart attack while jogging in Washington Square Park in 1982. He recorded several albums under a variety of names: Dave Cohen, David Blue, S. David Cohen (his birth name). According to a memoir by his wife, he actually got the name David Blue from Eric Anderson, and when he tried it out on Dylan, Bob laughed and started singing "It's all over now, David Blue" (which would indicate that the song wasn't written about him, after all).

This was his signature song. I remember hearing him perform it in the coffeehouses on Bleecker Street. It was later recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker and David Bromberg (who changed one word, from "my shoes shined" to "my sneakers shined"), among others. This version is from a classic folk compilation album called Singer Songwriter Project, which included songs by Dave Cohen, Patrick Sky, Bruce Murdoch and Richard Farina (better known for writing Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me and forming a folk duo with his second wife, Joan Baez' sister Mimi). Long out of print, it was recently rereleased in England together with Blue's first solo album.

[Singer Songwriter Project/David Blue]
It's probably a result of my limited familiarity with the scene that this reminds me of Tom Paxton. I like it.

Post a Comment

<< Home