David Blue

David Blue

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David Blue Review

by William Ruhlmann

If music fans concerned about Bob Dylan in the wake of his July 29, 1966, motorcycle accident were looking for an immediate replacement, they might have found him the following month when Elektra records released David Blue's self-titled debut LP. Blue, a friend of Dylan's, was heavily influenced by the folk-rock sound Dylan had developed in 1965-1966, with its rock & roll band prominently featuring keyboards and topped by an acoustic guitar. He was also inspired by Dylan to write allusive lyrics full of fantastic imagery rendered in a sardonic tone. And he sang in a similarly flat, partly spoken voice that, like Dylan's, owed a lot to Mose Allison. (The only thing missing, it seemed, was the harmonica playing.) Of course, none of these things made him unique at a time when Dylan's sound had been appropriated by everyone from Sonny & Cher to Barry McGuire, and, in truth, Blue came by the approach honestly, having worked his way up through the same Greenwich Village music scene as Dylan. In the album's ballads, particularly "Grand Hotel," but also "Midnight Through Morning" and "The Street," he revealed a more lyrical style that was warmer and sadder than anything in Dylan's repertoire. Those songs would point a direction for him to find more of his own sound on subsequent albums. In the meantime, David Blue actually turned out to be behind the curve in the rapidly changing music of the mid-'60s, released the same month that the Beatles started to take pop down a different road with Revolver, and the album quickly disappeared from sight. It finally earned a straight CD reissue on mail-order label Collectors' Choice Music in early 2002, by which time it seemed a charming artifact of its time.

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