When Legends Gather #111


Ed Sanders, Tom Waits, Phil Ochs and David Blue share a private joke at a Sanders poetry event in New York City in 1975.

12 comments:

Tom Sutpen said...

I'm not 100% certain, but the 'and friend' looks like the late poet/folk singa, David Blue.

swac said...

Actually, I think you're right. He and Ochs were certainly friends, and it looks like David Blue, so I'll change the cutline accordingly.

Good eye!

Tom Sutpen said...

My noticing Blue was a semi-fluke, since I've had occasion in the last few months to re-watch Renaldo & Clara (I think he wears the same suit in that film). Also,this was around the time there'd been a resurgence of sorts in the MacDougal St. scene in Greenwich Village (which culminated in the Rolling Thunder Revue), and this photo is virtually a line-up of Usual Suspects from that brief revival.

swac said...

I found this interesting because I wasn't sure I'd seen a photo of Ochs this close to his death before. He looks like an end-of-days Bobby Darin or something.

Vanwall said...

You two guys are amazing - simply amazing.

I was just thinking the same thing, Stephen - how closely some of these burnouts resemble one another when it's near the end. Sad, sad.

I used to see Tom Waits around this time when he was opening for Frank Zappa - what a pair to draw to!

BCNU

Tom Sutpen said...

Stephen wrote:

I found this interesting because I wasn't sure I'd seen a photo of Ochs this close to his death before. He looks like an end-of-days Bobby Darin or something.

*****
He looks more like an end-of-days Darin than Kevin Spacey did.

Then again, Ochs looks almost like an end-of-days Kevin Spacey in thos photo.

Tom Sutpen said...

Rob wrote:

You two guys are amazing - simply amazing.

*****
Muchas gracias, Rob; though I can't take credit for this'un. 'Tis all the work of Signor Cooke

I was just thinking the same thing, Stephen - how closely some of these burnouts resemble one another when it's near the end. Sad, sad.

I used to see Tom Waits around this time when he was opening for Frank Zappa - what a pair to draw to!

*****
Now, that's a show I'd wanna see!

Anonymous said...

"I was just thinking the same thing, Stephen - how closely some of these burnouts resemble one another when it's near the end."

Tom Waits is no more a burnout than am I Tom Waits.

Kim

swac said...

I don't think he meant that all of those pictured above were "these burnouts"...merely referring to burnouts in general. Like Bobby Darin or Phil Ochs. But not Tom Waits, for whom it is still early days in this photo (and is still a creative force to be reckoned with).

Anonymous said...

Phil Ochs?...who's your source for this one? Me no think eet eez Pheel Okks...

Pheel Okks he waz een Florida aroun' 1975...he wuz goingk crazy serious-like 'n shit (30 yearz since the Pheel Okks he hangk himself...yes?) The gunfight at the Carnegeez Hallz really fucked him up bad...maybe too many burgers with Burt Ward whom played the Robin.

Like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits has always struck me as a guy who tries much too hard. If you've heard his whole 'drunk guy putting words together at the piano' schtick once, you've heard it a million times. And when he started wholsale ripping off Beefheart, then the jig was really up. His absolute best (and maybe only best) moment was back in the ancient days...aaah, nevermind...

David Blue (yes that's him) put out one really amazing Dylan-pastiche called (funnily enough) **David Blue**...it's as if he took "Highway 61 Revisited" and gave it to David Seville to re-write and then asked Mouse and the Traps to back him up while Johnny Otis produced.

Yeah, I guess that's 'Helter Skelter' Ed Sanders of The Bachman Turner Fugs, though it could be Michael J. Pollard with a moustache or the lead singer of Boston ('Mad' Brad Delp)

Now, if indeed that IS Phi Ochs (I doubt it) then I'd rank those in the photo culturally thusly:

1) Phil Ochs
2) Ed Sanders
3) David Blue
4) Tom Waits (Waits must always come in last in any random, meaningless ranking in a blog comments section...yes?)

Houseplant Picture Studio

Tom Sutpen said...

Phil Ochs?...who's your source for this one? Me no think eet eez Pheel Okks...

Pheel Okks he waz een Florida aroun' 1975...he wuz goingk crazy serious-like 'n shit (30 yearz since the Pheel Okks he hangk himself...yes?) The gunfight at the Carnegeez Hallz really fucked him up bad...maybe too many burgers with Burt Ward whom played the Robin.

*****
If this photo was taken around the time I think it was taken, than that may well be Pheel Okks. He was in New York at the time Dylan and Neuwirth were putting together the Rolling Thunder Revue (he's mentioned a few times in Sam Shepard's hideous memoir of that period); mainly sniffing around trying to land himself a slot on that fabled bill. I know he was in Florida when the second RTR was rehearsin' (accounts differ as to whether he was going to be on that show. If they could bounce Jack Elliott in favor of Kinky Friedman, then I suppose anything's possible).

And while he may be dressed like a mid-level producer of porn loops here, enough of the facial features remain to make me think it's the trainwreck himself.

Besides, doesn't he look like someone whose psyche is on its last legs?

Like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits has always struck me as a guy who tries much too hard. If you've heard his whole 'drunk guy putting words together at the piano' schtick once, you've heard it a million times. And when he started wholsale ripping off Beefheart, then the jig was really up. His absolute best (and maybe only best) moment was back in the ancient days...aaah, nevermind...

*****
I loved his recording of Bernstein/Sondheim's Somewhere, but on the whole I've never been the biggest Tom Waits admirer. I have a weakness for Beat poetics in spite of myself, I suppose, and I don't dislike Waits, but . . . I dunno . . . just never worked for me (the Beefheart observation is spot-on, I must say).

David Blue (yes that's him) put out one really amazing Dylan-pastiche called (funnily enough) **David Blue**...it's as if he took "Highway 61 Revisited" and gave it to David Seville to re-write and then asked Mouse and the Traps to back him up while Johnny Otis produced.

*****
Would you like to join this blog as a contributor (I'm semi-serious)?

I liked Blue's LP (it was good to see someone still holding onto that aesthetic late as that), but his Greenwich Village Memory Lane raps in Renaldo & Clara were an embarassment.

Now, if indeed that IS Phi Ochs (I doubt it) then I'd rank those in the photo culturally thusly:

1) Phil Ochs
2) Ed Sanders
3) David Blue
4) Tom Waits (Waits must always come in last in any random, meaningless ranking in a blog comments section...yes?)

*****
We don't do rankings here (he sniffed) . . . I think.

(In closing: Your site is brilliant. And thanks for this contribution)

Ian W. Hill said...

I'm almost positive that Drew Friedman used the image of Phil Ochs in this very photo as the basis of one of the examples in his "Comic Book Store Owners of America" comic (the only one who looked reasonably human).

Now I need to try and find and dig out the book to see if I'm right . . .