The End Of An Old Song, Cohen's film about Dillard Chandler and the other hill singers, is as stark and lonesome as the songs themselves. Chandler lives in a dark, one-room shack so poorly built the sun shines through the cracks. He tells us that he can't read so he "doesn't fool with the mail box," and that he's gotten by in life on hard work, mostly gardening. The thing that hits you the hardest is the lost weary look on the faces of Chandler and his friends. Even when they're singing they look shell-shocked and expressionless, the result of a life of hard work lived with few, if any, of the conveniences we all take for granted.
The film lacks a narrative thread and stops abruptly as Chandler's hitting on a young woman in a diner while the juke box plays George Hamilton IV's "Tobacco's But An Indian Weed." Cohen got Chandler an invitation to perform at the Newport Folk Festival in 1967, but he never got on the bus out of Ashville, the nearest big town. This film and the Dark Holler CD are the only traces he left behind.
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