I was reading the comments of Neil Young on his song “Cinnamon Girl” and I was wondering what’s the meaning of this:
Wrote this for a city girl on peeling pavement coming at me thru Phil Ochs eyes playing finger cymbals...
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Songfacts claims the liner notes are a reference to Jean Ray --perhaps intentionally made cryptic, given that they were both married to other people.
Though Young would not identify his muse, the bit about finger cymbals is a reference to '60s folk singer Jean Ray, who performed with then-husband Jim Glover under the name Jim and Jean. Phil Ochs, a close friend of [the] couple, penned the title song to their second album, Changes
In the book Shakey, Young copped to having a crush on Ray. When asked if she is the Cinnamon Girl, Young said, "Only part of the song. There's images in there that have to do with Jean and there's images that have to do with other people."
Phil Ochs was another singer/songwriter of the times.