Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Many Sides of Fred Neil
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock
This CD is a definitive look at Neil's classic Capitol recordings. Included are the three albums he recorded for Capitol, 'Fred Neil' (later re-released as Everybody's Talkin'), Sessions and the live album Other Side of Th... more »
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This CD is a definitive look at Neil's classic Capitol recordings. Included are the three albums he recorded for Capitol, 'Fred Neil' (later re-released as Everybody's Talkin'), Sessions and the live album Other Side of This Life, plus the A- and B-sides of his rare single with the Nashville Street Singers and six unreleased/alternate songs 'Sweet Mama', 'Trouble in Mind', 'December's Dream', 'Ride Stormy Weather', 'How Long Blues/Drown in Tears' and 'Other Side of This Life'. 36 tracks on 2 CDs. 2001 release.
K. H. Orton | New York, NY USA | 05/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before Bob Dylan became the poster boy for the 60's Folk Revival, the undisputed king of the Greenwich Village scene was the late Fred Neil. Its said a worshipful Dylan used to carry his guitar & Neil occasionally let the newcomer from Minnesoata sit in on harmonica.
But Neil proved reluctant to embrace the fame Dylan so wryly made a side-show of. He hated performing live & at the time of Harry Nilsson's hit with, "Everybody's Talkin'" the song's author turned his back on it all & headed South to Florida. where he remained in obscurity till his death in 2002. He reportedly last performed sometime in the 70's.
Along with the classic, BLEECKER & MACDOUGAL, this collection is all you need. The first thing that will strike you is that voice. Johnny Cash laced with Sinatra. A deep, gravelly baritone. Able to plumb the darkest depths or fleetingly rise above it all. His 12-string playing is just as formidable. A sort of Folk, Jazz infused Raga as evidenced on "Cynicrustpetefredjohn".
Though "Everybody's Talkin'" was a major hit, Neil's "Dolphins" remains the most covered. The best known being those by Beth Orton & Jeff Buckley. As for Neil's original, it has a haunting, dream-like quality. As if he were difting in eye of a storm whose chaos is spinning out of control around him.
As for Neil's version of "Everybody's Talkin'". I prefer it to Nilsson's MIDNIGHT COWBOY version. Spare & slowed down the songs' true meaning comes out. It still carries a breeziness, but less busy & forced, allowing the dark undercurrent to hit home. Without out a doubt, one the most understated songs about heroin addiction ever written. Something Neil alledgedly knew 1st hand & which eventually lead to his abdicating New York in an effort to get clean.
Other highlights include "Sugaree" and the wry pessimism of "Bag I'm In". This collection also features the SESSIONS album which is more rambling & unfocused but still full of captivating moments like "Rosie" & "Merry-Go-Round" ( featuring a dark segue into Leadbelly's "In The Pines").
Disc 2 contains live material & rarities. "You Don't Miss Your Water" features a duet with none other than a young Gram Parsons & there's another gem in an unreleased cover of "December's Dream".
I have to confess, I've never been a fan of the whole 60's coffee house Folk thing. The Weavers, Kingston Trio, Peter Paul & Mary. It's enough to make me cringe. Same goes for the whole Phil Ochs political/protest singer thing. Unlike his contemporaries, Neil seemed determined to remain far from the maddening crowd of protests & marches. Yet his music seems to reflect the price one pays for running away from it all. A quality which makes him timeless."
A flawed genius' flawed work
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This two-CD reissue of Fred Neil's Capitol recordings is welcome, if overdue. To those who don't know much about the 1960s folk revival, Neil is remembered, if at all, as the composer of "Candy Man" (the Roy Orbison hit, not the traditional song) and "Everybody's Talkin'" (recorded by Harry Nilsson for the film "Midnight Cowboy"). Folk devotees and some graying rockers recall him as one of the most gifted singers and songwriters of the period. Unfortunately, he recorded relatively little, and at least one of his recordings, Sessions (included here on disc one, cuts 11-17), is mostly a testament to druggy self-indulgence, though even it has a couple of achingly lovely, focused pieces ("Felicity" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love"). The folk movement has produced few songs as original or as enduring as "The Dolphins" and the afore-mentioned "Talkin'." His first Capitol album (disc one, 1-10) gorgeously framed these and other songs (including Neil's unforgettable reading of Elizabeth Cotten's "Didn't We Shake Sugaree") in shimmering electric textures nobody has been able to duplicate since. Few revival singers have matched Neil's feeling for blues or his ability to find a song's emotional core and immerse himself inside it. Less happily, few matched his capacity for the sort of self-destructive, talent-diminishing behavior that made his career so sadly short and his recorded output so uneven. The previously unreleased material here includes two embarrassingly ill-conceived singles recorded in Nashville (disc two, 12-13) as well as studio material (notably "December's Dream") which reminds us of how keenly the absence of this flawed genius is still felt."
Remember a lost voice
K. H. Orton | 07/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fred Neil died over the weekend. Those of us who became members of his cult during the mid-'60s with the Elektra classic "Bleecker and MacDougal," have wished for a return after his disappearance from music in the mid-'70s, but it wasn't to be. In addition to his compelling vocal style, he wrote a few certifiably classic tunes: "Everybody's Talkin'," "The Dolphins," and "Other Side To This Life." They have been covered successfully by other artists, from Nilsson to Beth Orton, over the decades.To escape his demons--or maybe just to co-exist with them more easily--Fred retired to Florida and until recently was militant about refusing to connect with the music industry or press. The recordings in this set vary greatly in quality, but even when ragged they carry a tremendous folk-jazz vibe. Possessed of a warm, deep voice and a complex, spontaneous interpretive sensibility, Neil belongs in a rarefied class with Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and Terry Callier as a moody writer-interpreter at the nexus of folk, jazz, blues and soul.Even if you never heard of him in his lifetime, remember him now."