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Audio CD, November 20, 2012
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Sessions + Fred Neil + Other Side Of This Life
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Editorial Reviews

Released in 1967, Sessions is the follow-up to his classic self-titled solo album. Although the long, meandering, raga influenced songs on Sessions are a bit perplexing at first, the album's rewards increase with each subsequent listening session. Neil's vocal performances are astounding and the album as a whole is a meditative experience. An under-rated LP from one of American folk's finest voices. Reissued on CD for the first time domestically.

1. Felicity
2. Send Me Somebody To Love
3. Merry Go Round
4. Love Over Yonder
5. Fools Are A Long Time Coming
6. Looks Like Rain
7. Roll On Rosie

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 20, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Water
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,405 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William Jens Jensen VINE VOICE on August 6, 2014
These sessions always got a bad rap from both critics and Fred Neil fans alike. It has been called unfocused, self-indulgent, and worse. I was already a fan of his music when I bought this record soon after it first came out in '67. But this was different from his more popular music, especially "Everybody's Talkin'," his song made popular by Harry Nilsson. Listening to this music is a bit like being in his living room for a laid-back jam with his friends. He was most likely stoned on various substances and was pretty loose. "Roll on Rosie" is a good example (and one of my all-time favorites by Neil). It doesn't hurt to get into a similar state--not necessarily stoned, but relaxed, loose, and open-minded. His musicianship is impeccable and his voice resonant and as smooth as maple syrup. These "sessions" were not intended to become an album, but those involved decided it should be heard and his fans were grateful.

I listened to "Sessions" a lot when I was in the US Air Force and stationed in Peshawar, Pakistan, in the late '60s. "Substances" were readily available there, which didn't hurt in opening my mind to new kinds of music. Fred Neil was already part of the NYC music scene in the early '60s, when Dylan rolled into town, and he had a significant influence on the growing "folk" movement there. The CD provides just one example of why that was and why Fred Neil matters. It is one of the best representations of the natural outcome of the '60s folk scene, especially as it developed in NYC (see Bob Dylan's memoir, "Chronicles").

For good or bad, I sold off my vinyl collection many years ago, so I'm glad to see this album finally available on CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel M. Feldman on January 24, 2014
"Sessions" comes across more as a rehearsal for an album rather than an actual album, giving it an unusual, atmospheric vibe: one can almost see the guys grinding out cigarette butts between lukewarm cans of Olympia, followed by shots of Imperial at 4 in the morning, just kicking back (if they have Olympia in Hollywood, that is). It's almost as if Capitol taped the rehearsal, cancelled the scheduled recording session, then released the rehearsal. But, surprisingly, this rough hewn, devil-may-care informality works, for the most part, giving the whole affair a laid-back yet idiosyncratic feel.

Assets: 1) Fred Neil's deep, dark, whiskey-infused voice, hitting those nice LOWWW notes dead-center. 2) Neil's songwriting is solid as ever ("Fools are a Long Time Coming" is a masterpiece). 3) Fascinating dialogue between Fred and his sidemen: Man, they're just trying to work things out. Let's face it: this IS a rehearsal, but an interesting one. 4) The surprising presence of first-call jazz bassist Jimmy Bond--who worked with Chet Baker, Art Pepper and Herbie Mann, among many others--on what is essentially a folk date. His deep, rich sound gives the bass more presence here than on most folk dates.

Liabilities: 1) Some of the tracks go on too long, and 2) There are FOUR acoustic guitarists frequently aimlessly meandering about, searching for direction, any direction. Their simultaneous playing/jamming/meandering results in a cacophony of dissidence, turning sound waves into cottage cheese.

Recommended anyway for Neil's vocals, songwriting and incredible presence. You feel like you are there, too, just hangin' out, chugging beer followed by shots of Imperial with the dudes. Making suggestions, too: "Hey, Fred, why don't you guys try that in E-flat....(burrrppp!)." It's like you were personally invited to the rehearsal at Capitol in the wee small hours, lucky you!
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