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The Many Sides of Fred Neil

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Audio CD, May 18, 1999
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 18, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Collector's Choice
  • ASIN: B00000IWN1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,213 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. The Dolphins
2. I've Got A Secret
3. That's The Bag I'm In
4. Ba-De-Da
5. Faretheewell (Fred's Tune)
6. Everybody's Talkin
7. Everything Happens
8. Sweet Cocaine
9. Green Rocky Road
10. Cynicrustpetefredjohn Raga
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. The Other Side Of This Life
2. Roll On Rosie
3. The Dolphins
4. That's The Bag I'm In
5. Sweet Cocaine
6. Everybody's Talkin'
7. Come Back Baby
8. Ba-De-Da
9. Prettiest Train
10. Ya Don't Miss Your Water
See all 19 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 theA- and B-sides o

Finally, a record label has the sense to reissue folk-era singer-songwriter Fred Neil's three visionary Capitol albums on CD. Born in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1937, Neil was a major fixture on the early-'60s Greenwich Village folk scene. If he's known for anything today, it's for his songwriting (via Nilsson's AM-radio hit of "Everybody's Talkin,'" Jefferson Airplane's manic cover of "Other Side of This Life," or Tim Buckley's lovely version of "The Dolphins"). Neil's songs are remarkable, the sort of ponderous, moody, complex music reminiscent of the best of Nick Drake, Richard Thompson, and Leonard Cohen. His sound was characterized by nimble 12-string guitar playing; the ability to blend Indian, gospel, rock, and blues into folk music; and an impossibly deep, reverberant baritone voice, sort of like Johnny Cash with a midrange, control, and chops. The material on the two CDs that comprise Many Sides was recorded between 1967 and '71 and presents the entirety of Neil's mature work, adding six unreleased tracks and one historically interesting, hootenanny-imprisoned single. Though there are spots of languorous fooling around and stoned goofiness (notably on the lackadaisical Sessions), the takes are mostly grand, the production ranging from inventively subtle to stripped-down live versions. Fans will also want to scoop up the imports of Neil's '65 debut, Bleecker & MacDougal, and his folknik collaboration with Vince Martin, Tear Down the Walls. Last seen in Texas--or was that Florida?--the music world has not heard from Neil since the '70s. --Mike McGonigal

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
It's enough to make me cringe.
K. H. Orton
To have a 2 CD collection of Fred Neil is a delight after 30 plus years of playing albums now well worn and punctuated with skips and scratches.
L.inda J. Woodward
Fred Neil possesses a wonderful, baritone voice; his music moves like beat poetry..
Mark Discepoli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1999
Format: Audio CD
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.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
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.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By K. H. Orton VINE VOICE on May 16, 2000
Format: Audio CD
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.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephen F Mulcahy on January 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD
this comprises neil's three albums fred neil, sessions, and the final release of his, the other side of this life .ok , some of the 2nd album (sessions) can be repetitive and not all that great and a few things on the 2nd disc arent totally great either-but most of this collection demonstrates just how many truly superb but forgotten performers there were out there in the 60's that deserve to be remembered today. fred neil is one of the best songwriters of the era, and certainly had one of the greatest voices of the period. best of all, there is no b.s. about him, the songs may be relaxed but there is no mistaking the sincerity and honesty each time you hear fred sing. the 1st album is a classic of folk rock , or singer songwriter or whatever this music can be called. it really defies description and labelling, suffice it to say that fred neil's voice , guitar playing, and songwriting is incredible. and don't forget the fine accompaniment by "name sidemen" like cyrus faryar, canned heat's alan wilson,the drummer billy mundi and others ( including a duet with gram parsons on the great country/folk standard long black veil from the 1971 album other side of this lifefor having influenced the likes of dylan and tim buckley alone merits neil "near cooperstown" status. incidentally, buckley covered neil's wonderful the dolphins , and you'll recognize tracks here that were done later on by nilsson, the jefferson airplane, and numerous others. despite a few mediocre and overlong songs here and there, this is the best record i've bought in quite some time.
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