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My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor, indexer, and proofreader. This blog is my website.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Testing 1-2-3: THE ONLY KNOWN VIDEO OF FRED NEIL

IMPORTANT JANUARY 2016 UPDATE:

For the most important goings-on in the Fred Neil world, go to

That's the Bag I'm In (Neff; forthcoming)

+++

For Haiku Monday, Google/YouTube was adamant about not letting me embed a video. Trying again here.

And for display purposes, I offer you four extremely rare minutes of a very rare type of performer -- one heralded and revered within the industry and who sought no fame whatsoever, eventually disappearing from public view.

Most people are not familiar with Fred Neil, and I won't go into his history. But everyone is familiar with one of his songs: "Everybody's Talkin'," which Nilsson recorded for the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack, and royalties of which probably covered most of Fred's expenses until his death in the early 2000s.

The song here was prominently featured to nice effect in an episode of The Sopranos.

I only learned of Fred Neil and his reputation through a little book I read repeatedly in my early teens: Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia. Also from that book, I first found out about the Velvet Underground. That's a whole 'nother obsession.

Anyway, my words are merely keeping you from seeing the following, which is legitimately rare and precious footage. Some angel posted it on YouTube at the end of July 2011. I get chills every time I watch it, because this man has been a part of my life since the early 1970s -- whether reading about him, then searching used record stores in pursuit of his four albums, or ultimately bringing him to the attention of others. To actually see him in performance after all this time is bizarre and beautiful.

Watch concert video here.

9/24 UPDATE: A Fred Neil documentary is on the way that appears to include more footage from the concert below. Too good to be true.





7 comments:

Aunty Belle said...

Enjoyed this look into the formative years of The Czar. Never knew of this writer/ singer nor of his credits--thanky fer the introduction.

czar said...

Aunty: Among the many wonderful things about this clip is to see a performer looking so happy and relaxed.

John Sebastian -- of course, of the Lovin' Spoonful -- is the harmonica player here. Sebastian played on the first Fred Neil solo album in 1965, and at the time and in the years previous was a youngster in Greenwich Village learning at Fred Neil's knee. The affection between the two is obvious, and when Sebastian rubs Fred Neil on the shoulder in mid-song . . . very sweet.

At the time of this recording, Fred Neil had been out of circulation for about five years, so this is a reunion of sorts -- with a number of the other musicians as well.

Too, this was in Florida, the Rolling Coconut Review, 1976 . . . and if you note on the marquee at the very beginning of the clip, one of the listed musicians is "Jim Buffett."

Aunty Belle said...

The whole thang is nostalgia--of the good variety. Oddly, Uncle once sang wif' Steven Stills. Not professionally, jes' a ole boy thang when Stills wuz not quite so famous.

BTW,
Uncle done announced his Haiky Theme--nearly rule-less.

man is incorrigible. All mah efforts these many years is all fer naught. Forsooth!

moi said...

Success! Your knowledge of this ear of music is vastly greater than mine.

czar said...

Aunty: I'm trying to do the math here. Granny was in college a few years behind Johnny Carson. Uncle sang with Steven Stills before gained a measure of fame, which would be 1966 or before. Either Uncle sang with Stills in a Boy Scout troop or he robbed the cradle when he courted Aunty . . . the cad.

Well, maybe it works. Genealogical arithmetic makes my head hurt.

Moi: I will take any issue on which I may know something slightly more than you do not as success but a source of amazement.

And I'm not sure about vastly greater. Anyone with a modicum of knowledge about Fred Neil is legions ahead of most. Too, didn't you once express much respect for Mary Travers? Or was it just The Look?

moi said...

'Twas mainly her look. My parents were HUGE folk music buffs, so I grew up listening to Kingston Trio, PP&M, Joan Baez (gag, cough, sputter), Nancy Ames (who I actually really rather liked and whose look I totally admired), Bob Dylan, when what I really wanted to hear was the Beatles, Ray Charles, and Dusty Springfield. I'm not sure why my parents were such nerds musically, but there you have it. Things improved only slightly with Trini Lopez and, later, Herb Alpert and Tom Jones.

So, no, I had no education whatsoever in late 1960s, early '70s rock 'n' roll. By the time I was old enough to buy records with my pocket money, I was buying Bowie, Elton John, and proto-punk bands.

czar said...

Now, now, Moi, easy on my homie Joan Baez. Born on Staten Island, along with the chief from the original Get Smart and the Wu Tang Clan. We're nothing if not eclectic.