Listmania – My Top 10 All-Time Favorite Folk Artists…….

I have tried to stay away from lists on this blog. The main reason is that I find it very hard to rank artists. I think that’s because my favorite is always the one that I’m listening to at the moment and also that I know I’m going to forget someone. This list actually is a list of the “Roots” of my folk music listening. These are the artists that have been with me for the whole ride, from vinyl to 8 track, cassettes, CD and the iPod. Should there be a woman or two on the list probably maybe Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins Emmylou Harris, probably but these guys are the core!! This is the first hopefully of several posts that will become pages on my site. Let’s see there’s the top branches, artist that I love from the 80s and 90s and then the leaves from the 2000s! How about songs?? I don’t know if I can go there!! Anyway let me know who I forgot and then maybe I need to expand the list!!

Rank

Musician

Thoughts

1

Tom Paxton

Tom Paxton

I could fill this whole table with my favorite Tom Paxton songs. Tom can make me laugh make me sad and make me think. I made a quick playliat Spotify and here are the six songs I put on it….”Leaving London”,”Outward Bound”,”Talking Vietnam Pot Luck Blues”, I Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound”, “Cindy’s Cryin’”Here’s one of my favorites

2

Jerry Jeff Walker

Jerry Jeff Walker

 Jerry Jeff Walker aka Jacky Jack was born Ronald Crosby in New York. When I first heard his music he was a folk singer. From the moment I heard “Mr. Bojangles”,” “Ramblin’ Scramblin;”,

3

JOhn-Prine

John Prine

 A while back someone posted on Goggle+ in reference to one of my posts that he never met a John Prine song he didn’t like, and for the most part I agree! I don’t think there are many better debut albums than John’s. And on most nights I work at Target near the end of the night “Illegal Smile” usually rattles around in the jukebox of my mind!Listen to: “Hello in There”, “Unwed Fathers“, “It’s a Big Old Goofy World”

4

Phil Ochs2

Phil Ochs

 Did you notice the absence of Bob Dylan?  I was a Dylan fan for several years. His Greatest Hits 1 & 2, Nashville Skyline and others are in my vinyl collection. But when it came to the songs that spoke to me as a left-winger in the 60s and 70s Dylan played second fiddle to Phil!Listen to: “Flower Lady“, “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends“, “Changes

5

Tom Rush

Tom Rush

 Whoa! What is Tom doing way down here! You can probably take the top five on this list mix them up in any order and I would agree with it. I have listened to Tom since the late 60s and the album that started it all was The Circle Game, which may be the top album on my list of all-time favorite albums!! He gets points for releasing a great album What I Know after a 35 year hiatus, but also losses points for it being that long!!Listen to: “Urge for Going”,”No Regrets”, :Child’s Song”, “What I Know”

6

Steve Goodman

Steve Goodman

 My second favorite all-time debut album my just be Steve Goodman’s self-titled album. I wore that baby out in college! Great songs full of warm, love, and humor. What a loss it was when Steve died so young!Check Out: “City of New  Orleans”, “My Old Man”, “Turnpike Tom” and “Yellow Coat”

7

Harry Chapin

Harry Chapin

 Speaking of leaving us too soon, Harry we still miss you!! Harry was always my wife and my musician to go see in the early years! One of the first concerts we ever went to together us to see Harry at the Great Southeast Music Hall in Atlanta. Great show! Was waiting for him to whip out a gun during “Sniper” such passion and emotion. Forget “Cat’s in the Cradle”Check out – “Mr Tanner”, “A Better Place to Be”, “Mail Order Annie”. “Corey’s Coming” and of course “Circle” “All my life’s a circle sunrise to sundown…..”

8

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

 My first introduction to the music of Leonard Cohen was the song “Suzanne” and at once I was captivated by the imagery created by his poetry. The first date I went on with my wife was to see the movie McCabe and Mrs Miller. I’m glad my future father-in-law didn’t realize or care that a young college boy took his daughter to see a movie about a gambler and a hooker. Leonard’s music fit that movie perfectly!Check out: “Suzanne”, “The Stranger Song”, “Joan of Arc”. Chelsea Hotel”

9

Jesse Winchester

Jesse Winchester

 Way back when, my then girlfriend, now wife told me to listen to Jesse Winchester, that he was really good! I did, she was right!! I have been a fan ever since. I  am s glad that I finally saw him in concert a few years ago. I never got to see Steve Goodman or Phil Ochs before they pasted away. Jesse wrote some of the simplest and yet beautiful songs.Listen to::”Mississippi, You’re on My Mind”. “If You Need Someone”, “I Turn to My Guitar”, “That’s What Makes You Strong”

10

Eric-Andersen

Eric Andersen

 Eric Andersen’s “Is it Really Love at All” and “Thirty Boots” both have a place on my list of all-time favorite songs. In the liner notes for Violets of Dawn Andersen wrote:”Leonard Cohen once came up to me and said ‘I’m a poet and never thought of writing songs until I heard ‘Violets of Dawn’ and then I began to write songs…Kris Kristoffersen liked my sexy songs, my love songs…It helped him write the kinds of things he did in Nashville like ‘Help Me Make it Through the Night”. Good enough for me!!Check out: “Thirsty Boots”, Violets of Dawn”, “Dusty Boxcar Wall”, “Memory of the Future”

 

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An Evening of Humor with Gabriel Iglesias (with an I not an E) and some music from Joe Crookston! (videos)

Gabriel IglesiasSo tonight I did something that I rarely do and that is turn on the television and watch something other than sports. Well, I have to say that the reason that the TV was on in the first place was that the Phillies were playing this afternoon and after they lost and moved to like nine games under .500, I needed a laugh so I put on The Daily Show and watched Jon Stewart tear into Oliver North. After the show was over, I kept the TV on and started doing something, oh yeah, I was looking for funny stuff and I watched Monty Python’s Upper Class Twit of the Year skit, which always cracks me up!! When the Python skit ended, in its usual blaze of glory, I turned my attention to the Comedy Central Special that was on TV, some very funny fat dude, or should I say “Fluffy Dude” was the headliner Gabriel Iglesias., I have never seen Iglesias before, but he is very talented and really funny. I watched most of two of his specials and came to the conclusion that to increase my happiness, I should watch more stand-up comedy!! So here is part of Gabriel’s second special!

What I probably should have done, was written about the new Joe Crookston album Georgia, I’m Here, which I’ve listened two a couple of times so far, and think is going to be one of my favorite folk albums of the year, but alas I did not. I think that  will give the album another listen and write about it tomorrow. Until then, why don’t you give a listen and watch Joe perform his song “Fall Down as the Rain” which is the title track of his 2004 release, hum, I am not familiar with that album, I guess that should be on my playlist for tomorrow too!! So here’s Joe…..

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New Music from an Old Favorite – David Wilcox – blaze!

David Wilcox IIOver the last few weeks, I’ve made reference to listening to David Wilcox’s new album blaze,  today I  listened to it again and I think it’s time i write something about the album! For me David Wilcox has the whole package, he is an intelligent and thought songwriter, a great singer and a terrific guitar player. What more could one ask for? I’ve been listening to David since the late 80s when I heard him on the radio singing and discussing the titled track of his first album “The Nightshift Watchman” Which is a song about those people, who sit in underground bunkers watching the skies for a missile attack knowing full well that if they do their job, their job and the world as we know it may be over!! You can read the lyrics here. Many of David’s eighteen releases can  be found in my music library and I feel that blaze is  one of his best albums.

blaze opens with “Oil Talkin’ to Ya’” which in David’s words is just a different way to look at Blazethe future when oil may not be around anymore, and maybe it won’t be as bad as we think. Because those dire predictions may just be the oil talkin’ to us! The songs on the album cover a wide range of topics from the part we all play in the destruction of the environment in “Guilty by Degree” to a police officers thoughts on the senseless killing of a young child on the city streets “The Sacrifice”. I love the imagery created in the songs “Drift” and “It’ll Work You” and how they both deal with change and rediscovery of one self! Once again,  I feel that blaze is one of David’s finest albums, all of the songs are terrific,  and it is one of the best albums of 2014!!

You can watch a short video here in which David discusses the making of blaze. Meanwhile you can check out more about David and blaze at the usual places!

Links

Website
Wikipedia
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Amazon

Here’s David performing “It’s Just the Oil Talkin’ to Ya!”

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“Into the Night” with Native American Singer/Songwriter Bill Miller…..(Video)

Bill MillerI first encountered Native American singer/songwriter/flutist/activist, and painter, Bill Miller’s music sometime in the late 90s, when I found his 1995 release Raven in the Snow at Tunes in Mt Laurel NJ. From the first time I heard the title track  from that album, I knew Bill was an artist that I would really like, well written and powerful songs are his forte and in the ensuing years, many of his albums have made their way into my music library. Bill is of Mohican-German heritage and was born on the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation, near Shawano in northern Wisconsin. His Mohican name is Fush-Ya Heay Aka (meaning “bird song”)fitting, eh?  Throughout his career, Bill has been a voice for those whose voices are seldom heard. Miller says, “I appreciate people who have something to stand up for. I stand up for the truth. If you stand up for what you believe in you have no idea how many people you’ll affect.” From his Facebook page….

….Over the past four years, Miller has produced two incredible albums, received a Grammy Award and led Wisconsin’s La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, a member of the League of American Orchestras.

Led by Music Director Amy Mills, Bill Miller’s “The Last Stand” commemorated the Battle of Little Bighorn of the Great Sioux War of 1876-77 and premiered April 2008. Released in 2004, Spirit Rain and Cedar Dream Songs, exemplify Miller’s artistry by blending the Native American and western folk/blues traditions in something wholly new. These are works of a man who knows first-hand life’s keenest joys and sorrows, a man who distills experience into a potent musical style. Cedar Dream Songs brought Bill great recognition by winning this 2005′s Grammy Award for Best Native American Recording. This instrumental CD contains nine beautiful songs which, as the subtitle suggests, are perfect examples of ‘Musical Portraits on the Native American flute.

GhostdanceI was going to use one of the songs that features Bill’s great Native American flute playing from the album Spirit Wind North (you can watch it here) But then I saw this video, of Bill performing his song “Ghostdance” from the album of the same name and I knew that this one, especially with his introduction to the song was the right one to go “into the night” with …… so check out Bill’s music at the usual places….

Links

Facebook
Wikipedia
Allmusic
Amazon

Here’s Bill performing “Ghostdance” in what appears to be a very intimate setting….

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Listening to David Wilcox’s Musical Medicine leads to Toms Rush and Paxton!!

Over the last week or so I’ve been listening to blaze David Wilcox’s new album and  promise at some point I will write about the whole album! So far I have used a song from the album “Single Candle” in a post about the assassination of Martin Luther King and tonight I’ll write about David Wilcox’s Musical Medicine. If you visit David’s website you will find a page titled Musical Medicine. On the page you’ll find a listing of 121 of David’s 600 plus songs divided up into categories like: heartbreak, Forgiveness, and working through conflict songs, and one topic that caught my attention; To appreciate your beautiful quirky self.One of the three songs that are included in that category is “Leave it Like it Is” From David’s album “How Did You Find Me Here”…..

 

Now when the paint jar tipped
Off of the table
You watched as it started to fall
Glass popped, shattered and splattered
And paint spray hit the wall

Bright, blue glossy enamel
Across the kitchen floor
You said, “Good God, look at that pattern
I’ve never seen that before”

Chorus

Leave it like it is
Never mind the turpentine
Leave it like it is
Its fine

Now when the paint dried
You gave it a title
You called it “Kitchen Blue”
A white frame painted around it
And gallery lighting too

Rich folks come over to dinner
They all want one of their own
They say “How much? Who’s the artist”
And, “My what a beautiful home”

Chorus

Now most folks suffer in sorrow
Thinking they’re just no good
They don’t match the magazine model
As close as they think they should

They live just like the “paint by numbers”
The teacher would be impressed
A life-time of follow the lines
So it’s just like all of the rest

Chorus

As I listened to the song I started thinking about songs from other artists that may fit this category and the first one that came to mind  was “Making the Best of a Bad Situation” as performed by Tom Rush and while not really the same, it is about accepting things and people the way they are!!

Then as I re-read the lyrics of the first part of “Live it Like It is” – “Talking Pop Art” by Tom Paxton came into the “Jukebox in My Mind!

P.S. I know that Wilcox’s song is a far more serious song than either of the other tunes and that only certain aspects of the songs connect but hey making strange connections is what my mind does!!!

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A Night for Musical Poetry from Phi Ochs “The Highway Man” and “Changes”!!

So tonight I’m in the mood for a little poetry and that means Phil Ochs’ version of “The Highwayman”!! Here’s a short post from about a year ago!

Phil OchsHere  are  two Phil Ochs’ songs. The first is “The Highwayman” based on the poem by Alfred Noyes, from the program “Come, Read to Me a Poem” which appeared on April 12, 1967. This sad and beautiful poem has always been a favorite, Phil did a great job putting the music to the poem and creating a captivating and sad song!

The second is Phil’s own composition “Changes” and it showcases his poetic talents, so much more than just a protest singer!

 

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Morning Music – “One Day” – Batdorf and Rodney – don’t we wish!

So for today’s morning music I was going to use the Jefferson Airplane’s cover of Fred Neil’s “The Other Side of this Life” but after my half sun salutations and a nice quiet yoga set on the 21 Day Yoga Challenge I thought it didn’t feel quite right! If you want, you can watch it here
Here’s a post I did a while back about the role of Batdorf and Rodney in my musical journey…..

Off the ShelfSo sometime in 1971 or 72, I was walking through the  Graham Area lobby at the University of Florida and two guys were playing guitars and singing. I sat down and listened and was blown away by the songs. When they finished, I asked if the songs were theirs and they said, no they were covering Batdorf and Rodney. Within a matter of days, you know I was at the local record store looking for their album!! What I found was Off the Shelf and that album has been “off the shelf” and on my record player, in my CD player and now on my mp3 player for the last forty years.

As a duo, they only recorded three albums in the 70s before they parted ways. John went on to become a member of the group Silver, who recorded one album and had one hit “Wham Bam” that climbed as high as # 16 on the Billboard Charts.

Since then John Batdorf has recorded albums with James Staley and Michael McClean. In 2006, he produced his first solo album Home Again and since then has produced two more albums Old Man Dreamin’ and One Last Wish. All three are fine albums. In 2008 Batdorf and Rodney reunited for a special on XM Radio that resulted in them recording again, and the result was Still Burnin’ and they still are!!

All of this leads me to today’s mid-morning music, “One Day” from the album Off the Shelf and don’t we all wish that the sentiments expressed in the song, would come true!!

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Folk from the Texas Hill Country – Possessed by Paul James – There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely

Possessed by Paul JamesNow maybe if I had caught this quote in No Depression back in 2010

“If I were to make a list of the 20 most important singer/songwriters of our time, Konrad Wert / Possessed by Paul James, would undoubtedly be among those at the very top.”

or this one from The Onion ??? back in 2007…..

“One-man band Konrad Wert grew up in a Mennonite family, raised by preacher father and a piano player mother, which accounts for both the baptized-in-fire-soul and musical versatility heard in his gritty Old World music. Wert’s mix of blues and vintage folk howls with a sense of explosive freedom and latent rage-not unlike an Amish kid emerging from the wilderness to discover America that instills his simple guitar/fiddle/stomp-box arrangements with unusual passion.” – The Onion 2007

If only I had paid more attention to who was touring with one of my wife’s favorite performers Frank Turner, or read the list of winners at the 2011 Independent Music Awards were he won “BEST ALT. COUNTRY ALBUM of 2011” I for “Feed the Family”.

There Will Be Nights When I'm LonelyIt wouldn’t have taken 8 years and four albums before, I found out about Possessed by Paul James a fantastic one-man band from Austin, Texas. I discovered the latest release There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely from Possessed by Paul James aka  Konrad Wert in his non-professional music life, where he is a teacher in the Texas Hill Country. Wert teaches children with intellectual disabilities in an elementary school special education classroom. And like his music making he is good at teaching! At the end of the 2012 school year was awarded “Teacher of the Year honors at the school in his first year at his new school! Possessed by Paul James was recognized again on September 12, 2013, and was

….presented with the “Golden Apple” by SACU’s ExCEL Program set up to give recognition to teachers and to encourage collaboration and sharing of best practices, improving the quality of education for our children. From Saving Country Music Read Full Post

Anyway, I know about him now and that’s what’s important.He is a terrific songwriter, banjo player, violinist and stompbox stomper? This morning I started to listen to the album, I heard the first song “Hurricane” and then had to turn off the music to do something else, and I was already singing the chorus of the song!! So if you haven’t already, and there has been ample time to do so, check out his music!! As for me, I think it’s time for Feed the Family tomorrow!!

Links

Website
Facebook
Saving Country Music
Discogs
Youtube

Here’s the video for the title track of There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely

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Flashing Back Again to the Greenwich Village Folk Scene with Carolyn Hester!

SCarolyn Hestero it looks like right now my mind is trapped in the folk revival in Greenwich Village in the 1960s with thoughts of Tom Paxton, Carolyn Hester, Mississippi John Hurt and others. This morning the first song the popped into my head was Tom Paxton’s “I Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound”. You know at least two or three times a week this song plays in my mind – maybe it’s the line “trying to find what I was meant to do” that does it for me! Anyway, when I search YouTube this morning for the song, this is the version that came up first, featuring Nanci Griffith and Carolyn Hester along with Tom……

One of several interesting things that I read about Carolyn Hester this morning, at Wikipedia, was that she turned down an invitation from Peter Yarrow and Paul Stokey to join their trio. so Peter and Paul and Mary Travers set out together! Another was that she was married to Richard Farina for two years. From Wikipedia: Hester met Farina and……

They married eighteen days later. Fariña appointed himself Hester’s agent; they toured worldwide while Fariña worked on his novel and Carolyn performed gigs. Fariña was present when Hester recorded her third album at Columbia studios during September 1961, where a then-little-known Bob Dylan played harmonica on several tracks. Fariña became a good friend of Dylan’s; their friendship is a major topic of David Hajdu’s book, Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña, and Richard Fariña. Fariña then traveled to Europe, where he met Mimi Baez, the teenage sister of Joan Baez in the spring of 1962. Hester divorced Fariña soon thereafter, and Fariña married 17-year-old Mimi in April 1963. Thomas Pynchon was the best man. They moved to a small cabin in Carmel, California, where they composed songs with a guitar and Appalachian dulcimer. They debuted their act as “Richard & Mimi Fariña” at the Big Sur Folk Festival in 1964 and signed a contract with Vanguard Records. They recorded their first album, Celebrations For a Grey Day,[1] with the help of Bruce Langhorne, who had previously played for Dylan. Due to his brief life, Fariña’s musical output was limited. The Fariñas released three albums, one was released after his death.

Here’s Carolyn’s description of a young Bob Dylan

“Extremely magnetic, he was different-looking from everyone else,” states Hester. “I grew up around people named Boogerweed and Doak – Bob didn’t look like any of those. He was thin, rather small, very, very pale. He had long fingernails on his right hand to pluck the guitar. He had great power onstage. He was really different. It’s vital for the young to realize the power of their own ability. “Bob started with a pencil and a piece of paper.” Read More at Double-Barrel Beautiful -How Carolyn Hester of Waco rose to the height of the folk revival, gave Bob Dylan his break, and lived to tell the tale

Carolyn Hester is one of those artists whose name I know, but know little else about them. As I was reading her biography at Wikipedia tonight I see that most of her recordings were made in the early to mid-60s and by the late 60s when I started to listening to folk music her career was waning. Carolyn recorded five albums from 1961 to 1965, then as the folk music scene in the village was waning she tried to go into psychedelic folk rock with The Carolyn Hester Coalition in 1969 which really didn’t work. She released two more albums in 1970 and 1973 that did little and she didn’t release another until 1996! Her most recent album was released in 2010 titled We Dream Forever recorded with her daughters Karla and Amy Blume.

Links

Website Wikipedia YouTube - Carolyn Hester-Topic AllMusic Here’s “Dink’s Song” from Carolyn….

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Flashing Back to thoughts of John Hurt, John Sebastian and Fred Neil in the Village!!

So the other day when I was writing about John Sebastian, I mentioned that John played on Fred Neil’s first abum Bleeker & MacDougal. This got me thinking about Fred Neil so here is a repost of a post I did a while back. But first two things the first is on Neil’s album John played harmonica! Secondly, I also mentioned that the Lovin’ Spoonful got their name from Mississippi John Hurt’s song “Coffee Blues” So here it is:

Now back to Fred Neil…….

So tonight’s folk flashback leads us to the intersection of Bleecker & MacDougal streets in New York City where……

At the corner of MacDougal and Bleecker Street, at No. 93, is the former site of the San Remo Cafe, which attracted many bohemians such as James Agee, W. H. Auden, James Baldwin, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Miles Davis, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, Jack Kerouac, Jackson Pollock, William Styron, Dylan Thomas, Gore Vidal, and many others.

Read more

Wow!! The cafe is featured on the cover of the début Fred Neil folk rock album Bleecker & MacDougal. Fred Neil popped into my head because of another verse in that Jerry Jeff Walker’s song “Blue Mood” that I played last night. A line in the verse goes …...”They got Susanna’s money, like the stole Fred Neil’s and mine….”

Bleecker and MacDougal

I imagine that the majority of you reading this may never have heard of Fred Neil, but you may know one of his songs that Harry Neilson covered ” Everybody’s Talkin’” a little background about Fred from his website:

Moody, bluesy, and melodic, Fred Neil was one of the most compelling folk-rockers to emerge from Greenwich Village in the mid-’60s. His albums showcased his extraordinarily low, rich voice on intensely personal and reflective compositions. His influence was subtle but significant; before forming the Lovin’ Spoonful, John Sebastian played harmonica on Neil’s first album, which also featured guitarist Felix Pappalardi, who went on to produce Cream. The Jefferson Airplane featured Neil’s “Other Side of This Life” prominently in their concerts, and dedicated a couple of songs (“Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil” and “House at Pooneil Corner”) to him. On the B-side of “Crying” is Neil’s “Candy Man,” one of Roy Orbison’s bluesiest efforts. Stephen Stills has mentioned Neil as an influence on his guitar playing. Most famously, Harry Nilsson took Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” into the Top Ten as the theme to the movie Midnight Cowboy. Continue Reading

After the release of his last album The Other Side of this Life. Neil lived mostly in obscurity and devoted a large part of his time to The Dolphin Project He lost his battle with skin cancer unexpectedly on July 7. 2001 at his home in Florida. His legacy from Wikipedia:

Neil gained public recognition in 1969, when Nilsson’s recording of “Everybody’s Talkin’” was featured in the film Midnight Cowboy; the song became a hit and won a Grammy Award. He was one of the pioneers of the folk rock and singer-songwriter musical genres,[12][13] his most prominent musical descendants being Tim Buckley,[14] Stephen Stills,[15] David Crosby and Joni Mitchell.[citation needed] His most frequently cited disciples are Karen Dalton, Tim Hardin, Dino Valenti, Vince Martin, Peter Stampfel of the avant-folk ensemble The Holy Modal Rounders, John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful),[15] Gram Parsons,[16] Jerry Jeff Walker, Barry McGuire,[15] and Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane).[15][citation needed] Some of Neil’s early compositions were recorded by Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison. He played guitar on the demo version of Bobby Darin’s 1958 hit “Dream Lover,” and was a demo singer on a late-1950s Elvis Presley movie soundtrack session.[citation needed]

 

In Fred Neil’s Rolling Stone obituary Anthony DeCurtis wrote, “So why is Neil a hero to David Crosby? Because back when Crosby was an aspiring folkie who just arrived in New York, Neil bothered to take an interest in him, just as he did for the young Bob Dylan, who backed Neil on harmonica at the Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village. ‘He taught me that everything was music,’ Crosby says.”[17]

 

In his memoir, Richie Havens recalled Neil and then-partner Vince Martin’s ability to make an entrance through the audience, sans microphones, and get the audience up and clapping by relying only on their harmonious vocals Read Full Biography

Somewhere around the house is a type written t rack list of songs on an old reel to reel tape that I had back in the day…. on that list is one of my favorite Fred Neil songs “Dolphins”

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