Fred Neil

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Delmore Discography

Fred Neil

(1968 Photo by Laurie Pepper)

The fact that we are releasing Fred Neil's "new" album (and first posthumous release of a complete, never before heard performance), 38 MacDougal, on Nov 27 for Record Store Day Black Friday is living proof that dreams can come true. Delmore has been a hardcore fan since way back in the 1990s, and snooping around for unreleased music for about as long.  There's stuff in the Capital vaults still to be mined, but that meant dealing with the man...not our strong suit.  So when Neil biographer Peter Lee Neff laid a bunch of his hard earned audio discoveries on us in 2015, our heads literally exploded.  Among the highlights were Sessions era sessions, live recordings, rarities like the Fred extra's from the Tip & Tinker LP, and assorted odds and compilation ends.  After months of obsessive listening, the material that rose to our fore was an informal, 8 song performance recorded at Fred's longtime friend and accompanist, Peter Childs' Greenwich Village apartment in 1965.  Subtle enough that it didn't jump out on first listen, which is how it often works with our favorite music.  Fred sounds disarmingly relaxed throughout, yet his 12 string guitar playing has the full on, ahead of it's time intensity of live performance.  And Peter Childs' perfect touches on electric, dobro, and 1913 Martin continue to reveal new nuances to this day.  Simpatico versons of Fred Neil classics throughout, as well as 2 previously unheard traditional numbers; one of which, "Blind Man Standin' On The Road And Cryin", is a perfectly harrowing journey to the tapes end.  When we learned the backstory of the recording (which is beautifully detailed in  Neff's 2019 biography That's The Bag I'm In), it brought focus to our feelings and mission.  Like all Delmore projects, this one's been a long time coming.  Limited to 1,000 vinyl copies on clear vinyl for RSD, pressed at Third Man, and housed in a Stoughton, tip-on jacket with insert featuring a remembrance by Fred's son Chris, and a hand numbered, previously unseen photograph by Sid Goode.  Front and back cover photos are also previously unseen, shot by the great unheralded photographer Robert James Campbell.  Special thank you's to Peter Childs and to Fred's son's Tyson, Jason, and Chris for putting up with me and for signing on, to Warner's for the waiver, and to Peter Lee Neff for his patience and trust.

Dedicated to Kai Mort Shuman, photographer of the Bleecker & MacDougal album cover, who passed away recently at the age of 85.   Kai was a friend to this project, and his colorful stories about Fred, Karen, Tim, et.al. were a much needed lift from reality whenever we were lucky enough to catch him at the right time.