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November 22, 1969 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-11-22

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Sunday, November 73, 1969

PageTwo THE MICHIGAN DAILY Sunday, November 23, 1969

records

SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Everybody 's talkin

about Fred Neil ... (who?)

By BERT STRATTON
Everybody's Talkin' the mu-
sical theme from Midnight Cow-
boy, is like one of those catchy
Madison Avenue jingles -- it's
almost impossible to get it off
your mind. However, the fact is
that not many people really
want to get Everybodys Talkin'
off their mind. Just look at the
overwhelming popularity of the
recording done by the s i n g e r
Nilsson.
One of the possible explana-
tions for the considerable suc-
cess might be that it is a great
song. I think so. At least the
Nilsson recording of the song
was good enough reason for me
to switch the radio back to
CKLW with its rare but oc-
casional spontaneity. Every-
body's Talkin' is that kind of
song, the kind that makes all
those contact glass-lenses a n d
computer-programmer commer-
cials seem bearable.
If the Nilsson recording af-
fected you similarly then there's
an excellent chance that you'd
also be interested in a man
named Fred Neil, because he's
the person who wrote Every-
body's Talkin' and furthermore
he's the man who sings it best.
I refer specifically to his re-
cording of it which is on his
second and latest album Every-
body's Talkin'/Fred Neil (Cap-
itol ST-294).
Before going any further, it
would be a good idea to ex-
plain why you haven't h e a r d
more about Fred Neil. There's a
couple reasons for that, one of
which is that in the past ten
years he has only off and on
played folk clubs in New York
City, and secondly Neil, who is
not particularly interested in
fame or fortune, spends most of
his time digging his gulf-side
home in Florida.
But if you are lucky enough to
have heard of him before, then

you're in good company, b e -
cause so have Bob Dylan, T i m
Hardin, and the Buffalo Spring-
field (plus some other musicians
who haven't yet gotten around
to acknowledging Neil's influ-
ence.)
As I've said, Nilsson's record-
ing of Everybody's Talkin' is en-
joyable, but Neil's is better -
it's compelling, not in the way
that a clever melodic jingle is,
but as poetry is. It is a pre-
cise balance of rhythms a n d
prose which when experienced
by the listener registers a re-
sponse of not just "music", but
also as "meaning."
It all has to do with the fact
that after I listened to Nilsson's
version on the radio for about
a month, I was liking it and
humming it, but it was hitting
me in about the same manner
that other good melodies li k e
the Get Somebody with Clairol
or the Winston Tastes Good
tunes affect me. When listening
to Neil sing Everybody's Talkin',
the "everybody's talkin' at me,"
the frustration, the "going
where the sun keeps shining",
the search, and the "I won't let
you leave .my love behind", the
alienation, they all seemed to
jump from out of the song. I
just couldn't avoid it's impact-
in both levels, as a "music" and
as a "meaning".
Why Neil can do this h a s
mostly to do with his v o i c e,
which is so credible. Neil is my
father, that's how much I be-
lieve him. Neil's been through
it all and his experiences a r e
marked in his voice. In fact be-
fore I was told that he is only
30 years old, I was under the
impression from listening to his
record that he was around 50.
Also, Neil's word phrasing,
with its many variations make
you want to listen to what he's
saying. I wouldn't be at all sur-
prised if Dylan didn't pick up

a few pointers from Neil in this
field, like when to hold a single
word for two or three seconds
and when to cut another word
in half.
With all his versatility, Fred
Neil extends his poetry f a r
beyond the single hit Every-
body's Talkin'. It's just amaz-
ing how many good songs he can
fit into one record. There's also
some other reasons besides Neil's
brilliance for the songs being
so good. For instance, he uses a-
very competent group of back-
up men of which Al Wilson on
harp and Billy Mundi (of the
Mothers) on drums, tambour-
ine, etc. are most outstanding,
But without Fred's voice t h e
whole conglomeration of gui-
tars, basses, and harps collap-
ses as it does in the only medio-
cre song on the album, which is
unfortunately a seven minute
raga.

Anyhow that's not exactly Neil's
field. He's a bluesman - not
in the formal 12-bar sense of
the word, but with his percep-
tion and his mood, he epitomiz-
es the very nature of the blues.
In the song The Dolphins, he
speaks as effectively as he does
in Everybody's Talkin'. In it
however, he is not going "where
the sun keeps shining" but is
going "searching for the dol-
phins in the sea." In That's the
Bag I'm In (also done by Richie
Havens) his blues are succinctly
expressed by the opening:
I burned my fingers on the
coffee pot
Toast was cold and the
orange juice was hot.
That's pretty hard to beat for
when it comes down to pinpoint-
ing what the blues is about.
'Fred Neil is pretty hard to beat
too.

5 GREAT PLAYS!
2 Performances Each
,AUTRMIP-
BEST PLAY
--e
s s,

TU5SJ1i. IO. I2425
AIITLUn

Nl 'OUP
"t Ci$UfUL SrT ofVL rOw
I~a ,U~A .. AS moollmI
I~~~ "CoOAY

,

DAILY OFFICIAL
BULLETIN
The Daily Official Bulletin is an
official publication of The Univer-
sity of Michigan. Notices should be
sent in TYPEWRITTEN form to
3528 LSA before 2 p.m. of the day
preceding publication and by 2
p.m. Friday for Saturday and Sun-
day. Items may appear only once.
Student organization notices a r e
not accepted for publication. For
information, phone 764-9270.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23
Day Calendar
Degree Recital: Pamela Swartz, cello:
School of Music Recital Hall, 4:30 p.m.
International Center Film Series:
Hunger inAmerica: International Cen-
ter, 7:30 p.m.
Degree Recital: Harry Dyer, trombone:
School of Music Recital Hall, 8:00 .m.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24
Center for South and Southeast
Asian Studies and Museum of Anthro-
pology - Chester F. Gorman, Dept.rof
(Continued on Page 3)

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