Fred Neil - Sessions (1967)

Something happened, yesterday… during a quiet, lovely listening session, mostly devoted to the “new” vinyl discs I recently purchased at a local flea market, after some Bach and assorted harpsichord music by Gustav Leonhard, I felt the need to listen to something different… I mean very different.

I browsed in a discs-box and Fred Neil’s “Sessions” on Capitol (1967) re-surfaced.

I immediately recognized it as an original promo pressing with a “free” punched on a cover corner.

I placed the wax on Garrardzilla platter, put the peripheral-ring and the clamp and hand-lowered the Lumiere DST’s diamond tip on the disc.

The vinyl surface wasn’t perfect – i.e. assorted tiny pops and some wear-noise, but… when Fred’s voice began singing and those acoustic guitars interwoving and the low, nicely recorded double-bass also blossomed, it became apparent the surface noises weren’t disturbing the music and listening experience, at all!

To my surprise, I paid more attention to the phenomenon: it was like the vinyl noises where embedded in the dark studio/listening room background, while the music, so rich of nuances and bits, was simply more important and unaffected and popping out above mentioned pressing/worn out defects.


P.S. – the disc is a true masterpiece: Fred was the model after the late Tim Buckley made himself as Tim Buckley… roaring voice, superb 12 strings strumming… Mr. Tambourine Man himself – aka Bruce Langhorne is also playing his acoustic guitar… very cool idea leaving – thus the Sessions title – some chatting after the takes.

Highly recommended.

Stefano Bertoncello