Song:The Water Is Wide
Album:Echoes Of My Mind: The Best Of Fred Neil 1963-1971
Fred Neil was a big part of the 60s Greenwich Village folk music scene. But he never had the commercial success of some of his contemporaries. His claim to fame was writing Everybody's Talkin' and then he quit the music business in the 70s to become an environmentalist. He was born Mar. 16, 1936 in Cleveland and he grew up in St. Petersburg, FL. His father sold Wurlitzer juke boxes and this led Neil to the Brill Building in New York where all the songwriters hung out. He recorded a few singles and wrote songs for others. Then he started to hang around the Greenwich Village folk music scene and formed a partnership with Vince Martin of The Tarriers. They recorded the 1965 album Tear Down The Walls for Elektra Records. Neil also helped many young folksingers who came to New York including Bob Dylan and David Crosby. The Water Is Wide is from Neil's second album Bleecker & MacDougal. It's an old Scottish folk song also known as O Waly Waly and it has been recorded by many folksingers. John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful and Felix Pappalardi of Cream played on this album. Neil moved to Capitol in 1966 and he recorded Everybody's Talkin' on his 1966 album Fred Neil. In 1969, Harry Nilsson wrote I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City for the film Midnight Cowboy. He recorded Everybody's Talkin' on his 1967 album Aerial Ballet. Director John Schlesinger preferred that to Nilsson's original song and the rest is history. Obviously Neil made a lot of money with that song. So he moved back to Florida in the early 70s and founded the environmental organization The Dolphin Project. His final album was released in 1971. Though Neil performed occasionally and he recorded a couple of never released albums for Columbia in 1977, Neil retired from music to concentrate on The Dolphin Project. He died on July 7, 2001 at age 65. This comp from the British label Raven Records covers Neil's entire recording career. Here's a video for The Water Is Wide by Fred Neil.