Wednesday, 15 July 2009

From Tim Buckley to Fred Neil

Once upon a time, I was watching a repeat of the Old Grey Whistle Test. I'd actually videoed it. Do you remember those days? Anyway, there I was, watching a patchy video recording of a seventies British music show. The scene was lo-fi.

Suddenly, a vision of utter male gorgeousness appeared on my screen, wearing provocatively tight beige trousers, a black shirt, a guitar slung over slim, swaying hips, and big, tousled curls, smouldering and singing plaintively. It was my first sight of Tim Buckley, and he was singing Dolphins. I watched with an open mouth, and then lifted my clunky remote control and pressed rewind. Several times. My vinyl junky of a boyfriend came home an hour or so later to this scene. Of course, he had the record [ Dream Letter - Live In London 1968 ] and so my little love affair with Buckley started.

Press FF many, many years to May 2009, to find me sitting drunkenly at the bar in the Great Jones Café in New York. I'm drinking hurricanes with my friend Jenny and James (a different and current vinyl junky boyfriend). The song Dolphins comes on, and it sounds like Tim Buckley, but it's not. Drunkenly, I made enquiries.

The hippy bar manager, who makes really good strong hurricanes, tells me that it's Fred Neil. 'He wrote it'. 'Eh? Really? I thought it was Tim Buckley's song'. 'No. Fred Neil'. 'Fred Who?' He sensibly decides to write it down for me.

Fast forward a couple of months later. I finally find the scrap of paper on which the hurricane making hippy has written FRED NEIL, in wonky capital letters. I look it up on Spotify. I fall in love with Fred Neil.

{Sorry Tim. There'll always be room in my heart for you, too.}


  1. Nice one Cazza. I got the Fred Neil LP after watching The Sopranos episode where Christopher relapses during an Italian religious parade with Dolphins played (in full, I think).

    When I left the hospital after Edie was born Dolphins was the first song that came on shuffle on my walkman in the car.

  2. Aw! That is amazing! That song has magical powers for sure.

    I don't remember it being played on the Sopranos! I do remember Christopher going on that bender, though. I probably thought it was the Tim Buckley version, they sound so similar. Oh yeah, and I was probably watching it on a tinny laptop. Makes sense.

  3. Oliver James Scott19 August 2009 at 12:26

    Mercifully, Caroline, your story omits the whole 'taping over the Old Grey Whistle test with Match of the Day' incident.

    But yes, 'The Dolphins'. And don't forget Al Wilson's version either.

  4. I'd actually completely forgotten. My memory is terrible.