THE DOLPHINS by Fred Neil.
Amy takes the credit for the appearance of "The Dolphins" in this year's mix. Beginning a year or so ago, Amy began a total immersion course in all things The Sopranos. She got the first three seasons on DVD for Christmas last year, and on top of that, HBO started showing all the previous seasons on demand. Amy's m.o. is to play the episodes in the background, over and over, while she works, so that eventually she's absorbed the entire episode.
Amy's watching habit carried over into season six. One night I heard "The Dolphins" wafting into the living room, and then a little bit later heard it again. So I went to check it out. The Sopranos people had put the song in "The Ride" episode. And that, in turn, gave me the idea to include it on this mix.
This version is Fred Neil's original. I had actually been more familiar with Tim Buckley's version(s) of this song. But as great as those renditions are, there's something irreducible about the original. Neil's voice—deep, magisterial—rides the descending melody with ease. Cutting against the vocal is an unsettling guitar line (it sounds a little ahead of the beat) that is anchored in shimmery reverb. You can hear that it's supposed to evoke the sea, but it actually succeeds as elegy.We would be remiss in not adding that the mandolin-like solo (actually a bouzouki) was played by Cyrus Faryar, late of the Modern Folk Quartet.
Photo: Far Rockaway, 2002.