Neal Casal’s second studio album, Rain, Wind And Speed—originally released in 1996—has been reissued via the Neal Casal Music Foundation on three limited edition, color vinyl variants of which 333 LPs of each will be pressed: Blue Rain, Peach Wind and Black Speed, along with previously unpublished photos, lyrics and new liner notes by Casal’s longtime champion and former publishing representative Jim Cardillo who details the period in the late singer/songwriter’s life when the album was created.
A sparse, plaintive and largely acoustic album, Rain, Wind And Speed was written and recorded in the months immediately following Casal being dropped from his recording contract with Zoo Records, the label who’d released his debut effort, Fade Away Diamond Time. As Cardillo explains in the reissue’s essay: “At first Neal couldn’t comprehend what this all meant. No European Tour? No video? No single to radio? No tour support? All of the label’s promises withered and died like bitter fruit left on the vine. It was a disorienting sucker punch that left Neal numb and reeling. Five years of hard work, demos, showcases, phone calls, meetings, no-money gigs, all the results of that labor evaporated.”
“We were pretty crushed when word came down that Neal was being dropped, as we’d been working towards Fade Away Diamond Time for years and to find out it was over just three months after it was released was hard to accept. It had started to get some attention and Neal was on tour opening for bands like Little Feat and Gov’t Mule and a fanbase was starting to build for him,” remembers Waldman. “But ultimately it resulted in an artistic success. Neal emerged in just five days with this sweet and warm acoustic collection. It was the first time he recorded complete guitar and vocals takes together in the studio with no overdubs. Neal was really proud of this record.”
“There was a time in the not too distant past that I would’ve never made a record like this one,” said Casal at the time. “You remember, the kind of record where someone sits down, sings and plays a song all the way through, leaves it just like it is, rough spots and all, without fixing a thing. It may not be perfect, but it’s got something.”