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Tim Buckley: Album by Album, note for note appreciation

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by lemonade kid, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    Tim Buckley
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    (I can't find that this has bee done before...I hope not, because I'd really like to explore this...again?)

    [​IMG]

     
  2. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    We'll get into the music soon, but first...

    [​IMG]

    Artist Biography by Mark Deming


    One of the great rock vocalists of the 1960s, Tim Buckley drew from folk, psychedelic rock, and progressive jazz to create a considerable body of adventurous work in his brief lifetime. His multi-octave range was capable of not just astonishing power but great emotional expressiveness, swooping from sorrowful tenderness to anguished wailing. His restless quest for new territory was creatively satisfying but worked against him commercially; by the time his fans had hooked into his latest album, he was onto something else entirely, both live and in the studio. However, his eclecticism has also ensured a durable fascination with his work that has engendered a growing posthumous cult for his music, often with listeners who were too young (or not around) to appreciate his music while he was active. His self-titled 1966 debut captured his folk influences beautifully, and 1967's Goodbye and Hello found him embracing psychedelic textures in the wake of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper. With 1969's Blue Afternoon, Buckley added jazz instrumentation to his palette, and 1970's Starsailor is among his most boldly experimental efforts. 1972's Greetings from L.A. was a surprisingly raucous detour into funky R&B, and 1990's Dream Letter: Live in London 1968 was the first of several posthumous live discs that found Buckley following his muse through extended improvisations within his songs.

    Born on February 14, 1947, in Washington, D.C., Tim Buckley spent much of his childhood in Amsterdam, New York, before his family relocated to Southern California in 1956. Buckley was a musical omnivore from an early age; he became fascinated with his parents' jazz albums when he was five years old, and his family later introduced him to blues (Bessie Smith), country (Hank Williams and Johnny Cash), and influential pop vocalists (Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland). While Buckley played football in high school, his love of music eventually took precedence, though a hand injury in one of his last games would make it difficult for him to play barre chords, which would unwittingly inform his guitar style. While in high school, he made friends with poet and musician Larry Beckett, who would become one of his songwriting partners, and Jim Fielder, a bassist who would play in a pair of band with Buckley, a rock group called the Bohemians and a folk combo, the Harlequin 3. Also during high school, Buckley entered into a short-lived marriage with his girlfriend Mary Guibert when she had a pregnancy scare. It turned out she wasn't expecting, but that soon changed, and roughly a month after the couple split following a year together, she would give birth to their son, Jeff Buckley, who said he met his father only once.

    In 1965, Buckley enrolled at Fullerton College, but he dropped out after two weeks to devote himself to writing songs and playing folk clubs in Los Angeles. He gigged often enough to earn a following and some positive press, and in early 1966 he played a show where he was spotted by Jimmy Carl Black of the Mothers of Invention. Impressed, Black told Herb Cohen, the Mothers' manager, about Buckley, and Cohen took Buckley on as a client, getting him his first dates in New York City. Buckley recorded a six-song demo that made its way to Jac Holzman of Elektra Records, who wasted no time signing him to a record deal. Recorded in just three days with Holzman and Paul Rothchild producing and Jack Nitzsche providing string arrangements, 1966's Tim Buckley tempered his folk sensibilities with rock and pop accents. Not entirely happy with the debut, Buckley was given greater creative freedom on 1967's Goodbye and Hello; a growing interest in psychedelia was clearly audible in the songs and performances, as well as more challenging and personal lyrics, and it became his first album to enter the Top 200 albums charts, peaking at 171. In March 1968, Buckley was featured on the final episode of the popular TV series The Monkees, performing "Song of the Siren." That same year, he set out on his first tour outside the United States, performing for audiences in Europe and the United Kingdom.

    Buckley next shifted into one of his most prolific periods, releasing four albums between 1969 and 1970. Happy Sad, issued in July 1969, found him embracing his love of jazz as he stretched out on relatively lengthy pieces; it rose to 81 on the pop/rock album chart, the highest placement of his career. November 1969's Blue Afternoon added vibraphone and acoustic bass to melodies that recalled the folky tone of his early work. Lorca, appearing in May 1970, took a deep dive into experimental music, with challenging, atonal vocals and arrangements that didn't sit well with many of his fans, and November 1970's Starsailor was no more accessible, further puzzling his shrinking audience, though it would go on to become a cult favorite, with Pitchfork naming it one of the 100 Best Albums of the '70s in a 2004 feature. Making things all the more confusing, Lorca was the last album under Buckley's contract with Elektra, while Blue Afternoon, which came out six months earlier, was his first for Straight Records, a label founded by Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa. Between the daunting nature of much of the material and flooding the marketplace with four LPs in 16 months, Buckley's commercial prospects took a nosedive, and he reportedly turned to driving a taxi for a while to make ends meet.


    With his career on the downturn, Buckley began drinking and drugging in excess, and hoping to win a larger audience, he once again revamped his approach. 1972's Greetings from L.A. was produced by Jerry Goldstein (who had worked with WAR and Sly Stone) and was devoted to funk-leaning R&B, with Buckley singing sexually provocative lyrics in an affected manner. While much of his old following had no idea what to make of the album, it did manage to earn him some new followers, and 1973's Sefronia followed a similar template, though his cover of Fred Neil's "Dolphins" and the two-part title track recalled past glories. 1974's Look at the Fool was the weakest album of Buckley's career, a strange mixture of his R&B/funk material and eccentric rock & roll that was seriously short on good songs and found his voice showing serious wear and tear. After the poor reception afforded Look at the Fool, he announced plans to return to the style of his most celebrated work and hit the road for a concert tour. Buckley had taken steps to leave alcohol and drugs behind, but following the final date of a successful tour, he relapsed upon returning to Los Angeles. After a bout of serious drinking, a friend offered Buckley some heroin; he overdosed, and died on June 29, 1975. He was only 28 years old.


    While Tim Buckley was little more than a cult figure through much of his career, his music continued to attract new fans after his passing, and artists such as This Mortal Coil, Rufus Wainwright, and Radiohead have cited Buckley as a key influence. In 1990, Herb Cohen helped arrange the release of Dream Letter: Live in London 1968, a previously unreleased concert recording that received excellent reviews and helped revive interest in Buckley's music. The success of Grace, the 1994 debut album from his son Jeff Buckley, also pointed many listeners back to Tim's recordings, and enough live albums and collections of archival material appeared that they nearly doubled the number of official albums in his catalog, with 2001's The Dream Belongs to Me: Rarities and Unreleased 1968-1973, 2009's Live at the Folklore Center, NYC: March 6, 1967, and 2019's Live at the Electric Theatre Co., Chicago, 1968 as highlights.

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  3. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    1966

    Tim Buckley

    [​IMG]

    Tim Buckley is the self-titled debut album by Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Tim Buckley, released in 1966. Most of the songs on it were co-written by Buckley and Larry Beckett while they were in high school. It was recorded at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, California.

    In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Richie Unterberger feels the album is Buckley's most straightforward and accessible, without the experimental touches that characterised his later work, though with an astounding lyrical and musical sophistication for a 19 year old.[1] -wiki

    All songs by Tim Buckley, except where noted.

    Side One

    1. "I Can't See You" (Larry Beckett, Buckley) – 2:40
    2. "Wings" – 2:30
    3. "Song of the Magician" (Beckett, Buckley) – 3:05
    4. "Strange Street Affair Under Blue" (Beckett, Buckley) – 3:10
    5. "Valentine Melody" (Beckett, Buckley) – 3:40
    6. "Aren't You the Girl?" – 2:01
    Side Two

    1. "Song Slowly Song" (Beckett, Buckley) – 4:13
    2. "It Happens Every Time" – 1:49
    3. "Song for Jainie" – 2:43
    4. "Grief in My Soul" (Beckett, Buckley) – 2:03
    5. "She Is" (Beckett, Buckley) – 3:05
    6. "Understand Your Man" – 3:06
    Personnel
     
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  4. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    track 1) I Can't See You

    As perfect an album debut opener as it gets...just listen and enjoy.

    ...all feelings for me. Stunning. Although the LP is often reviewed as straightforward (for Buckley),
    I hear nascent jazz, rock, prog, psych and folk notes
    like no other that foretell so much promise that we
    would later hear wide eyed and revel in.

    Unlike anything we'd heard in those fragile halcyon days.
    It soars. Your thoughts and feelings about this one...?



    Summer princess, midnight maiden
    When I first saw you I just breathed
    Into your smile my past went fadin'
    Inside your voice, my mind was sheathed
    In lost lagoon, we waited, wadin'
    Along the streets we went paradin'
    Never looking back to where we'd been

    Autumn temptress, sundown angel
    Inside your blood you aren't so young
    I came to you a loving vandal
    And heard your heart and touched your tongue
    Day became a lighted candle
    Sky fell down beneath your sandal
    In your eye I began to spin

    Winter harlot, moontime lover
    I can't speak when I feel this way
    Don't keep your feelings undercover
    Tell me what you want today
    Don't leave me in the air to hover
    Sing it out don't make me suffer
    Don't be ashamed love is no sin

    Springtime woman, sunrise girl
    I am hiding behind the sea
    Trick or treat, the Hallowe'en world
    Hide and seek but you can't catch me
    I won't chase you until you hurl
    Your wing to me, and make me twirl
    You're alive underneath my skin

    Source: LyricFind
    Songwriters: Larry Beckett / Tim Buckley
     
  5. Johnny Thunder

    Johnny Thunder Feeds on Lightning

    I'm trying to tap into the feelings I had when I first placed this on my turntable in 1966 at the age of 13, and I remember finding it terribly exciting: The gorgeous vocals, the unusual tunes and rhythms, jangly folk-rock arrangements, and poetic lyrics of Larry Beckett with which I was particularly taken, as I was a budding young poet myself. The dreamlike nature of many of the songs was particularly appealing to me. Listening now I still get a great deal of pleasure from this one, even if Buckley was not yet a fully mature artist, and I can see how some of the songs, particularly "I Can't See You," anticipate Goodbye and Hello, his first really mature work.
     
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    Thanks for starting the thread, it helped me take an artist off my ever growing list :).
    I reckon Tim is excellent, and I will try to follow along, because although I am very familiar with three or four albums, I haven't had time to dive into the whole collection I bought a couple of years ago.

    I can't see you
    This is a nice opener. It has an acoustic drive, but it also has a certain power, for all it's somewhat folky overtones.
    I almost always enjoy Tim's vocals and here is no exception.
    A solid way to introduce himself to the music world.
     
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  7. CrawdaddySim1

    CrawdaddySim1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    One thing I don't understand about the lyrics--

    He goes through the different seasons, but this couplet appears in the verse about spring:

    Trick or treat, the Hallowe'en world
    Hide and seek but you can't catch me

    Doesn't that belong in the "autumn temptress" section?
     
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  8. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Location:
    Britain, Europe
    I think this opening track is very representative of the Elektra sound of the time - ie, very busy with lots of stuff going on in the mix.

    It took me literally years to hear this album: it was oop in Europe throughout the eighties and I had no idea even what the cover looked like (no internet back then). Finally got it when it was issued on CD in 1992. It’s good stuff and amazing for a nineteen year old, though it’s obviously not a mature work. It contains one outstanding one, though - Song Slowly Sung.
     
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  9. SquaRoots

    SquaRoots The North Star Grassman

    Location:
    Laniakea Superba
    Great thread!
    I just finished reading this book, which I recommend:

    [​IMG]

    Looking forward to all contributions here!
    Cheers, Sq.
     
  10. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    Thanks guys for contributing...on to the next tracks! In a few....
     
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  11. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    track 2) Wings (Buckley)

    All of Tim's albums are approached on an emotional level for me, and as a drummer it is all visceral. If any of you can contribute notes on the composition and and key, etc. time signatures, and technical stuff, go for it.

    It's all emotion for me, throughout Tim's musical journey.

    I absolutely love this track...a lot!

    A fully developed musical realization. 19 years old! Wow! Chills as I share this one...
    It has that classic mature sound that Tim would later realize on Goodbye & Hello and later (Morning Glory, Song to The Siren etc).

    A classic indeed. Quite lovely.



    Although you've spoken many times before
    A sight of birth he leaves you by a door
    And now you know he doesn't understand
    And all you need is the warmth of his hand

    And if he'd smile your loving blood would dance
    One silent kiss leaves you in a trance
    And now you know you cannot live alone
    But you will find your future is unknown

    One day the questions rise, on wings of chance you fly
    And on that day your laughs and tears will die
    And fall as free as seabirds climb the skies
    And you will love when love comes your way

    And when it comes there's nothing more to say
    And now you know he doesn't understand
    And now you know you don't need his hand
    One day the questions die, on wings of chance you fl
    y
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
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  12. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    Yes, I wish this was mine...signed by Tim...

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    Wings
    Without my guitar I can't relate the chords, but we have a nice moderate 4/4 here.
    Interestingly the first thing that struck me here was the vocal. I wonder if a young Chris de Burgh was a fan, because this reminds me of some early Chris de Burgh stuff... not intended as an insult to either artist, I'm a fan of both.
    I really like the string arrangement too.
    I know a lot of folks find these early albums to be over produced or whatever, but that isn't really how I listen to stuff. To me this sounds just as it should, and I think the arrangement is well thought out, and backs the emotive vocal well.
    This is one of the albums I am less familiar with, but so far it is really a worthwhile closer look. Very much enjoying this.
     
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  15. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    Thanks I agree about the lovely and thoughtful production...it was about how to raise even higher the emotional effect, not cover it up a thin instrumentation as some producers found necessary for weaker albums and songs...
    and the strings raise a great song even higher on Wings of strings... quite nice here.

    I remember an interview with Dan Fogelberg in the early 80's where he related for us how his previous album was sometimes panned for being overproduced. So he said, " you want overproduced?" Hell be damned he said to those doubters, "listen to my new one!" It was Nether Lands one of his loveliest for sure, with more strings than a friggin' Beethoven symphony!
     
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  16. Johnny Thunder

    Johnny Thunder Feeds on Lightning

    I contacted Larry Beckett and he kindly agreed to answer questions that forum members have regarding his lyrics, so if you have any as we proceed, please post them, and I will forward them and post his answers here.

    I forwarded your question to Larry Beckett who sent me the following reply:

    As for I Can't See You, "Trick or treat" and "Halloween world" are metaphors, not references to the October holiday. Dividing time into four seasons with one verse per season was too obvious anyway.
     
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  17. Dandelion1967

    Dandelion1967 My Favourite Parks Are Car Parks

    Wings

    It is a pretty standard 60s ballad. The string arrangements are very corny, as are the lyrics, but once again Buckley's hoarse but soothing vocals save the track. His performance here is very sweet and uplifting, reminds me a lot of Morning Glory.
     
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  18. Dandelion1967

    Dandelion1967 My Favourite Parks Are Car Parks

    I Can't See You is a very good 60s pop song. The main that sets it apart is Buckley's vocals, which are far from his most imaginative performances, but Buckley was one of those artists that just couldn't help but be creative.
    He isn't doing anything amazing here, but just the timbre of his voice is so bizarre, particularity when compared to other artists of the time. Lee Underwood simple but really effective. He does a great job of creating tension in his chords and strum patterns.
     
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  19. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    Underwood is a highly unrecognized guitarist, at least by those who don't know Buckley's works. He adds so much color and little surprises to every song.
    A joy to hear the way he compliments Tim's vocals...in much the same way Nick Drake complimented himself on guitar, weaving in an out, on top and underneath the vocal melodies.
     
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  20. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    track 3) Song Of The Magician

    A magical song that has an ethereal vibe that foretells a more mature Buckley to come on Goodby & Hello.
    More sweet notes from Underwood.

    If lyrics are sometimes a bit immature here, remember that both Buckley
    and Becket were just kids
    (but then a lot of music from many debut artists are kinda like that-
    -they're just romantic kids like we all were once upon a time).

    ...Buckley's voice and music were already there--sophisticated... and what a voice. Tim amazes every time.




    When I sing I can't bring everything on the wing
    Flying down from dizzy air
    To the ground because I care
    You will be love and your love will live

    When I smile I beguile all the while every mile
    As I walk across the sky
    Of the clockwork of your eye
    You will be love and your love will live

    Casting spells from the well I can tell you the bells
    Listen to my magic voice
    Learn the tune of children's toys
    You will be love and your love will live

    When I die do not cry hear my sigh passing by
    After I have turned to win
    I will try to help you then
    You will be love and your love will live

    Source: LyricFind
    Songwriters: Larry Beckett / Tim Buckley
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
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  21. Dandelion1967

    Dandelion1967 My Favourite Parks Are Car Parks

    Song of the Magician is a terrific song for the most part. A very slow ethereal ballad.
    Underwood's performance is very subdued and creates a very mysterious tone. The percussion and string arraignments only add to this atmosphere. The guitars loom over this atmosphere as Buckley directs it.
     
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  22. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    To my ear, it also emotes an early psychedelic (for 1966) feel to it...love it.
    Quite lovely. Underwood's guitar has an almost harpsichord feel to it--a ubiquitous psych era instrument of choice.
     
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  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    Song of the Magician
    A nice tremolo guitar and piano give this a sort of dreamy, slow dancing feel to it.
    This is a three or six beat (depending on how you want to count it) and that's what gives it that nice dance-like feel.
    I have just noticed that I often pay no attention to the lyrics, but I listen more to the tone and delivery of the vocal.
    I really like the way Tim delivers his vocals, and here the rolling phrases, also add to that dance-like quality.
    Nice track
     
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  24. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    Thanks for the fine analysis of the tempo and tone...spot on.

    :tiphat:
     
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  25. gazatthebop

    gazatthebop Forum Resident

    Location:
    manchester
    There was a vinyl issue in Australia around 1980. I got a copy in a uk shop import section
     
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