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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. clip

    clip Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Australia
    I know I wasn’t going to comment on Blue afternoon, but having listened to it twice through tonight, and some tracks 4 times, I’m blown away. This album is just awesome, much is different, but also so familiar.

    Not surprisingly I guess, The Train is my favourite track (in the same vein as Gypsy Woman - I love it when Tim really cuts loose with his vocals) and Lee’s guitar work, along with Tim’s on this track is fascinating and intriguing, but it also seems to sit outside the rest of the album.
    Chase the Blues Away another great track, but The River is the standout for me after The Train. The River really speaks to me. Love the arrangement with the drums etc. and has Tim picked up a different guitar?

    My thanks again to Lemonade kid and all for getting me into more of Tim’s works.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020 at 8:24 AM
  2. clip

    clip Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Still listening to The Train, 7th play and counting, this is such an awesome track.
     
  3. mameyama

    mameyama Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Wiltshire, UK
    Great to hear you were inspired to listen and enjoy. The Train was also one that really grabbed me on the first listens, but, as you say, its other tracks like The River that slowly creep up on us and may ultimately come to haunt our subconscious at a deeper level.
     
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  4. MC Rag

    MC Rag Forum Resident

    Blue Afternoon is my favourite of all Tim Buckley's albums notwithstanding the live archival releases. I'll let you know what my 2nd favourite is once we get to it. :)
     
  5. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    We hope not! We've gotten a fair number of Buckley rarities of late...maybe sooner than later?! An RSD release would be nice.
     
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  6. Roger Thornhill

    Roger Thornhill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ilford, Essex, UK
    I picked up Blue Afternoon and Starsailor 40 years ago this year like this:

    In London at the time there was a sci-fi/alternative bookshop called Dark They Were And Golden Eyed down a little alley between Dean Street and Wardour Street - a shop I approached always from the same direction. But on this occasion I missed my turning and came at it the other way...and spotted a small record shop on the other side of DTW&GE which I'd never seen before. And in the window they had Blue Afternoon & Strarsailor which I'd never set eyes on before and were ultra-rare at that time. Not only that, they were original Straight LPs.

    I didn't have enough money at the time but persuaded the owner to save them for me until Monday. I then borrowed some money from a mate, skipped my class that I was supposed to be attending, went back up to London and bought both. Blue Afternoon had a pressing error which meant it was pretty much unplayable on one side, so had to wait for the CD issue on Rhino in the late 80s.
     
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  7. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    Lorca 1970

    Unique (what Buckley isn't?!) in the rock canon.

    Lorca may have alienated many previous Buckley fans, but Tim was not one to sit still or rest on his laurels.

    We'll explore a couple write ups and then move on to the music...

    [​IMG]

    Here is a brilliant article online from Mack Macve...no intention of infringing but hopefully sharing this is just
    a another great way to increase our love for Tim.

    The source for the article below:
    http://www.mmacve.mistral.co.uk/lorca.html


    [​IMG]

    Lorca by Tim Buckley

    The bull does not know you, nor the fig tree,
    nor the horses, nor the ants in your own house.
    The child and the afternoon do not know you
    because you have died forever.
    The autumn will come with small white snails,
    misty grapes and with clustered hills,
    but no one will look into your eyes
    because you have died forever.
    Because you have died for ever,
    like all the dead of the earth, like all the dead who are forgotten
    in a heap of lifeless dogs.
    Nobody knows you. No. But I sing of you.
    For posterity I sing of your profile and grace.
    Of the signal maturity of your understanding.
    Of your appetite for death and the taste of its mouth.
    Of the sadness of your once valiant gaiety.
    It will be a long time, if ever, before there is born
    an Andalusian so true, so rich in adventure.
    I sing of his elegance with words that groan,
    and I remember a sad breeze through the olive trees.

    --Extract from "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias" by Federico Garcia Lorca

    Tim Buckley's fifth album is called "Lorca". It was released in October 1970 (I think) during a manic eleven month period which also saw the release of "Blue Afternoon" (February 1970) and "Starsailor" (January 1971). The two sides of the album displayed a contrast of styles. Side two consisted of three songs "I Had A Talk With My Woman", "Driftin'" and "Nobody Walkin'" which were in the style of his previous two albums ("Happy/Sad" and "Blue Afternoon"). Side one consisted of just two songs, "Lorca" and "Anonymous Proposition" and these were different! There was a real change of direction for Tim musically with these songs which eschewed the tranquillity and beauty of much of his previous work. There was much less form to these songs and much more improvisation. However, it is a fallacy to suggest that "Happy/Sad" and "Blue Afternoon" gave no indication of what was to come. Each of these seminally beautiful albums contained one track that provided a showcase for Tim to explore musical styles as well as the range of his voice; "Gypsy Woman" and "The Train" sit slightly uncomfortably on these albums and signpost his progression onto the musical adventures of "Lorca" and his masterpiece, "Starsailor".

    Lee Underwood wrote about the development of Tim's musical styles:

    "Having done his 'folk' thing, his 'rock' thing, and his 'jazz' thing, he now wanted to delve into vocal areas that were virtually uncharted. 'An artist has a responsibility to know what has gone down and what is going down in his field,' he said, 'not to copy , but to learn and be aware. Only that way can he strengthen his own perception and ability.'

    We visited a record store and selected albums by Luciano Berio, Xenakis, John Cage, Ilhan Mimaroglu, Stockhausen, Subotnick, etc. I researched them. The next day I said, 'You've got to hear this singer, Cathy Berberian. She sings two Berio pieces--Thema (Omaggio A Joyce) and Visage. She cluck, gurgles, sighs, yowls, sputters, screams, cries, weeps, wails--you don't know it yet, but in her you've got the musical friend you've been looking for.' He didn't care very much for the electronic music itself - 'just doesn't touch my heart, I guess' - but he loved Berberian. After hearing her sing, he no longer doubted himself. He regarded the title cut of Lorca, recorded in 1969, to be his debut as an identity, as a unique singer, as an original force."

    Tim describes his musical departure in an interview in April 1975.

    "When I went in to do Lorca, I decided right then it was time to break open something new because the voice with 51/2 octaves was certainly capable of coming up with something new. We were getting real tired of writing songs that adhered to the verse, verse, chorus things. It wasn't an intellectual exercise though; as a matter of fact, it was a thing that finally Miles did with In A Silent Way. It happened with the Fender Rhodes electric piano and using one bass line which kept the idea of key in mind. In Silent Way, Miles had a melody line that he played on a trumpet and I had a lyric and a melody that went through 'Lorca.'"

    "Lorca" was the last album that Tim released on Elektra, the company owned by Jac Holzman who had signed him in 1966. In 1969 Holzman was on the point of selling Elektra which upset Tim. He decided to change labels to Straight, a Warners-distributed label formed by Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa. This decision left him with separate demands from the two record labels. He still owed Jac Holzman at Elektra an album and Herb Cohen at Straight wanted Tim to record some accessible music. The result was that he recorded "Blue Afternoon" and "Lorca" in the same month, giving "Blue Afternoon" to Straight who released it in February 1970. "Lorca" was released eight months later on the Elektra Standard label. Elektra Standard was a new term that Polydor (who distributed for Elektra) had introduced and was a budget line reserved for albums that they deemed to be of a minority interest.

    There is conflicting information about the release dates of "Blue Afternoon" and "Lorca". Some sources (Tim Buckley : The High Flyer By Martin Aston MOJO Magazine and Goodbye & Hello by Scott Isler Musician Magazine) state that the albums were released within a month of each other. Scott Isler states that "Lorca" was released in February 1970. The Music Master Price Guide states that "Blue Afternoon" was released in 1969. More convincingly the date on my record label of "Blue Afternoon" is 1969. The dates I have used are from The Tim Buckley Archives.

    The album starts with the title track "Lorca". Tim describes the song "It happened with the Fender Rhodes electric piano and using one bass line which kept the idea of key in mind. In
    Silent Way, Miles had a melody line that he played on a trumpet and I had a lyric and a melody that went through "Lorca." To this day, you can't put it on at a party without stopping things; it doesn't fit it." A quiet beginning with some doodles from Lee Underwood on the electric piano before the main bass line is introduced. This is played throughout the song and is compelling and urgent. After some vocal warming up, Tim sings "Let the sun sing in your smile/Let the wind hold your desire/Let your woman's voice run through your veins/Let her be your blood don't feel ashamed." The electric piano is prominent throughout and there are no drums. Every word is sung with great intensity drawing every emotion from every syllable. The sound is most peculiar and unlike anything I've ever heard. Is this rock? No, there are no drums. Is this folk? No, the electric piano is too prominent. Is it jazz? Possibly. Is it brilliant? Absolutely. "If love flows your way then be a river/And when it dries just stand and shiver." The last word is sung low and then rises maniacally. The musical setting is odd but if you love Tim Buckley's voice, if you have ever had your emotions touched by his intonation, this track is perfect. The end of the song features more stunning free form vocal. Tim regarded the title track as "my identity as a unique singer, as an original voice." Lee Underwood wrote "He held notes longer and stronger than anyone else in pop had ever done: he explored a wide, comparatively bizarre range of vocal sounds, which in pop contexts were revolutionary: having composed Lorca in 5/4, he began his odyssey into odd-time signatures, which at that time and in that context was unheard of."

    I've written down the words to this fantastic song, as I have heard them. Please let me know if you disagree.

    The second track is "Anonymous Propositions". John Balkin's bass is particularly original. "We never had any music to read from," he remembers. "We just noodled through and went for it, just finding the right note or coming off a note and making it right." The opening lines "Love me as if some day you'd hate me" has haunted me for nearly thirty years; what exactly does this mean? Lee Underwood loves this track. "The real advance comes in "Anonymous Proposition," the song that comes after "Lorca." It deals with a ballad in a totally personal, physical presentation, to cut away the nonsense, the superficial stuff. It has to be done slowly; it has to be a movement. It has to hold you there and make you aware that someone is telling you something about himself in the dark. That's what music is all about on record. It is very personal; there's no other way to deal with it. There are certain things that great singers have to deal with; it's their duty to." Lee Underwood's playing is brilliant throughout the whole of Tim Buckley's recorded career because he is able to express such brilliant emotion. Reading this, I realise that Lee Underwood is also able to put his finger on exactly why I love Tim Buckley's music. Read it again: " It has to hold you there and make you aware that someone is telling you something about himself in the dark. That's what music is all about on record. It is very personal; there's no other way to deal with it." Yes yes yes. This track is very free form. There is no melody or riff or hook to latch onto. It's just Tim Buckley singing a very personal song wrenching emotion from the listener by outstanding use of one of the most original voices in music. Who could ask for more?

    I've also tried to write down the words to this song.

    Buckley's friend Daniella Sapriel went over to his house to hear Lorca the day he received the advance tapes. "He was really excited," she says. "It was a big step for him. He really liked it and he really felt he had pushed through something from the last album to Lorca. It was great, but it was also clear that this wasn't what the public was going to find if they were looking for a three-minute hit single for radio!"

    Side two starts with "I Had A Talk With My Woman". This is a lovely song. Beautiful guitar, understated congas and a lovely melody. This would not be at all out of place on "Blue Afternoon," not dissimilar from "Chase the Blues Away" or "The River".

    The second track on side two, "Driftin'," is perfect. It is very laid back with Tim in a particularly reflective mood: "When there's wine in your belly/Love rhythms on your tongue/ For you are a woman/And each man has been too young/But for me you were a lover/Gently under your cover/Your sheet reeks of others." Then a loud guitar chord and a change of emphasis "Oh I came here to hold and be held for a while" and a most beautiful guitar line starts. This song is so slow and as usual the sound of Tim's voice is so evocative. "All I want to be is what you mean to me." Then comes one of those great moments, the bit you always look forward to hearing every time you hear the song. He repeats the line but draws out the first word so that it takes thirteen seconds just to sing the word "All." Yes, I know this doesn't look very interesting, just play it and hear it for yourself. Listen to this bit and listen to the guitar solo that lee Underwood plays. A guitar solo of beauty which reflects and amplifies Tim's voice. More moans - Tim and Lee bouncing ideas off each other - then "Late last night as I dreamed in dizzy sunlight" and listen to that note that keeps playing. This is a rare example of two magnificent performers making music together, each being aware of their contribution to the sound and neither one dominating - just bouncing low key reflective ideas off each other. How can words describe such beauty?

    Here's what I hear when I listen to the words. Please let me know what you think.

    The last track on the album is "Nobody Walkin'" which is fantastic because it features Tim Buckley's voice but apart from some interesting electric piano from Lee Underwood is probably the least exciting thing here. It is faster in tempo than the rest of the album, the vocals are, of course, brilliant but the musical setting is, how can I put this, a little more ordinary than the rest of the album. It's still better than 99% of all the other tracks you own though, so check it out.

    Jac Holzman said "he was making music for himself at that point...which is fine, except for the problem of finding enough people to listen to it."

    Tim responded with "An artist has a responsibility to know what's gone down and what's going on in his field, not to copy but to be aware. Only that way can he strengthen his own perception and ability."

    .................................................

    PS. I've nicked loads of things in this piece, most of them from The Tim Buckley Archives. If anyone spots any mistakes please let me know. The lyrics are from my own hearing, so let me know if there's anything wrong. Does anyone have any more information about the release dates of "Blue Afternoon", "Lorca" and "Starsailor"?



    When I originally wrote this in June 1999 I quoted all the references I'd nicked things from. However, most of them have now moved. There are two essential sites:

    The Tim Buckley Archives

    There is a now a timbuckley.com as well!

    This has an excellent links page

    "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias" by Federico Garcia Lorca

    translation from http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9685/home.htm





     
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  8. Hootsmon

    Hootsmon Forum Resident

    Location:
    clackmannanshire
    Good man
     
  9. I remember that shop - back when London was teeming with record and bookshops.
     
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  10. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    [​IMG]


    Lorca is a 1970 album by singer-songwriter Tim Buckley, his fifth since his debut in 1966. It was named after Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca,[2] and was recorded simultaneously with Blue Afternoon, though notably different in style. It was one of Buckley's two avant-garde albums, and explored some sounds and ideas he had not previously used. Also importantly, it was an attempt to break away from more traditional and prevalent pop music songwriting styles, such as the verse/chorus binary form, that Buckley had explored in the earlier parts of his career.[3]

    Lorca is a move away from traditional pop music forms towards a free-form mix of jazz, avant-garde and folk.[3] Musically, Buckley uses the lack of a constant rhythm section to drive the songs forward with his voice. Many songs make use of a chromatic scale which makes them stand in stark contrast to Buckley's earlier melodic works. The lyrics of Lorca also represent a departure from his previous traditional pop-music writing, instead Buckley uses a more abstract descriptive style, avoiding direct narratives and standard song themes. This is a reflection of the poetry, such as the works of poet Federico García Lorca, that Buckley and guitarist Lee Underwood were reading at the time.[4] The album's opener and title track is a much less guitar-based song, something in contrast to Buckley's previous works, and this would be a theme Buckley would explore further in his later avant-garde works.

    According to Larry Beckett, his songwriting partner from Tim Buckley and Goodbye and Hello, he was purposely trying to alienate fans at this point. Buckley described it as an album that, "To this day, you can't put...on at a party without stopping things; it doesn't fit in."[citation needed]

    Buckley describes the second track as a "real advance," and that "It deals with a ballad in a totally personal, physical presentation... It has to be done slowly; it has to take five or six minutes; it has to be a movement. It has to hold you there and make you aware that someone is telling you something about himself in the dark."[3]

    The album was written during a very prolific time for Buckley as he recorded and released four albums within a space of less than two years. Two of the albums, Blue Afternoon and Lorca were recorded in the space of a single month.[3] Buckley completed these albums around the same time as an obligation to Warner Bros. Records, and also separately, Elektra Records owner Jac Holzman. Holzman, responsible for signing the artist, was in the process of selling the company and Buckley wanted to fulfill his contract in the time before Holzman's departure. --Wiki

    Track listing
    All tracks written by Tim Buckley.

    Side One

    1. "Lorca" – 9:53
    2. "Anonymous Proposition" – 7:43
    Side Two

    1. "I Had a Talk With My Woman" – 6:01
    2. "Driftin'" – 8:12
    3. "Nobody Walkin'" – 7:35
    Personnel
     
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  11. Roger Thornhill

    Roger Thornhill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ilford, Essex, UK
    Just listening to Blue Afternoon now for the first time in ages.

    Incidentally, I'm also a big fan of jazz saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter and remember the point when I realised that the Dave Friedman" playing on Shorter's album ODyssey of Iska from 1970 was the same guy that played vibes on Happy Sad and Blue Afternoon!

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    So yes...let's begin:

    track 1) Lorca

    I'll admit in my "youth" I really had little interest in this album overall. As I've moved further and further into jazz and blues, this has grown and grown on me. In the old daze I was into
    Goodbye & Hello, Happy Sad and Blue Afternoon...psych folk rock, and subtle shades of jazz.

    Times change...my ears have grown. The dissonant opening chords are chilling as is Tim's vocal work...chilling in a wicked GOOD way.

    Maybe it's the times, but I absolutely love this stunning, dissonantly lovey, art rock, free form jazz opening track!
    Genius stuff, Tim!



    Let the sun sing in your smile
    Let the wind hold your desire
    Let your womans voice run through your veins
    Let her be your blood don't feel ashamed

    She's your home when no one wants you
    She'll give you life when you're so tired
    She'll ease your fears ah when you're a stranger
    She's born to give faith to you
    Oh, just to you

    You're just a man on death's highways
    It's life you owe you're here to praise it
    If love flows your way then be a river
    And when it dries just stand there and shiver

    Oh, let the sun sing in your smile
    Let the wind hold your desire
    And let your womans voice run through your veins
    Let her be your blood don't feel ashamed
    It's her life you owe
    I owe you love
     
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  13. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    I'll pause a couple days between this and the next track. I really want to get your all feelings about this one.

    :tiphat:

    In the meantime, here is an alternate listen to Lorca, live at the Troubadour. 1969.
    Tim never sits still...this is so different from the album track...the mark of a true jazz man. (I don't have dates to know if this was recorded before the album track, both from 1969...anyone?)

    This is a more accessible version for beginners. Lorca.

    Lee is on fire...he is quoted as saying he was never comfortable in the
    studio and felt he always played his best guitar licks...live. Stunning work.



    So what lyrics has he melded into this live Lorca? I am not familiar enough to call out where these came from, or is Tim improvising?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020 at 11:43 AM
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  14. Fuller

    Fuller Forum Resident

    I listened to Lorca all the way through only yesterday. First time for years. Side One a bit hard going, but Side Two more to my taste. Love the guitar at the end of Driftin'.
     
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  15. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing Thread Starter

    Location:
    MidCoast...Maine
    True that side one is a gotta-be-in-the-mood listen and can be a hit or miss thing depending on how one is feeling on any given day.
    Today it was all go. Loved it.

    Side two is definitely more accessible and a mellower groove.
     
  16. MC Rag

    MC Rag Forum Resident

    I do like my "out there" music but can't get into the album version of Lorca. I prefer this live version by far. Thanks, I hadn't heard it before.
     
  17. RockRoom

    RockRoom I Love My Dog

    Location:
    Upstate
  18. Roger Thornhill

    Roger Thornhill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ilford, Essex, UK
    His two nights at the Troubadour which gave us the original Live at the Troubadour album and the recent-ish Venice Mating Call and Greetings From West Hollywood were on 3rd and 4th September 1969.

    The studio dates were 18th, 19th, and 26th September.

    Incidentally, both Driftin' and most of Nobody Walkin' from Lorca come from the live Troubadour dates (per Lee Underwood's book)
     
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  19. mameyama

    mameyama Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Wiltshire, UK
    Lorca- the album
    Thanks for slowing it up. There are only 5 tracks on Lorca so wouldn't want to get through them too quick.

    Lorca-album track
    This is in 5/4, though I'm not sure I would recognise that unless I were told. I hadn't seen the lyrics written down before, so was surprised at how short they were. Always felt much longer. Hugely ground-breaking track, but also for me hugely enjoyable both vocally and instrumentally. One of his most important creations I think.

    Lorca- live
    I was so excited to hear this when it came out of the blue in 2017. But really it feels like a completely different song. The first couple of lyric lines bear some resemblance, but after that there's none- and the live lyric is around 3 times longer. He has stolen a few of these lyrics from "The Earth is Broken" (on Dream Letter). But then he was often stealing lyrics from himself and others when playing live- I guess when he was improvising he would snatch lyrics from wherever he could find them.

    And instrumentally, completely different. Perhaps the main thing the 2 versions have in common is the 5/ 4. And what is the percussive instrument that starts strongly then continues all the way through? Sounds a bit like a marimba, or is it Carter on his congas? Someone please tell me.

    As for dates, I have the live version on the 3rd or 4th September 1969 and the studio version on the 18th or 19th, so only about 2 weeks apart.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020 at 2:33 PM
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  20. Roger Thornhill

    Roger Thornhill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ilford, Essex, UK
    Well, I asked a few drummers/percussionists/vibes players that I know on Facebook...and the first response was that it's a Marimbula.

     
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  21. clip

    clip Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Australia
    To be honest, I’d forgotten that I’d heard Lorca before. Incredible how music brings back memory and as soon as I heard Lorca just now, it reminded me of the time I’d heard it. It was over one long night at a friend of a friend’s place many, many years ago. Listening to it now recalls the time and place and substance induced mood that we were all in. I was well into Greetings from LA at the time and this guy, who I didn’t know, had just recently bought Lorca. For some reason though, that was the first and last time I heard Lorca, until now. I can’t remember any of the other tracks, so be interesting to hear each one as they come up.

    Listening to both the studio and live version, I think I prefer the Live one. But they’re so different, so it might depend on the time, place and mood.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020 at 5:50 PM
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  22. mameyama

    mameyama Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Wiltshire, UK
    Thanks so much for answering that. I always loved the sound it added to the live version so wondered what it was. There is no mention of a marimbula in the liner notes or credits, but it must be that, played by Carter CC Collins I presume. Cheers.
     
  23. Art Tripp also played at the Troubadour, but isn’t credited on Lorca, possibly for contractual reasons.

    Incidentally, I Had a Talk with my Woman on Lorca is also from Troubadour, though without Tim’s whistling coda. Driftin’ on Lorca is from the Troubadour but the ending is different to the Live at the Troubadour 1969 version.

    Nobody Walkin’ could be studio - it doesn’t have the live ambience to me.
     
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  24. gazatthebop

    gazatthebop Forum Resident

    Location:
    manchester
    did that shop have a mural of dead rock stars on the outside walls?
     
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  25. mameyama

    mameyama Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Wiltshire, UK
    Those 2 live tracks on Lorca are a bit of an oddity.
    As well as removing the audience noise, Art Tripp's drums were removed from the mix because Tim wanted the whole album drum free.

    I Had a Talk with my Woman
    The Lorca mix runs slightly slower than the Live at the Troubadour mix. And its a real shame the long whistling outro was lost- I love that.

    Driftin'
    The Lorca mix runs noticeably slower than the Live at the Troubadour mix- around 2% slower, and the last minute and a half are different. How did they do that?
    Driftin' on Venice Mating Call is just another mix of the same live track.

    To my ears, the edited, slowed-down mixes on Lorca have a fuzzier, more muted, more narcotic feel. I actually prefer the slightly brighter mixes on Troubadour, perhaps because I heard them first. And I like the even brighter sounding Driftin' on VMC best of the 3 mixes.
     
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