Taste of Honey
Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology
sung his life in less than ten years.
This is not the whole story but
itll do for starters...
Dave Di Martino
two-CD career retrospective covering Buckleys works from beginning to final
fade. Includes his 1967 performance of Song To The Siren on the Monkees
an overview of a career that began in seemingly humble singer/songwriter tradition,
shot skyward in a surge of near-astonishing artistic ambition, then apparently
fizzled in a half-hearted muddle of compromise, Morning Glory is a remarkably
zigs and zags that make Tim Buckley's recorded legacy a puzzle to the uninitiated
have, perhaps wisely, been smoothed out for this first attempt at a comprehensive
career summation. And one can't fairly argue the point: until those unfamiliar
with his wild artistic leaps get a glimmer of his more restrained ones, they might
not appreciate how very high he soared.
means that the yodeling, multidubbed, metallic-shrieking Tim Buckley who
sang the title track of 1971's Starsailor, his crowning artistic achievement,
is under wraps here, emerging just once, on Monterey, before being reined
in by time and, one assumes, commercial reality.
for those who might be put off Tim Buckley by more than a taste of Starsailor's
far-reaching glory, or the first side of its immediate predecessor Lorca
(also not represented here), that's fine. Let them instead get a taste of the
middle ground of Buckley's journey, the more accessible stopping points in a career
rivaling no other in pop music.
of it is present here: the delicate, extremely palatable sweet stuff of Buckley's
1966 debut, the earnest political point-making of 1967's Goodbye And Hello,
the divine pairing of Happy Sad and Blue Afternoon in many
ways his most timeless, or rather, least-dated work and finally Starsailor
and all that would come after, including 1974's disappointing Look At The Fool,
his final work before dying of a heroin overdose the next year.
enjoyed every Tim Buckley album, from first to last, hearing his work in this
abbreviated format is odd. There are subtleties in all of his albums that become
evident only in a full listening to each one, tastes of what would come next from
the album preceding it. You don't hear them here. The charming, often straightforward
style of Buckley's debut album gave way to the two distinct paths on Goodbye
And Hello: the intricately structured title track, which hasn't aged well,
and the deliberately mystical Hallucinations, which has.
sense of openness of the latter track lent itself to masterful albums that would
follow: both Happy Sad and Blue Afternoon are deep, jazz-inflected
works boasting superb musicianship (thanks to long-time guitarist Lee Underwood
and the vibes of David Friedman) and noticeable artistic maturity.
are the albums that anyone less driven than Buckley would have based an entire
career upon. Side two of Lorca continued in this vein, but the dense and
intimate pair of songs on the flipside signaled the coming storm of Starsailor.
here I must part company with the picture of Tim Buckley painted by this collection.
Though the shorthand retelling of Buckley's career positions Starsailors
comparatively commercial follow-up Greetings From L.A. as a complete artistic
turn-around, from sensitive song-poet to leering 4/4 rock horndog, one could argue
that the transition was a natural one, as evidenced by Starsailor's closer
Down By The Borderline.
its Buckley-penned lyrics of "Every time a little girl pass me by I can smell
the way she walks", Borderline set the stage for Greetings'
all-out sexual assault. The absence here of both that song and Greetings'
well-known Get On Top, highlighted by Buckley's noting that he "talks
in tongues when he makes love, thus fails to reveal the full extent of the
path the singer was willing to traverse at this point.
absent is Devil Eyes which, with its telling opening lyric (again by Buckley),
"I got so tired of meaningful looks", offers motivational hints any
attempt at a comprehensive career summation should surely include. As a result,
the impact of the album's closer, Make It Right, in which the singer is
prowling for a street comer girl "who's gonna beat me, whip me, spank me/Make
it right again", which is heard here, is considerably lessened.
noting his desire to lick his partner's stretch marks on Devil Eyes, where
was Tim Buckley to go? To the respectable follow-up Sefronia, handicapped
by a surplus of cover songs, and the generally disappointing Look At The Fool,
represented here only by Who Could Deny You.
passing of time has lent some irony to that album, both for its title and the
strangely disappointed look in Buckley's eyes on the cover portrait. Taken alone,
Look At The Fool is a meager showing for an artist as talented as the man
who made it. Taken as the climax of a career that in the quest of art soared too
high too soon, it is that much more moving.
long-time Buckley fans this set offers but one rarity: his previously televised
acoustic rendition of Song To The Siren, prefaced by an introduction from
Monkee Mickey Dolenz. With the score to Hall Bartlett's 1969 film Changes
and his 1970 appearance on the Boboquivari concert television series still
awaiting proper issue, this won't be enough to captivate completists.
those who've never heard the man couldn't ask for a more balanced introduction.
If this is your first Tim Buckley album, it won't be your last.
1995 Di Martino/MOJO