Afternoon & Starsailor
the Straight Records bio for his 1970 album Blue Afternoon,
the late Tim Buckley wrote, "I try and strip away all influences in my music,
because that's really all I have to say... just pure Buckley."
By the time he recorded Blue Afternoon and its equally stunning successor,
Starsailor, Buckley had indeed stripped away nearly all of the regulation
folk-rock jangle and post-Pepper art-pop trimmings of his earlier work,
leaving his eccentric melodic constructions and spectral imagery to float free
in shimmering pools of haunting avant-jazz balladry and bursts of abstract psychedelic
But it is Buckley's emotional investment in the expedition, reflected so vividly
in the operatic daring of his singing, that transform s both Blue Afternoon
and Starsailor from adventures in space folk to works of dramatic, lasting
in this pop age of nostalgic yearning and indiscriminate reissues, the vibrant
daring of these defiantly uncommercial records (given a new lease on life as part
of Enigma's CD restoration of the Straight/Discreet catalogs) is a revelation
all over again, a poignant example of how far one songwriter was willing to go
in search of a greater, purer form of musical expression.
listening, then and now.