The Tim Buckley Archives

Album Reviews

2009

Timeless Folk

A new live recording of the late Tim Buckley
solidifies his legendary status

by Jim Steinblatt

Soaring tenor, ultra-sensitive and passionate songs, handsome, short-lived with the last name of Buckley: Is it the late Jeff Buckley? It could be, but the description also fit’s the father Jeff never knew- singer-songwriter extraordinaire Tim Buckley (1947-1975)

ASCAP member Tim Buckley never enjoyed much in the way of commercial success, but most of his decades-old albums remain in print and in recent years, several previously unreleased concert performances by Buckley have been issued on CD.

The latest of these is Live At The Folklore Center, NYC - March 6, 1967 (Tompkins Square) A recording of an intimate solo acoustic show performed before an audience of just 35 in a little Greenwich Village venue, Live At The Folklore Center captures a 20 year-old Tim in full possession the powers that build his mystique.

One person who knew Tim Buckley well as both a friend and artist was lyricist Larry Beckett, who collaborated with Buckley on many of his most enduring songs, including Morning Glory, Song to the Siren and Once I was.

Beckett first got together with Buckley in high school in Anaheim, California, where they formed bands called the Harlequin Three and The Bohemians.

“We had a really great chemistry with each other immediately,” recalls Beckett. “One day I went to Tim and said ‘If Lennon and McCartney are doing it, why don’t you and I write songs?’ And he said ‘OK’ “

Although Buckley’s earliest albums could be characterized as ornate folk-rock, he changed musical direction frequently, moving into jazz, avant-garde experimentation and R&B.

Beckett worked with him through all these incarnations. “Neither Buckley or I had much respect or interest in the music business,” says Beckett today. “We didn’t look at charts or sales figures or think about what was working in the market place or anything other than our own creative directions. We chose the part of art instead of commerce.”

Beckett’s view of Live At The Folklore Center is that “It’s one of his best. Tim without a big production moves him into the timeless zone that he really needs of occupy. It lets you focus on his brilliant guitar work and his magnificent voice. It represents what the fuss was all about."

Enticingly, Beckett adds, “There are still hours and hours of unreleased Buckley stuff, which is first rate quality, waiting for an audience"

© 2009 Steinblatt/ASCAP


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