The Tim Buckley Archives

Album Reviews

Goodbye and Hello: Tim Buckley

By Pay CM

In the 1960s, the idea of music as an outlet for those struggling to find their place in a materialistic and corrupt world was becoming especially pronounced. Goodbye and Hello, in this sense, is certainly a product of its time; these melancholy folk tunes highlight the feelings of disappointment and disenchantment resulting from the tumultuous ’60s. Still, on this album, Tim Buckley delves beyond folksy reactions to politics.

That depth resides in Buckley’s soft-spoken, lyrical delivery. With a multi-octave range of possibilities and the gently wailing, melodic capability of his voice, he transcends the then-familiar sight of a man and his guitar, speaking to a people, a country, and a time. In No Man Can Find the War, the poetry is undeniable throughout. Yet when he finally asks “Is the war inside your mind?” we shift from the political to the individual, from the physical manifestation of war to a metaphorical one. There is a war in Tim Buckley’s mind.

In fact, Buckley is at his very best when confronting the torment buried within, rather than in the politics or war going on around him. I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain references his failed marriage with Mary Guibert (mother of Jeff Buckley), the “Flying Pisces.” The tune is undoubtedly epic, filled with queens and charming dancers and seascapes. Ultimately, however, Buckley abandons the fantastical for safe and steady ground, as the song culminates in a series of pleading howls: “Please come home.”

Who pleads is not made clear -- the Flying Pisces? the abandoned child? Buckley himself? Yet the grief and desperation remains personal and, above all else, human.

The voice of protest comes from a place packed full of emotion and turmoil, yet adding politics to the mix hardens and toughens any outcome. The war outside is something to talk and sing about, but considering the war in Tim Buckley’s mind, Goodbye and Hello becomes not only a product of its time, but a product of human experience, in life, love, and loss.

1. No Man Can Find the War
2. Carnival Song
3. Pleasant Street
4. Hallucinations
5. I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain
6. Once I Was
7. Phantasmagoria in Two
8. Knight-Errant
9. Goodbye and Hello
10. Morning Glory

© 2009 Pay CM/

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