From LA: Tim Buckley
white and twelve inches? Nothing.
Zing! Indeed, most
scientific surveys of the international state of the male
member seem to indicate that white folk arenít quite packing
heat downstairs. Sure, most scientific surveys of penis size
will have dubious results because men are terrible liars,
and convincing heaps of them to take off their pants for science
is fairly difficult.
studies like this that contribute to the reputation white
guys have Ė perhaps not so unfairly Ė for being doofuses who
canít jump, dance, or make red hot passionate love. And this
view permeates music; if youíre aiming to get down and messy,
youíre a little more likely to put on Marvin Gayeís brilliant
Letís Get It On than Phil Collinsí brilliant-for-different
reasons No Jacket Required. (Although if the sound
of sexy Phil singing Sussudio makes your chest flush
red and your breath get heavy, all power to you).
thereís one frizzy-haired honky who could definitely pull
his weight when it comes to music written between the sheets.
With the high cheek bones and refined good looks that would
later be seen in his son Jeff, Tim Buckley was that honky.
He was totally white Ė both physically, and for much of his
career, culturally Ė but he could get as hot as Gaye and as
wild as Hendrix. He showed the music world that black or white,
we all bleed red, and that red blood pumps down to where it
counts in the same way for everyone.
Greetings From LA, Tim is pure sex Ė cheating and slutting
and thrusting his way through seven soul rock numbers. And,
at the time, it was a shock. Before Greetings... Tim
was a folkie through and through. Sure, he was a little more
attractively esoteric, and he was far more willing to mix
up his influences than others. But listening to his debut
self-titled album Ė on which he sings sad, innocent, wide-eyed,
restrained folk-pop numbers Ė itís difficult to imagine he
would come out with an album like GreetingsÖ. But weíre
all the better for it because he did.
the shock when Timís folkie fans Ė used to romantic
ballads and tales of broken hearts Ė listened to a man
in the throes of musical ecstasy, reciting a chorus
of Get on top ...
his early albums are extremely attractive thanks to his beautiful,
nigh-operatic, earnest vocals, itís when he gets his groove
on that the brilliance of Buckley comes through. On the opening
track, Move With Me, you know itís on. Itís really
fucking on. Itís funked-up, itís hot, itís sweaty, itís a
little bit ugly, itís dirty.
itís spectacular. When Tim sings the opening lines
went down to the meat rack tavern
And found myself a big olí healthy girl
Now she was drinkiní alone
Aw, what a waste of sin †
pumps the words out with a confidence and lusty zeal that
no one had heard from him before. It was a revelation. And
more than 30 years after it was released, it still is.
donít stop there. The album just gets better. On Sweet
Surrender, he explains his predilection for infidelity
with notably sleazy self-satisfaction†
Now you wannaí know the reason
Why I cheated on you
Well, I had to be the hunter again
This little man had to try
To make love feel new again. †
less an exclamation than a proclamation. Heís going to get
his, and he doesnít care who it hurts. Itís brutal, but heís
putting it out there, and his libido evidently wonít be restrained.
By the time he gets to the album closer, Make It Right,
heís embraced his desires with a relish rarely seen in music.
ĎCome on and beat me, whip me, spank me,í he begs,
Ďmama, make it right again.í Yeah, itís still on.
Nighthawkiní steers away from sex, but the music doesnít
seem to have noticed the thematic adjustment. Itís still hot,
and itís still heavy, and those guitars are still pumping
and the horns are still blowing. Tim talks about a drunk holding
a knife to his throat, and for a second, you can see hormones
are still on his mind, as he sings as if the rush of near-violence
isnít any different to the rush to orgasm.
track is a winner, but itís Get On Top where Tim really
shows us how itís going to go down. With a killer riff kicking
things off, the funk gets so heavy it almost hurts. Imagine
the shock when Timís folkie fans Ė used to romantic ballads
and tales of broken hearts Ė listened to a man in the throes
of musical ecstasy, reciting a chorus of ĎGet on top of
me womaní Ė a breath Ė ĎI just wannaí see what you learned.í
it is, right there. Not too slow and not too fast. And it
almost hurts because itís so good. Thatís Greetings From
LA, and thatís the best album the brilliant Tim Buckley