The Tim Buckley Archives

Album Reviews

New Musical Express (UK) - 1995

Tim Buckley: Honeyman
out of ten

By John Mulvey

Some know Tim Buckley as a flighty, starsailing jazz-folker of the late '60s and early '70s, an octave-shattering singer with high-minded aesthetic ideals. Some know him as another one of those tragic singer-songwriters, poisoned by critical acclaim and little commercial action, who OD-ed on heroin, semi-forgotten, in 1975. A few more, probably, know him as absent father of the prodigious Jeff.

Here, however, another side is revealed: Tim Buckley as shagmaster supreme. He pants, he rants, he thrashes about like the horniest man alive.

He is the incubus and he is funky. And Honeyman'is a spectacularly charged live radio session from the arse end of 1973, as Buckley moved into his last unsuccessful career phase -- fervid and sweaty funk rock.

"It was odd to me that all of the sex symbols had never said anything dirty or constructive about making love," he's quoted in the sleeve notes, "so I figured, talk about stretch marks, which really lays it out to people in Iowa."

No fol-de-rolling ethereal whimsy, then, as the chunky, slashing band tear into the somewhat unambiguous likes of Get On Top with a single-minded thrust that would shame Prince. The results are terrific. Buckley's voice has rarely been heard better, and the songs -- mainly from Greetings From LA and Sefronia -- suggest a major re-evaluation of this neglected late part of his career should be on the cards.

He finds time to float through a still-delicate shot at Dolphins, and he ensures Honeyman is two pretty amazing things: one, a significant addition to the fine Buckley pantheon; and two, a live album that actually bears repeated listens.

Hot, you could say.

 © 1995 Mulvey/New Musical Express

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