The Tim Buckley Archives

Album Reviews
Unknown UK publication - 1995 

Tim Buckley: Honeyman
Recorded Live 1973 (Edsel EDCD 450


This is the third, and presumably final, part of a trilogy that's already seen the classic Dream Letter: Live In London 1968 and its worthy successor, Live At The Troubadour 1969. It hails from a radio show broadcast November 1973, a time when Buckley had just released his eighth album, Sefronia, to disappointing reviews, many pointing to no less than five cover versions as evidence that Buckley's muse had vanished.

Honeyman reveals that, in concert at least, the singer was still one of the most powerful performers stalking the boards in the early 70s. His voice -- his most precious gift -- never failed him, and even though four of those five Sefronia covers are present here, his unique readings of, say, Fred Neil's Dolphins, or the traditional Sally Go Round The Roses, suggest that casting interpretative powers forever in the shadow of the self-penned song is largely pointless.

Throughout this hour-long set, Buckley refines such material, and even a couple of his late 60s songs, Pleasant Street and Buzzin' Fly, in a passionate, white funk mold. It wasn't a cynical move to follow the lines of fashion: after all, Buckley's work already overflowed with passion enough, without having to steal sounds to pretend to achieve an effect he already had in abundance.
"Honeyman is the last - but by no means least -
in a trio of tremendous live releases...''
Forget the patchy studio ventures from around this time: in concert, Buckley and his tighter, funky backline was often a frighteningly effective prospect. The drums get a bit pedestrianised at times during the seven-minute Devil Eyes, but with guitarist Joe Falsia giving it some intense wah-wah action whenever the chance arose, and Buckley employing his vocal range to effect a more smouldering sexuality than the tentative romanticism of his earlier work, Honeyman will be a hugely pleasant surprise to those who imagined that Buckley died creatively with the end of the 60s.

The wiry, troubadour with a notebook full of gentle odes to beautiful women he was too afraid to talk to was, of course, long gone. The Tim Buckley of 1973 was a man immersed in the sweaty, messy, intoxicating world of physical love, a man who wanted to lick those stretch marks, who could proudly boast that "We had those bedsprings a-squeaking last night, honey", and whose music -- on this evidence, at least -- had lost none of the passion that drew you to him in the first place.

Honeyman is last - but by no means least - in a trio of tremendous live releases.

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