bull does not know you, nor the fig tree,
nor the horses, nor the ants in your own house.
The child and the afternoon do not know you
because you have died forever.
The autumn will come with small white snails,
misty grapes and with clustered hills,
but no one will look into your eyes
because you have died forever.
Because you have died for ever,
like all the dead of the earth, like all the dead
who are forgotten
in a heap of lifeless dogs.
Nobody knows you. No. But I sing of you.
For posterity I sing of your profile and grace.
Of the signal maturity of your understanding.
Of your appetite for death and the taste of its mouth.
Of the sadness of your once valiant gaiety.
It will be a long time, if ever, before there is born
an Andalusian so true, so rich in adventure.
I sing of his elegance with words that groan,
and I remember a sad breeze through the olive trees.
from "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias"
by Federico Garcia Lorca
Buckley's fifth album is called Lorca. It was released
in October 1970 (I think) during a manic eleven month period
which also saw the release of Blue Afternoon (February
1970) and Starsailor (January 1971).
two sides of the album displayed a contrast of styles. Side
Two consisted of
three songs I Had A Talk With My Woman, Driftin' and
Nobody Walkin' which were in the style of his previous two
albums (Happy/Sad and Blue Afternoon). Side One
consisted of just two songs, Lorca and Anonymous Proposition
and these were different!
was a real change of direction for Tim musically with these
songs which eschewed the tranquillity and beauty of much of
his previous work. There was much less form to these songs
and much more improvisation. However, it is a fallacy to suggest
that Happy/Sad and Blue Afternoon gave no indication
of what was to come. Each of these seminally beautiful albums
contained one track that provided a showcase for Tim to explore
musical styles as well as the range of his voice; Gypsy
Woman and The Train sit slightly uncomfortably
on these albums and signpost his progression onto the musical
adventures of Lorca and his masterpiece, Starsailor.
Underwood wrote about the development of Tim's musical styles:
"Having done his 'folk' thing, his 'rock' thing, and
his 'jazz' thing, he now wanted to delve into vocal areas
that were virtually uncharted. 'An artist has a responsibility
to know what has gone down and what is going down in his field,'
he said, 'not to copy , but to learn and be aware. Only that
way can he strengthen his own perception and ability.'
visited a record store and selected albums by Luciano Berio,
Xenakis, John Cage, Ilhan Mimaroglu, Stockhausen, Subotnick,
etc. I researched them. The next day I said, 'You've got to
hear this singer, Cathy Berberian. She sings two Berio pieces--Thema
(Omaggio A Joyce) and Visage.
cluck, gurgles, sighs, yowls, sputters, screams, cries, weeps,
wails--you don't know it yet, but in her you've got the musical
friend you've been looking for.' He didn't care very much
for the electronic music itself - 'just doesn't touch my heart,
I guess' - but he loved Berberian. After hearing her sing,
he no longer doubted himself. He regarded the title cut of
Lorca, recorded in 1969, to be his debut as an identity, as
a unique singer, as an original force."
describes his musical departure in an interview in April 1975.
I went in to do Lorca, I decided right then it was time to
break open something new because the voice with 5 1/2 octaves
was certainly capable of coming up with something new. We
were getting real tired of writing songs that adhered to the
verse, verse, chorus things. It wasn't an intellectual exercise
though; as a matter of fact, it was a thing that finally Miles
did with In A Silent Way. It happened with the Fender
Rhodes electric piano and using one bass line which kept the
idea of key in mind. In Silent Way, Miles had a melody line
that he played on a trumpet and I had a lyric and a melody
that went through Lorca."
was the last album that Tim released on Elektra, the company
owned by Jac Holzman who had signed him in 1966. In 1969 Holzman
was on the point of selling Elektra which upset Tim. He decided
to change labels to Straight, a Warners-distributed label
formed by Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa. This decision left him
with separate demands from the two record labels.
still owed Jac Holzman at Elektra an album and Herb Cohen
at Straight wanted Tim to record some accessible music. The
result was that he recorded Blue Afternoon and Lorca
in the same month, giving Blue Afternoon to Straight
who released it in February 1970. Lorca was released
eight months later on the Elektra Standard label. Elektra
Standard was a new term that Polydor (who distributed for
Elektra) had introduced and was a budget line reserved for
albums that they deemed to be of a minority interest.
is conflicting information about the release dates of Blue
Afternoon and Lorca. Some sources (Tim Buckley
: The High Flyer By Martin Aston MOJO Magazine and Goodbye
& Hello by Scott Isler Musician Magazine) state that
the albums were released within a month of each other. Scott
Isler states that Lorca was released in February 1970.
The Music Master Price Guide states that Blue Afternoon was
released in 1969.
convincingly the date on my record label of Blue Afternoon
is 1969. However, Lee Underwood's fantastic book Blue Melody
lists the release date for Blue Afternoon as January
1970 with Lorca being released in February 1970. The
dates I have used are from The Tim Buckley Archives.