Tim Buckley - Part Two
album starts with the title track Lorca. Tim describes
the song "It happened with the Fender Rhodes electric
piano and using one bass line which kept the idea of key in
mind. In A 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. To this day, you can't put it on
at a party without stopping things; it doesn't fit it."
quiet beginning with some doodles from Lee Underwood on the
electric piano before the main bass line is introduced. This
is played throughout the song and is compelling and urgent.
After some vocal warming up, Tim sings
the sun sing in your smile
Let the wind hold your desire/
Let your woman's voice run through your veins
Let her be your blood don't feel ashamed."
electric piano is prominent throughout and there are no drums.
Every word is sung with great intensity drawing every emotion
from every syllable. The sound is most peculiar and unlike
anything I've ever heard. Is this rock? No, there are no drums.
Is this folk? No, the electric piano is too prominent. Is
it jazz? Possibly. Is it brilliant? Absolutely.
love flows your way then be a river
And when it dries just stand and shiver."
last word is sung low and then rises maniacally. The musical
setting is odd, but if you love Tim Buckley's voice, if you
have ever had your emotions touched by his intonation, this
track is perfect. The end of the song features more stunning
free form vocal. Tim regarded the title track as "my
identity as a unique singer, as an original voice."
Underwood wrote "He held notes longer and stronger than
anyone else in pop had ever done: he explored a wide, comparatively
bizarre range of vocal sounds, which in pop contexts were
revolutionary: having composed Lorca in 5/4, he began
his odyssey into odd-time signatures, which at that time and
in that context was unheard of."
second track is Anonymous Proposition. John Balkin's
bass is particularly original. "We never had any music
to read from," he remembers. "We just noodled through
and went for it, just finding the right note or coming off
a note and making it right."
opening lines "Love me as if some day you'd hate me"
has haunted me for nearly thirty years; what exactly does
Underwood loves this track. "The real advance comes in
Anonymous Proposition," the song that comes after
Lorca. It deals with a ballad in a totally personal,
physical presentation, to cut away the nonsense, the superficial
stuff. It has to be done slowly; it has to be a movement.
It has to hold you there and make you aware that someone is
telling you something about himself in the dark. That's
what music is all about on record. It is very personal; there's
no other way to deal with it. There are certain things that
great singers have to deal with; it's their duty to."
Underwood's playing is brilliant throughout the whole of Tim
Buckley's recorded career because he is able to express such
brilliant emotion. Reading this, I realise that Lee Underwood
is also able to put his finger on exactly why I love Tim Buckley's
music. Read it again: " It has to hold you there and
make you aware that someone is telling you something about
himself in the dark. That's what music is all about on record.
It is very personal; there's no other way to deal with it."
yes yes. This track is very free form. There is no melody
or riff or hook to latch onto. It's just Tim Buckley singing
a very personal song wrenching emotion from the listener by
outstanding use of one of the most original voices in music.
Who could ask for more?
Lee Underwood's book Blue Melody he describes the encore
that Tim gave at the end of a concert at Carnegie Hall on
November 2nd 1969:
Gypsy Woman, we walked backstage, stood in the wings
breathing hard. "Gimme a B flat," Tim said. I played
the chord for him. He hummed the key-tone, walked back out
and sang Anonymous Proposition a cappella
this day I have not heard another performance that matched
the intimate melodic range, and musical beauty of that song
and the way he sang it.
Anonymous Proposition had appeared on Lorca,
but at Carnegie he sang it by himself, no group, no 12-string
guitar, just him and his voice, radiant in the spotlight on
one of the world's most revered stages, holding notes higher
and longer and with greater strength and conviction and beauty
than I had ever heard.
lived up to the spirits in that hallowed hall, the unnumbered
great artists and composers who have set foot on that stage
and given their all. Tears came to my eyes as I watched from
the wings. He did it, he did it on his own, and he did it
right. It was one of the highlights of his life. Mine, too"
friend Daniella Sapriel went over to his house to hear Lorca
the day he received the advance tapes.
was really excited," she says. "It was a big step
for him. He really liked it and he really felt he had pushed
through something from the last album to Lorca. It
was great, but it was also clear that this wasn't what the
public was going to find if they were looking for a three-minute
hit single for radio!"
Two starts with I Had A Talk With My Woman. This is
a lovely song. Beautiful guitar, understated congas and a
lovely melody. This would not be at all out of place on Blue
Afternoon, not dissimilar from Chase the Blues Away
or The River.
second track on side two, Driftin', is perfect. It
is very laid back with Tim in a particularly reflective mood:
"When there's wine in your belly
Love rhythms on your tongue
For you are a woman
And each man has been too young
But for me you were a lover
Gently under your cover
Your sheet reeks of others."
a loud guitar chord and a change of emphasis:"Oh
I came here to hold and be held for a while" and a most
beautiful guitar line starts. This song is so slow and as
usual the sound of Tim's voice is so evocative. "All
I want to be is what you mean to me." Then comes one
of those great moments, the bit you always look forward to
hearing every time you hear the song. He repeats the line
but draws out the first word so that it takes thirteen seconds
just to sing the word "All."
I know this doesn't look very interesting, just play it and
hear it for yourself. Listen to this bit and listen to the
guitar solo that Lee Underwood plays. A guitar solo of beauty
which reflects and amplifies Tim's voice. More moans - Tim
and Lee bouncing ideas off each other - then "Late last
night as I dreamed in dizzy sunlight" and listen to that
note that keeps playing. This is a rare example of two magnificent
performers making music together, each being aware of their
contribution to the sound and neither one dominating - just
bouncing low key reflective ideas off each other. How can
words describe such beauty?
last track on the album is Nobody Walkin' which is
fantastic because it features Tim Buckley's voice, but apart
from some interesting electric piano from Lee Underwood is
probably the least exciting thing here. It is faster in tempo
than the rest of the album, the vocals are, of course, brilliant
but the musical setting is, how can I put this, a little more
ordinary than the rest of the album. It's still better than
99% of all the other tracks you own though, so check it out.
Holzman said "he was making music for himself at that
point...which is fine, except for the problem of finding enough
people to listen to it."
responded with "An artist has a responsibility to know
what's gone down and what's going on in his field, not to
copy but to be aware. Only that way can he strengthen his
own perception and ability."
2005 Mick MacVe