The Tim Buckley Archives

Album Reviews

Blue Afternoon & Starsailor

In the Straight Records bio for his 1970 album Blue Afternoon, the late Tim Buckley wrote, "I try and strip away all influences in my music, because that's really all I have to say... just pure Buckley."

By the time he recorded Blue Afternoon and its equally stunning successor, Starsailor, Buckley had indeed stripped away nearly all of the regulation folk-rock jangle and post-Pepper art-pop trimmings of his earlier work, leaving his eccentric melodic constructions and spectral imagery to float free in shimmering pools of haunting avant-jazz balladry and bursts of abstract psychedelic locomotion.

But it is Buckley's emotional investment in the expedition, reflected so vividly in the operatic daring of his singing, that transform s both Blue Afternoon and Starsailor from adventures in space folk to works of dramatic, lasting beauty.

And in this pop age of nostalgic yearning and indiscriminate reissues, the vibrant daring of these defiantly uncommercial records (given a new lease on life as part of Enigma's CD restoration of the Straight/Discreet catalogs) is a revelation all over again, a poignant example of how far one songwriter was willing to go in search of a greater, purer form of musical expression.

Essential listening, then and now.

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