The Tim Buckley Archives

Album Reviews

Blue In The Air

The greatest song ever written, as of today.



Probably the most cited and least heard "masterpiece" in "rock," apart from the occasional appearance of the original Song To The Siren on compilations.

If it seems perverse that a particularly watery British rock group could take the name (and the typography) of this record and become so successful with music which is essentially its polar opposite, then that may be because Starsailor is not easy to get hold of - long-term legal disputes between Herb Cohen and the Zappa estate mean that the Straight Records catalogue (which also includes such things as An Evening With Wild Man Fischer and Beefheart's Lick My Decals Off, Baby) has been unavailable for a generation; the rare sighting of an unsatisfactory late eighties CD pressing of Starsailor can command ludicrous prices (in the summer, I saw a water-damaged copy retailing in Camden MVE for GBP40!).

Yet it remains an unrepeatable masterpiece; Buckley taking his voice into post-Coltrane free space, improvising, yodelling and howling over fiery accompaniment from his trusted band (Lee Underwood on guitar, Buzz and Bunk Gardner on horns, etc.), even, on the title track, relying on his own multitracked vocal explorations and helping to invent Diamanda Galas in the process.

Let's hope the bureaucracy gets sorted out in sufficient time for a proper CD reissue to be made available before I qualify for my pension. I mean, if Allen Klein can sort out the Cameo-Parkway dilemma.

© 2007 The Blue In The Air

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