Making Of 'Tim Buckley' - Part Two
managed another, far more experienced band that would soon
make a big impact on the American rock scene, The Mothers
were introduced to Herb through Mothers drummer Jimmy Carl
Black, who taught in the same little music studio that I taught
guitar in when I was still in high school, explains
Jim. Herb and his brother Mutt had one or more music
publishing companies. Really, what they were most interested
in was artists with original material that they could publish.
When he listened to the demos, we thought he was listening
to Tims voice, to the sound of the band, whatever. But
he was really listening to the songs.
Fielder elaborates: He didnt really let us know
at the time that he was impressed, but we got the idea. We
were all sitting there together in his living room. Hes
listening to this demo. And about halfway through, he picks
up the phone and calls Jac Holzman in New York and says words
to the effect of, I think weve got something here
you might be interested in. And at that point, we thought,
Hmm, maybe we did the right thing here after all.
retrospect, however, Cohens interest heralded the end
of The Bohemians and the beginning of Buckleys career
as a solo artist.
way you make money on publishing is you get those songs recorded,
continues Fielder. And whos the best person to
record them, but the guy who wrote them? Assuming hes
a good singer and performing artist. Tim certainly was. So
Herbie kind of saw the whole package there. He would sign
Tim to a management contract, manage Tims career, and
part of that career would be promoting those songs that Tim
was singing in the hopes that other people
would pick them up and the publishing money would start rolling
the separation was final, however, The Bohemians would make
another recording one that, much to the frustration
of Buckley archivists, has yet to be found. Sometime around
early 1966, Cohen arranged for The Bohemians to enter a more
professional studio to cut another demo for submission to
to Beckett, it has four early versions of songs re-recorded
for the first album, though other sources have reported that
the demo contains six tracks.
looked for it, and nobodys ever found it, confirms
Larry. I dont think its a great loss. It
was just a piece of junk. It was a really bad situation where
we couldnt hear each other in some ridiculously over-elaborate
recording studio thing where youre in a booth by yourself.
So were all out of rhythm with each other and it sounded
crappy. Im sure Tim sounded fine. But we didnt
re-record it or anything. The next thing we know, Herbies
announcing that bands are a thing of the past, that solo artists
are the future. So hes gonna get Buckley signed with
Elektra as a solo artist.
Fielder, I guess Herb picked the songs off that first
demo that he thought were the most saleable, and had us go
in and do a professional quality demo, go into a real studio
with real mikes and a real engineer at the controls. It didnt
take long. Again, it was a one- or two-take deal on each tune.
A couple of sessions, and it was done.
were The Bohemians, since a letter from Elektra President
Jac Holzman to Herbie Cohen on 8 March 1966 (reprinted in
the recent book Becoming Elektra) written the
very morning Holzman heard the lost demo refers to
it as a Tim Buckley record and expresses interest
only in working with Buckley, not mentioning The Bohemians
The arrangement ideas on the record are, in my opinion,
not very good, Holzman states in the letter, confirming
Becketts judgment of the lost demo sessions. But
Im sure that with a good A&R man/arranger, something
fine would result.
Holzman clarifies: I wasnt much impressed by the
settings, but I thought Tims voice was extraordinary,
and the songs were beginning to point toward real writing
possibilities. I knew the voice was special and all the rest
was a hunch. Work with it and see where it takes us. I knew
immediately that Tim was a solo artist and that the musical
settings would depend on the writing. It never occurred to
me to sign the band on the demo.
all three of the other ex-Bohemians would continue to be involved
in Buckleys career. Fielder played bass on Tim Buckley
and soon landed a spot in The Mothers Of Invention (on whose
second album he plays, though hes not credited) with
Cohens help. He ended up with possession of the November
1965 demo tape, which survived several moves over the next
few decades and even a fire at his home (the scorch
marks can be seen on the original tape box reproduced in the
deluxe edition package) before it was retrieved for
the new reissue.
dont think we ever really expected to be in the picture,
he points out. The band was good, but we knew Tim was
attended sessions for Tim Buckley and continued to write songs
with the singer. Brian Hartzler contributes some guitar to
Buckleys second album, Goodbye & Hello, and
possibly on Tim Buckley as well, since Fielder recalls him
contributing to the sessions (though Hartzlers not credited
on the LP).
before the sessions for Tim Buckley got underway, one more
batch of unreleased material was recorded, now comprising
the second half of the disc of bonus cuts on the new deluxe
reissue. These acoustic demos date from around the early summer
of 1966, according to Larry, and were really supposed
to be a tape for Tracy, my girlfriend at the time. So most
of the songs were inspired by her. That was Tim and I in my
bedroom in Anaheim, kind of cranking it out on my little reel-to-reel
machine. It was a love letter in music.
it was intended for her ears only, its remarkable that
its survived, let alone been made officially available
for all to hear nearly 45 years later. Tracy got the
recording, which I mailed to her, explains Beckett,
and kept it for a few years after we broke up. This
friend of hers, Arla Lewis, was a Buckley fan, and Tracy said,
well, youll probably like this, and gave
it to her. Arla kept it all these years, even past the point
where she was able to play it.
was only by chance that Larry got hold of the tape again a
couple of years ago. Lewis located him and handed the cassette
over I had completely forgotten the entire thing and
took it to a studio to have them dub it off onto a CD for
preservation. They goofed and didnt copy the B-side.
I didnt even know that there were three more songs until
we sent it to Rhino, who did a professional job.
label revealed the three extra songs on the other side. These
acoustic demos, featuring just Tims vocals and his guitar,
offer unplugged versions of five songs (She Is, Arent
You The Girl, Song Slowly Song, I Cant See You and
Wings) from his debut album. There are also two nice ballads
never to appear either there or anywhere else (My Love
Is For You and Long Tide) and, far more unusually,
two Beckett poems which Larry recites himself, backed by Buckleys
informally recorded and punctuated by bits of spoken chatter
and joking, these acoustic tracks boast performances as heartfelt
as the ones Buckley gave in the studio and on-stage.
only half a year or so later than The Bohemians demos,
the songwriting shows a great leap forward in sophistication,
as well as a far greater folk-rock orientation. As to why
My Love Is For You and Long Tide never found
a home, Beckett muses, It might have been a casualty
of writing so much of having too much material.
could only focus on certain songs for further development
and arrangement. So the rest just went by the wayside. And
the thing is that, like good artists, both Tim and I were
growing and changing. So by the time we got to, lets
say, Goodbye & Hello (released in summer 1967),
we thought we could write something much artier. Its
kind of an evolution, leaving the older artifacts behind.