3, Issue 1 - March, 2011
Buckley: Tim Buckley - Deluxe Edition
Buckleys debut is very satisfying for me to review.
is responsible for two of my all-time favourite albums (Lorca
and Starsailor), and when I first heard Tim
Buckley after falling in love with these later
experiments it sounded hemmed in, naïve, safe.
My inclination was not to take the album on its own terms,
but to search for the future, to jump on every unusual whoop
of his voice, before slumping back in disappointment that
each song seemed to play out conventionally, in line with
any number of singer-songwriters in the mid to late 60s.
curse myself for my short-sightedness; but thanks to this
glorious reissue, Im catching up on lost time. Over
the albums original twelve tracks, here presented in
both mono and stereo, Buckley has a wide-eyed, absorbing charm
that he never recaptured. Its apparent in his voice
and guitar but, even more than that, in something he was soon
to disown his natural flair for melody.
with I Cant See You, folk-rock is the strongest
stylistic blueprint, but thats always combined with
other influences. Strange Street Affair Under Blue
is an episodic, baroque piece, its modernist ambition condensed
into three eccentric minutes. Theres also an old-fashioned
air on the album, of almost show-ballad cleanness: with a
different arrangement and a bit of imagination, Bing Crosby
could have sung It Happens Every Time.
And then theres the voice. No, it hasnt yet scratched
at every extreme, but the many octaves do a sterling job of
tempering Tim Buckleys prime weakness the lyrics.
Buckley has a tendency to trite literalness on this album,
but his tenor is of such power that each word feels saturated
with heartfelt emotional candour, and allows you to excuse
his clichÈ, redefining it as adolescent simplicity.
The second disc in this package comprises 22 fascinating demos.
Theres an amazing version of Arent You The
Girl with Tim, at points unable to contain his giggles,
confidently developing the budding microdrama of the song.
This sensitive, complete reissue showcases the beginnings
of Buckley, and it does his nascent genius glorious justice.