Buckley: Tim Buckley - Deluxe Edition
fine debut, with unheard demos...
time has passed, Tim Buckley has come to resemble an emblem
for the watershed 1960s:
restless, exploratory, inspired, fearless. Ever mercurial,
Buckleys truly outré efforts would come later
this is a man who despised pop formula. But his stunning,
oft-overlooked 1966 debut stands as a dreamy, precocious requiem
for its times.
in just two days by the 19-year-old songwriting visionary,
Tim Buckley, like other early Elektra Records productions
(especially, Loves Forever Changes), is a kind
of world unto itself. Wings, Buckleys gorgeous,
graceful debut single, is emblematic of the records
magnetism; guided by baroque strings and Lee Underwoods
ringing guitar, it sounds like a compassionate inversion of
Dylans Like A Rolling Stone. But you will
find your future is unknown, Buckley swoons. One
day the questions rise/On wings of chance you fly.
knew Buckley was something special, matching him with their
hippest production team Paul Rothchild and Bruce Botnick.
Van Dyke Parks, fresh from a summer working with Brian Wilson
on Smile, was brought in on keyboards; Phil Spector protégé
Jack Nitzsche, recent collaborator with The Rolling Stones,
missteps and occasional overwriting can be discounted
amid the albums inventive playing and production,
and its wistful, fragile beauty...
its Buckleys otherworldly voice, a versatile, enveloping
five-octave instrument capable of immense charisma and intense
emotional stirrings manoeuvering through complex mood
shifts in the space of a breath that make this such an
auspicious, daring debut. Ostensibly a folk-rock album, oft-stereotyped
as such, in truth Tim Buckley turns the fledgling genre inside
out. Rather than merely commenting on the swirl of absurdities
around him, à la Phil Ochs (though he did occasionally
delve into that realm, as on follow-up record Goodbye And
Hellos devastating No Man Can Find The War),
Buckleys early songwriting is madly romantic, exploring
a kaleidoscope of inner dialogues, with poetic flights of fancy
exploring love, freedom, and, especially, what it means to be
are some weaker links: the vengeful Arent You The
Girl, while a showcase for Buckleys soaring voice,
is hardly deft songwriting; the by-the-numbers folk/blues
Grief In My Soul is pure throwaway; and while Understand
Your Man is a wily RnB bar-band throwback
to his early band, The Bohemians. All are out of place here.
the missteps and occasional overwriting can be discounted
amid the albums inventive playing and production, and
its wistful, fragile beauty. The elegiac Valentine Melody
and straight folk-rock It Happens Every Time are stellar,
while the albums masterworks Wings, the
hypnotic mythmaking of Song Of The Magician, and the
madrigal Song Slowly Sung, harbinger of Buckleys
wild zigzags to come clearly herald the arrival of
a promising new artist.
deluxe set, along with stereo/mono editions of the album,
yields a dozen unheard demos by The Bohemians, plus a cache
of acoustic tracks cut informally in summer 1966. The latter
intimate, fly-on-the-wall home recordings analogous
to early Dylan bootlegs strip away everything but voice,
guitar, and sporadic poetry readings by co-writer Larry Beckett.
A stately She Is, a fiery, atmospheric I Cant
See You, plus two numbers that didnt make it onto
the album proper My Love Is For You and Long
Tide provide a fascinating, behind-the-mirror glimpse
into Buckleys transformation.
Bohemians demos, meanwhile, unheard for 45 years, provide
a crucial missing puzzle piece. Until now, Buckleys
teenage band (with guitarist Brian Hartzler, drummer Larry
Beckett, and bassist Jim Fielder [later of Blood, Sweat &
Tears] was merely a name on paper, though the group gigged
in California throughout 1965.
lo-fi recordings reveal a bluesy, hard-rocking pedigree mixed
with some tentative, four-square folk/rock; call it caveman
Buffalo Springfield with a sprinkle of primitive Quicksilver
Messenger Service. Buckleys supercharged, RnB-style
vocals are the focal point dig that blood-curdling
scream in Wont You Please Be My Woman
but the band kicks up a storm as well. The songwriting is
cruder, though transitional numbers like It Happens Every
Time survived to appear on his debut. Others, especially
the haunted No More and Call Me If You Do, are
delightfully melancholic additions to the Buckley canon.