The Tim Buckley Archives

Album Reviews

Tim Buckley : Live At The Troubadour 1969

By Jack Rabid

Never mind his son Jeff Buckley, respectably talented as he is, who's wowing critics from coast-to-coast. Those in the know know that the elder Buckley, who sadly died a heroin O.D. in 1975 at the age of 28 after releasing nine LPs (the first five of which are great) was the rare shooting star when it comes to folk.

Like his equally fantastic contemporary Tim Hardin (who also sadly died from smack, five years later in 1980) in a much different way, Buckley didn't sit solo with an acoustic guitar, singing taut, gruff, purist, political-protest songs, but instead allowed bushels of blues, and even more jazz than Hardin, into his material.

Thus, though like the best of folk, the spotlight is on Buckley's lyrics and ungodly-great voice - the liner notes credit him with a five-and-a-half octave range, all of which he uses, and then some - his playing, and that of his four-piece band swing provocatively, adding texture and improv spontaneity.

This LP, recorded at the still-currently-going L.A./West-Hollywood nightspot September 3 and 4 1969, when the surprisingly wizened Buckley was all of 22 years old, dates from a full fourteen months after the also worthy Dream Letter London gig released six years ago (bizarrely, given his live prowess/legend, that was Buckley's first live LP of any kind, fourteen years after his death).

Which means the style is much different, switching from Dream Letter's reliance on Goodbye and Hello and Happy Sad to the more free-form material of later works (just before his artistic decline) Blue Afternoon and Lorca.

And like Dream Letter which unearthed no less than six never-before-heard songs, Live at the Troubadour adds two more to Buckley's cannon. Between these two live LPs, the Peel Sessions EP, and This Mortal Coil’s debut-single cover of Song to the Siren, it seems as if this inspired cat with the powerfully golden voice lives on via his own lasting music, as it should be, rather than just through his offspring.

Beginning as a New York fanzine covering The Stimulators, The Big Takeover has become one of the oldest independent music magazines in the history of underground punk, pop, and rock music.

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