The Tim Buckley Archives


Rock Encyclopedia

by Lillian Roxon

Nothing in rock, folk-rock or anything else prepares you for a Tim Buckley album, and it’s funny to hear his work described as blues, modified rock and roll and raga rock, when in fact there is no name yet for the places he and his voice go. He is a singer and a writer and often a lyricist.

The voice is not a voice so much as a musical instrument of incredible range and sweetness. Robert Sheldon of he New York Times called him ‘not quite a counter-tenor, but a tenor to counter with.”

His albums are some of the most beautiful in new music, beautifully produced and arranged, always managing t be wildly passionate and pure at the same time. Women tend to play then thirty times over in one sitting.

“His whole trip is a walk on the high-wire; juggling insights “said another writer who understood you can’t use ordinary words to talk about him

On the first album, he is untouched by the cold, hard world around him and you wouldn’t want it any other way. On the second album, the protective wrapping is off. Life has begun to get to him, the beautiful pure choirboy of that first album dies a little every day.

His best song yet - Goodbye and Hello - is only half innocence, the other half is experience. And his third album is the product of that experience. It is as if, not liking too much of the world outside, he chose to retreat to the warm and secure California that is his home.

Tim Buckley may look like Huckleberry Finn lost in a blackberry patch, but in fact he is as tortuous and complicated as those ten thousand matted curls that cluster protectively around his head.

© 1971 Roxon/Grosset and Dunlap

In the mid-1960s, Australian-raised Roxon became fascinated by pop music and the rise of groups like The Beatles, The Byrds and The Rolling Stones and she began to write regular articles on the subject. In early 1967 she visited San Francisco and was one of the first mainstream journalists to write about the nascent hippie movement, filing a landmark story for The Sydney Morning Herald on the subject. She also contributed to the famous Oz magazine in the late 1960s.

Through her writings and her interest in pop, she became one of the leading lights of the social and musical scene that centred on the fabled New York music club Max's Kansas City, which was frequented by members of the Andy Warhol circle, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, Jim Morrison and many others, and she has since been described by other leading critics as "the mother of rock"

During 1968-1969, Roxon was commissioned to write what became the world's first rock encyclopedia, published by Grosset & Dunlap in late 1969 and the work for which she is best remembered. It was extremely successful, is still regarded as a landmark in popular music writing and is often quoted. However, the work had to be written concurrently with her regular duties as the Herald correspondent and other press commitments. The punishing schedule took a heavy toll on her health and she developed asthma.She died at the age of 41 on 10 August 1973, after suffering a severe asthma attack in her New York apartment.

Source Wikepedia

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