The Tim Buckley Archives

Concert Reviews


Hard-driving or mellow, Buckley wails happy time

By Malcolm Terence

Tim Buckley is back at the Troubadour again after months on the road and, as before, he remains the musical champion of all the sensitive young men and 16-year-old girls you remember from 1961.

Despite his unabashed sentimentality -- enough to jeopardize a diabetic passerby -- Buckley redeems himself throughout with one of the best voices in the business.

This voice, this incredible emphatic hard-driving trumpet, wore itself to a whisper on the Troubadour stage one evening -- aftermath of bronchitis in Boston -- but Buckley was in fine shape the next night.

Many of his songs are hardly worth the sore throat, it seems. There's more to the world than unrequited love and alienation although you wouldn't learn it from the bulk of Buckley's lyrics.

They dote on the difficulty of love, the prettiness of rain, the dark spaces between peoples' minds and other stuff that seems a little irrelevant in an age when it's all right for music to be optimistic.
"In voice Buckley shifted styles perpetually but subtly throughout the whole dreamlike composition so he was one minute Balkan, the next Appalachian and then an Elizabethan balladeer..."
Predictably, when Buckley leaves his standard over indulgent material to sing something more substantial, he is as great as his fans (a great mass of underage girls) claim he is.

The best example is his half-chanted adaptation of Green Rocky Road. Buckley's voice bubbled like water in a post but silently, just outside the range of the microphone, during the instrumental introduction and then surged out with the scream of a gospel evangelist.

From there he made his perilous transitions into falsetto voice with breathtaking control, growled, screamed, placated, and left some of his best notes unsung to build a complex rhythmic mosaic with the conga drum accompaniment of Carter C.C. Collins.

Collins risked a long unimaginative solo during the tune, however, and supported the long held theory that the world's only successful drum solo was played one time by Chico Hamilton in 1962.

Another number ably handled was Hallucinations, a well-arranged piece by Bobby Goldsboro, Buckley on a twelve-string guitar and guitar accompanist Lee Underwood play a beautiful and tasty string introduction in the fashion of Japanese koto while Collins recreates Noh Theater percussion cycles on the congas.

Buckley shifted from there to a dissonant bottle neck solo, the one instance where his guitar playing approached the quality of his voice, and Underwood created a violin style sound with the understatement of the finest jazz guitarists.

In voice Buckley shifted styles perpetually but subtly throughout the whole dreamlike composition so he was one minute Balkan, the next Appalachian and then an Elizabethan balladeer.

At the end of the set we felt inescapably that Buckley had never been unhappy for two unbroken weeks in his whole life and his music has become a kind of sad-eyed documentary, as a consequence. If he could shake this burden, in his songs and his psyche alike, his music overall would be as delightful as his remarkable pipes.

The Troubadour billing was shared by Hedge and Donna, a Capital recording group that is never bad, rarely good and fully explores the middle ground of so-so. The couple uses its tightly professional vocal blends to win a genuine triumph for easy listening music.

Buckley plays the Troubadour through Sunday, Dec. 3, and is followed by Pat Paulsen Dec. 5-10.

©1967 Terence/Los Angeles Free Press

This website formerly used Adobe Shockwave , Adobe Flash, and Photodex Presenter to play photo slideshows.

Browsers no longer support these players as of January 12, 2021.
Please excuse limited navigation and missing audio files while modifications are being made.


Home Contact us About The Archives

Unless otherwise noted
Entire contents © 1966 - 2021 The Estate of Timothy C Buckley III
All rights reserved.