at the color photo of Tim on the cover of Sefronia (1973),
I cannot really convince myself that he could theoretically
be my son. The charismatic 27-year-old singer looks sad
and burnt out, ten to fifteen years older than he was at
have been studying Buckleys late phase of 1972-75
for many, many years and it remains an enigma to me, as
probably to most of Tim Buckleys audience. The objectors
of the Lorca/Starsailor phase often say that Buckley
would have recorded another ten albums in this experimental
style if his management had not stopped him.
the same time, we know that he was always changing and he
would surely have eventually recorded more accessible material.
In my eyes, the tragedy of his death in June 75 is closely
connected with the way that the Lorca/Starsailor
phase ended in the spring of 1971.
is often emphasized that the sales of these two albums were
very bad, but 25,000 were definitely sold. When RecRec Zurich
went into the international independent business, sale of
3.000 albums was considered a success. The trilogy of Fred
Frith on Ralph Records from 1980-83 started with 10.000
am sure that the 1972-1974 productions caused more financial
damage to Judy Buckley than Lorca and Starsailor.
A lot of damage resulted because no other label or management
was willing to record another album with the Starsailor
band. Every concert of this phase should have been recorded
consider the radio recordings of October 1970 with the Starsailor
band in Los Angeles - including an interview with Tim Buckley
at the height of his powers - to be his most important unpublished
October 1988 the acclaimed jazz trombone player Glenn Ferris
- at age 18 a member of the undocumented Starsailor
band - said To play with Buckley was much more interesting
and adventurous than playing with Zappa. This he told
me between two sets of a concert in Uster near Zürich
with the trumpet player Peter Schärli, who incidentally
also played on two albums of Radio Osaka, which closes another
I once asked my three-year-old daughter if she knew
where this singer came from, she said with a disarming
accuracy: 'From the country where the black women
Chapman was also a member of the undocumented Starsailor
band, and lent the CD to Al Jarreau, who was so fascinated
that he did not want to give it back. The recent numbers
on E-bay speak a clear language: each copy of Starsailor
- album or CD - is auctioned for over $100. In a fit of
over-enthusiasm in January 2006, I prepaid 1000 pounds to
the British label Finedisc of David Stone, without ever
receiving the promised 150 copies of the new CD-edition
to launch a successful comeback of Buckley were musically
not clever enough as carried out by the producers - Jerry
Goldstein in 1972, Denny Randell in 1973 and Joe Falsia
Europe - where presumably his largest fan society would
have been - Tims talent was never honored in an adequate
way. After the success in October 1968 in England - see
the Dream Letter recordings from London - and at Essener
Songtage in Germany the previous month, he played at
the first Knebworth Festival on 20th July 1974 at 2 PM,
while most listeners were still pitching their tents.
of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black
talks about The Mothers fans' reactions
to Tim opening the band's show in
Buckley, came a lineup of the Alex Harvey Band, the Mahavishnu
Orchestra, Van Morrison, the Doobie Brothers and the Allman
Brothers. For me, it did not make it any better that at
that time I was traveling for four weeks with two friends
with an InterRail ticket through Europe and that we spent
three days in London. I never was closer to Tim Buckley
than on that day. However, we did not go to any concerts,
only checking out all the record stores and besides, I only
discovered Tim Buckley three years later. Possibly, Tim
Buckley was even in my hometown in the summer of 1974.
August 1988, the well-known music journalist Bernie Sigg
visited me at the Rec Rec Shop following an insider tip.
After 1975 there was to be a third edition of the German
Rocklexikon, published by Rowohlt, so he had to freshen
up the discographies. He set up his laptop and I dictated
- practically by heart all that he wanted to know.
asked for a small salary or at least the mentioning of my
name, but as he had a low budget he feebly apologized. Mentioning
the name Tim Buckley, he told me that he had recorded an
interview with him in summer of 1974 in Zurich, which he
couldnt use for the magazine Pop.
told me he would look for the tape at home and give it to
me in return for my services. Unfortunately he could not
find it anymore, as a small gesture he put the Comebuckley
album on the Tim Buckley album list. Urban Gwender (publisher
of the underground magazine Hotcha and a friend of
Zappa from 1966 until 1976) shook his head in disbelief
when he heard that Herb Cohen (who was visiting Urban at
the time) did not mention that Buckley was also in town.
irony of the story is that the connection with Frank Zappa
didnt help Buckley at all, on the contrary. Although
Starsailor contains thrilling experimental rock music
with unbelievable harmonies and rhythms that theoretically
should have appealed to a Zappa audience, but in the end
that just didnt happen.
I like Zappas work during the period 1966-75, enjoyed
reading his memoirs and am friendly with his symphonic work,
I was never more ashamed of his audience than while listening
to the bootleg Live at the Felt Forum NYC September 23,
1972, when Tim Buckley was mercilessly booed off stage.
the anecdote in the thrilling Zappa biography of Barry Miles
is right, Zappa almost had a fit in a record shop when he
found out that Sefronia was not available - the new
Discreet-label obviously had put a lot of hope into the
at the Fool
at the Fool is probably Buckleys least appreciated
album; it often doesnt even get two stars when reviewed.
My friend Andreas Walter, one of the greatest music collectors
of Switzerland with superb knowledge, always defended that
album, so I took that as an assignment and listened to it
at least 250 times.
Lu as the final track is really depressing - I prefer
to regard the bootleg recording Live at The Starwood
from May 1975 as his final statement. He introduced the
band and himself during the last song with exquisite self-confidence.
It is also worth mentioning that without any exception,
every one of the ten tracks was faded out at the end so
that presumably precious parts were lost.
it must be noted how on this last album - which he originally
wanted to call Tijuana Moon - Tim Buckley sounds
more and more like a black female singer. When I once asked
my three-year-old daughter if she knew where this singer
came from, she said with a disarming accuracy: From
the country where the black women talk...
many reviews of Tim Buckley, one fact often overlooked is
that there was a huge crisis going on in pop music from
1972 to 1978 and that Buckleys commercial period should
not be judged in an isolated way. Many of the musicians
that we admire were either were forced to adapt to public
taste or they fell silent after 1975, jammed between glam-rock,
the pretentious aftermath of symphonic rock and the emerging
a 2005 visit to Orlando in Amsterdam, I heard about
the record dealer Herman Berkhout (Flesch Records) who
reduced his private collection from 40.000 to 300 -
all of Tim Buckleys albums were included..."
Ruth is Stranger Than Richard (1975), Virgin Records
no longer supported Robert Wyatt, and it was only after
1980 that he could be persuaded to do a comeback. John Cale
had big problems with Island Records; Helen of Troy
(1975) consisted of unfinished demos and was released while
he was away, and in the UK version, the lyrically controversial
song Leaving it Up To You was replaced by Coral
Moon. His next studio album Honi Soit was not released
until spring of 1981.
took a break after The End (1974) until Drama
of Exile in the fall of 1981. From 1967-1873 - almost
simultaneously with Buckley - the famous songwriter Tom
Rapp of Pearls Before Swine released nine albums, the last
one - 1973s Familiar Songs - released by Reprise
without his knowledge with outtakes and a ridiculous cover.
Beefheart is another typical example. After Lick My Decals
Off, Baby (1971) he got more and more commercial, with
the absolute low point being two releases in 1974 - Unconditionally
Guaranteed and Bluejeans and Moonbeams - before
finding back to his old form on his last three albums from
the smart Kevin Ayers was an exception; he didnt show
any signs of decay until after 1980 with Thats
What You Get Baby(sic!). Van Dyke Parks released
his weakest album, Clang of The Yankee Reaper, in
1975, and it wasnt until 1984 that he released his
next masterpiece Jump. Miles Davis retired for five
years after Agharta (1975) . After seven albums,
King Crimson took a break until 1981, when they released
group Henry Cow had an enormously creative phase during
1973 to 1975 on the ambitious Virgin Label and didnt
release their next album until May 1978 under the name Art
Bears on their own label Recommended Records - which led
a year later to the Swiss label Rec Rec.
Coyne belongs to a small group which was immune to the crisis.
With Matching Head and Feet in 1975 and Heartburn
in 1976) he was under a lot of pressure and was even forced
by Virgin to release an over-produced single version of
Elvis Presleys Fever, but then from 1978 until
1982 he created seven very impressive albums.
in Germany Tom Steine Scherben had a big crisis after the
1975 release of Wenn die Nacht am tiefsten ist, ist der
Tag am nächsten, and their next Album (the black
IV) was not published until 1981. Punk rock did not
evoke all these developments, but put an end to a certain
agony - at least for a short period. For the first time,
there were also female songwriters who were setting the
standards: Patti Smith with Horses in 1975, Annette
Peacock with X-Dreams in 1978, Marianne Faithful
with Broken English a year later or Laurie Andersen
with Big Science in 1982...
do not have a Tim Buckley memorial room at home, I was never
keen on starting a fan club and I have never had the time
to participate in an online chat. Since 1994, I have only
sporadically listened to Tim Buckley. In my daily life,
I have been occupied with other musical biographies and
I have allowed myself the widest possible spectrum.
or maybe because of this, I have always had the greatest
passion for Buckleys music. As a symbolic act, in
November 1978 I buried an Italian copy of Starsailor
in my parents garden, and only dug it out undamaged when
my most beloved tomcat Seppli died.
the winter of 1986-87, I discovered the irritatingly beautiful
work Quartet For The End Of Time by Olivier Messiaen,
which Buckley was listening to during the recording of Starsailor.
Because of the crisis in my relationship mentioned before
I was in an exceptional state of agony. The disturbing but
also soothing music, especially the contrast between Danse
de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes and the two sustained
Louanges pieces helped me to gain a lot of ground
in the following period of my life.
composed the work from 1940 until 1941 during his imprisonment
in Germany for the world premiere he himself played the
piece with three fellow prisoners on partially broken instruments
to a mesmerized audience of 6000 People.
West Hollywood, 1991
in June 1992, I came across the novel Outcast of the
Islands - written
by Joseph Conrad in 1895 - which Tim Buckley intended to
use as the basis of a concept album in 1975. Having already
experienced many mysterious coincidences in my research,
I was not that surprised to detect a mind-boggling resemblance
of Orlandos mother to the actress Kerima (born in
1925) in the 1952 Carol Reed movie adaptation of the book.
a 2005 visit to Orlando in Amsterdam, I heard about the
record dealer Herman Berkhout (Flesch Records) who reduced
his private collection from 40.000 to 300 - all of Tim Buckleys
albums were included... Once I was asked in a questionnaire
about my favorite time, I jokingly said the
time in the evening from 19:47 until 19:59 (the two birth
years of Tim and myself beamed down to 12 minutes).
have collected eighteen singles from 1966-74 until now ,and
I realized that not one single picture cover exists in any
country on the continent, although the most terrible bands
in Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Norway etc.
always had a picture cover at that time.
My greatest act of diligence presumably consisted in compiling
a list of the countless albums to which all the musicians
associated with Tim Buckley have offered their talents.
I thereby discovered the beautiful funk/soul Album Brown
Sugar (1973) by Clydie King and the less successful
1975 Memorandum by singer Marcia Waldorf, who accompanied
Buckley on his lone duet on Sefronia.
I also discovered the cellist Jesse Erlich, who also played
on albums by Zappa, Tom Waits and Van Dyke Parks and who
released his own composition Six Short Pieces for Three
Cellos in 1971 (Orion 7037), which I found a day after
the deadline of this booklet! The last time I heard from
him was on The Forest (1991) by David Byrne, on the
same Album that the Swiss singer Corin Curschellas can be
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