Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rick Bishop - 1982 - Mister Hide

Rick Bishop
Mister Hide

01. Pent Up House
02. Mister Hide
03. Dorsai
04. Daria
05. The Theme
06. Four
07. Beth On My Mind

Rick Bishop: Bass
Larry Vigneault: Guitar
Tim Osborne: Drums
Mike McInnis: Keyboards

Doug Wainoiris: Guitar (3,4)
Mark Myers: Drums (3)

Now back to the great American tradition of furious guitar fusion.  This is a totally unknown album, undeservedly so, although when I glanced at RYM I saw the mighty osurec was well ahead of us on this.  There are definitely throwaway tracks though, namely, the standards that make up half of side 2 (which were written by Miles Davis).  The compositions by Rick are astonishing though, for the most part.  The music recalls Tony Palkovic, Tony DuPuis, note how the green cover of "Every Moment" is now blue here.

Ruth Brown - 1969 - Black Is Brown And Brown Is Beautiful

Ruth Brown 
Black Is Brown And Brown Is Beautiful

01. Yesterday 4:02
02. Please Send Me Someone To Love 2:57
03. Looking Back 4:07
04. Try Me And See 2:08
05. Miss Brown's Blues 7:00
06. My Prayer 3:49
07. Since I Fell For You 4:57
08. This Bitter Earth 3:54

Arranged By, Producer – Gary McFarland

Bass [Fender] – Chuck Rainey
Choir – Howard Roberts Chorale
Drums – Herbie Lovelle
Guitar – Billy Butler, Eric Gayle
Organ – Richard Tee

They called Atlantic Records "the house that Ruth built" during the 1950s, and they weren't referring to the Sultan of Swat. Ruth Brown's regal hitmaking reign from 1949 to the close of the '50s helped tremendously to establish the New York label's predominance in the R&B field. Later, the business all but forgot her -- she was forced to toil as domestic help for a time -- but she returned to the top, her status as a postwar R&B pioneer (and tireless advocate for the rights and royalties of her peers) recognized worldwide.

Young Ruth Weston was inspired initially by jazz chanteuses Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Dinah Washington. She ran away from her Portsmouth home in 1945 to hit the road with trumpeter Jimmy Brown, whom she soon married. A month with bandleader Lucky Millinder's orchestra in 1947 ended abruptly in Washington, D.C., when she was canned for delivering a round of drinks to members of the band. Cab Calloway's sister Blanche gave Ruth a gig at her Crystal Caverns nightclub and assumed a managerial role in the young singer's life. DJ Willis Conover dug Brown's act and recommended her to Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson, bosses of a fledgling imprint named Atlantic. Unfortunately, Brown's debut session for the firm was delayed by a nine-month hospital stay caused by a serious auto accident en route to New York that badly injured her leg. When she finally made it to her first date in May 1949, she made up for lost time by waxing the torch ballad "So Long" (backed by guitarist Eddie Condon's band), which proved to be her first hit.

Brown's seductive vocal delivery shone incandescently on her Atlantic smashes "Teardrops in My Eyes" (an R&B chart-topper for 11 weeks in 1950), "I'll Wait for You" and "I Know" in 1951, 1952's "5-10-15 Hours" (another number one rocker), the seminal "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" in 1953, and a tender Chuck Willis-penned "Oh What a Dream," and the timely "Mambo Baby" the next year. Along the way, Frankie Laine tagged her "Miss Rhythm" during an engagement in Philly. Brown belted a series of her hits on the groundbreaking TV program Showtime at the Apollo in 1955, exhibiting delicious comic timing while trading sly one-liners with MC Willie Bryant (ironically, ex-husband Jimmy Brown was a member of the show's house band).

After an even two-dozen R&B chart appearances for Atlantic that ended in 1960 with "Don't Deceive Me" (many of them featuring hell-raising tenor sax solos by Willis "Gator" Jackson, who many mistakenly believed to be Brown's husband), Brown faded from view. After raising her two sons and working a nine-to-five job, Brown began to rebuild her musical career in the mid-'70s. Her comedic sense served her well during a TV sitcom stint co-starring with MacLean Stevenson in Hello, Larry, in a meaty role in director John Waters' 1985 sock-hop satire film Hairspray, and her 1989 Broadway starring turn in Black and Blue (which won her a Tony Award).

Fine and Mellow There were more records for Fantasy in the '80s and '90s (notably 1991's jumping Fine and Mellow), and a lengthy tenure as host of National Public Radio's Harlem Hit Parade and BluesStage. Brown's nine-year ordeal to recoup her share of royalties from all those Atlantic platters led to the formation of the nonprofit Rhythm & Blues Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping others in the same frustrating situation. In 1993 Brown was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and 1995 saw the release of her autobiography, Miss Rhythm. Brown suffered a heart attack and stroke following surgery in October 2006 and never fully recovered, passing on November 17, 2006.

Tim Buckley - 2009 - Live At The Folklore Center, NYC - March 6, 1967

Tim Buckley
Live At The Folklore Center, NYC - March 6, 1967

01. Song For Jainie
02. I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain
03. Wings
04. Phantasmagoria In Two
05. Just Please Leave Me
06. Dolphins
07. I Can't See You
08. Troubador
09. Aren't You The Girl
10. What Do You Do (He Never Saw You)
11. No Man Can Find The War
12. Carnival Song
13. Cripples Cry
14. If The Rain Comes
15. Country Boy
16. I Can't Leave You Loving Me

All performances on this album previously unreleased.

Tracks 05, 10, 13-16 are Tim Buckley compositions previously unreleased on any studio or live album.

It's mindblowing that the folk iconoclast Izzy Young, founder of New York CItry's legendary Folklore Center, sat on this reel to reel tape of a very young Tim Buckley on his first trip to the Big Apple from the West Coast, for more than 40 years. Young was a promoter and was as close to a folk music purist as there was, and an integral part of the City's scene in the '50s and early 60s. Buckley's performance at the center was the result of a long, informal conversation, some lox and bagels; it was scheduled without having heard his record or hearing him sing(!) and in the same month as concerts by Spider John Koerner and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Buckley was hanging out in N.Y.C. between the release of his debut album and the impending issue of the now-classic Happy Sad. According to Young in his liner essay, there were about 35 people in the audience. Along with the essay, there is a verbatim transcript of an interview between him and Buckley without the questions.
What transpires here (released through the visionary good graces of Tompkins Square Recordings) is the sound of Buckley emerging from the influence of the New York scene's sound and into the enigmatic one he would call his own. The performance here is electrifying. Buckley is picking his six-string guitar with as much passion as his singing (the opener is an incredible version of "Song for Janie"), and on other songs, he's beating the living hell out of his open-tuned, 12-string guitar to match (check "I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain"). Other well-known Buckley numbers are performed here and, as many times as we've heard them, sound completely fresh and new -- because they were new to him. There's the brief reading of "Phantasmagoria in Two," an excellent version of Fred Neil's "Dolphins," the wooly exuberance "Aren't You the Girl," (though it is sometimes off-key and even shrill) and the honest tenderness and vulnerability on display in "Carnival Song." And while this set is comprised of unreleased live material, the real treasure trove is that contains a whopping six songs -- all composed by Buckley -- that have never been issued before in any form. There is the uptempo "Please Just Leave Me"; the consolation ballad "What Do You Do (He Never Saw You)"; the broken love song "Cripples Cry"; the seductive ballad that is "If the Rain Comes"; the raucous "Country Boy," and the concluding pathos-fueled manic strum and thrum that is "I Can't Leave You Lovin' Me," with its killer falsetto in the refrain that leaves the audience clapping enthusiastically.
The final effect of this set is electrifying because of its raw, unfiltered, and even spontaneous performance. The sound quality and fidelity are fine since this was recorded on a single 1/4-inch tape recorder with a single mike; so guitar and voice are naturally balanced by the performer; add to this the natural warmth of the room. This is all evident in the ambience of the CD with very little tape hiss, miraculously. This surprise document is early proof of Buckley's genius at such a young age, and in a live setting, even without a producer. He could offer a completely new twist on what was considered "folk music" at the time, to a very conservative and tough audience, and burn down the house. This is simply a must for fans.

I am missing the Copenhagen live album, If anyone out there feels like helping out, I would most sincerely appreciate it!

Tim Buckley - 2001 - The Dream Belongs To Me

Tim Buckley 
The Dream Belongs To Me 
Rarities & Unreleased 1968-1973)

01. Song To The Siren 3:29
02. Sing A Song For You 5:42
03. Ashbury Park 2:48
04. Danang 6:30
05. Happy Time 3:15
06. Buzzin' Fly 6:40
07. Sefronia 3:38
08. Because Of You 4:47
09. The Dream Belongs To Me 4:55
10. Falling Timber 4:47
11. Stone In Love 2:59
12. Freeway Dixieland Rocketship Blues 4:40
13. Honeyman 2:58
14. Quicksand 5:39

Bass – Bernie Mysior (tracks: 7 to 14)
Bells – Carter C.C. Collins (tracks: 3, 5)
Congas – Carter C.C. Collins (tracks: 3, 5)
Double Bass – John Miller (2) (tracks: 3, 5)
Drums – Buddy Helm (tracks: 7 to 14)
Guitar – Joe Falsia (tracks: 7 to 14)
Guitar [Electric] – Lee Underwood (tracks: 1 to 4, 6)
Vibraphone – David Friedman (tracks: 3, 5)

Tracks 1, 2, 4, 6 recorded March 4 & 5, 1968 at Mayfair Studio, NY.

Tracks 3 & 5 recorded June, 17 and 18, 1968 at TTG Studios, Hollywood, CA.

Tracks 7 to 14 Recorded February 12, 1973 at The Sunset Recording Studios, Hollywood CA.

Tracks 7 to 14 are previously unreleased.

Tracks 9 and 10 are newly -2001- discovered compositions.

The folks at Manifesto have done an excellent job in keeping the music of Tim Buckley on the market over the past ten years, even going so far as to release three highly revealing new discs of live recordings. Nicely bookending Buckley's most productive years, The Dream Belongs to Me continued that streak. Split between two 1968 demo sessions and a similar tracking date from 1973, the music contained illustrates that quite a lot had happened to Buckley in the intervening years, both personally and musically. Included from the March and June 1968 tapes, previously released on an Internet-only offer, are working versions (and arguably better in some respects) of "Song to the Siren," "Buzzin' Fly," and the superior "Sing a Song for You," tunes that would see official release in much more developed form on mid-period Buckley albums like Happy Sad, Starsailor, and Blue Afternoon. From February 1973 came tunes of a much different pedigree. Gone was much of the wistful folksiness that marked Buckley's early tunes and the jazzy experimentation of his mid-career records, replaced by an obviously concerted effort to make more commercial music. Working versions of four songs from the album Sefronia are augmented by never-before-heard tunes "Falling Timber" and "The Dream Belongs to Me." While these tunes are interesting enough (even with a wildly phased guitar effect that gets a tad annoying), it is depressing to hear Buckley forcing himself to resolve the eclectic exploration he wished to continue with the pop-oriented material his record company was strong-arming him into doing at the time. The fact that his final album was titled Look at the Fool (self-directed no doubt) speaks volumes.

Tim Buckley - 1999 - Works In Progress

Tim Buckley
Works In Progress

01. Danang (takes 7 + 8 intercut)
02. Sing a Song for You (take 11)
03. Buzzin' Fly (take 3)
04. Song to the Siren (take 7)
05. Happy Time (take 14)
06. Sing a Song for You (take 8)
07. Chase the Blues Away (take 3)
08. Hi Lily, Hi Lo (take 7)
09. Buzzin' Fly (take 9)
10. Wayfaring Stranger (take 4)
11. Ashbury Park version 1 (take 8)
12. Ashbury Park version 2 (take 14)
13. Ashbury Park version 2 (take 25)
14. Dream Letter (takes 17-16 intercut)
15. The Father Song (take 3)
16. The Fiddler (rough mix)

Tim Buckley Composer, Guitar (12 String Acoustic), Primary Artist, Vocals
Carter C.C. Collins Bells, Congas
Jim Fielder Bass
Fast Eddie Hoh Bass
John Miller Bass (Acoustic)
Don Randi Piano
Lee Underwood Guitar (Electric), Liner Notes
Jerry Yester Piano

Damn, it's hard to believe that this came out seventeen years ago. I don't think I had even heard of Rhino's boutique subsidiary label when this CD was first issued until a friend of mine, who knew that I was a hardcore Tim Buckley fan, made me aware of this release. I first became a fan of this fantastic musician during my year as a study abroad student in England as the English often have better taste in American music than most Americans do. By the time I was done with college, I had acquired all of Buckley's albums. Despite his short lifespan, I wondered why such a relatively prolific artist did not have more unreleased material available. Sure, there were the excellent posthumous concert albums Dream Letter: Live in London 1968 and Live at the Troubadour 1969 that became available in the mid-1990s, but what about putting out some of his demos, outtakes, and alternate versions of songs from his studio releases?

My prayers were answered when Works in Progress became available. I could hardly wait until this disc arrived in the mail since Rhino Handmade releases are not available in stores. When it finally did show up in my mailbox, I turned off my phone and got in the proper mental state so I could devote my full attention to the enjoyment of this album. Keeping in mind that it consisted of, as the title indicates, works in progress - and not completed projects - I was, for the most part, extremely satisfied with my purchase.

For the most part, this collection consists of material recorded in 1968 that would eventually be polished and refined and appear on Happy/Sad, my favorite of Buckley's albums and arguably his best. If you're not familiar with this folk-jazz masterpiece, you need to track it down and listen to it right now. "Danang" and the three takes of "Ashbury Park" offer the listener an opportunity to hear how "Love from Room 109 at the Islander (On Pacific Coast Highway)" came into being. The first version of "Sing a Song for You" (track 2) features Lee Underwood's enchantingly mellow guitar work that is curiously absent from the released version that appears on Happy/Sad and here as track 6. The two embryonic versions of "Buzzin' Fly," probably my all-time favorite Tim Buckley song, are intriguing and demonstrate how he kept working this composition to ultimate perfection. "Song to the Siren" is yet another earlier version of the artist's oft-covered exercise in melancholia and bears great similarity to his performance in The Monkees epsidode "The Frodis Caper." "Happy Time" and "Chase the Blues Away" would both later find a home on Blue Afternoon (probably my second favorite Buckley album). These earlier recordings are both of high quality, althought the arrangements on the latter sound a bit cluttered. "Hi Lily, Hi Lo" is a rare example of Buckley doing material by a songwriter other than himself or Larry Beckett. Oddly enough, the original, with music by Bronislau Kaper and lyrics by Helen Deutsch, appeared in the 1953 film Lili, which may have been something he saw as a child. I always thought this song was just a bit too precious, both here and the similar version on Dream Letter: Live in London 1968, but even Buckley's lesser performances are better than most musicians at their best. "Wayfaring Stranger," an old folk song primarily associated with Burl Ives, also appears on Dream Letter, and both renditions are powerful and superb. "Dream Letter" (the song) is the same version that appears on Happy/Sad. As much as I like this piece, I don't understand why it and "Sing a Song for You" (take 8) are included on this release other than to serve as filler, even if it is filler of the highest order. Prior to the release of Works, "The Father Song" was a completely unknown compostion and had not appeared in any form anywhere else. Perhaps the rawest of the tracks that appear here, it is a mystery why Buckley did not develop this song further. Perhaps the possible subject matter - his allegedly strained relationship with his father or the fact that his own son Jeff had been born out of wedlock - was just too sensitive of a topic. Yes, the song is underdeveloped, but there is still an austere beauty to it. The CD closes with "The Fidler," which is actually an instrumental rough mix of the sublime "Phantasmagoria in Two" from Goodbye and Hello (probably my third favorite Buckley LP) and begs the question, "Isn't there any more unreleased material from the recording sessions for this album?"

The minor quibbles about tracks 6, 7, 8, and 14 aside, Works in Progress is an extremely enjoyable listening experience. The performances may, for the most part, be scraps and leftovers, but they are definitely gourmet scraps and leftovers that Tim Buckley fans will relish.

Tim Buckley - 1999 - Once I Was

Tim Buckley 
Once I Was

01. Dolphins
02. Honey Man
03. Morning Glory
04. Comming Home To You (Happy Time)
05. Sing A Song For You
06. Hallucinations / Troubador
07. Once I Was
08. I Don't Need It To Rain

Bass – Tim Hinkley (tracks: 1, 2)
Bongos – Carter C.C. Colins* (tracks: 3,4,5,6,7)
Double Bass – Nils Henning* (tracks: 8)
Drums – Ian Wallace (tracks: 1, 2)
Guitar – Charlie Whitney (tracks: 1, 2)
Guitar [Lead] – Lee Underwood (tracks: 8)
Guitar, Vocals – Lee Underwood (tracks: 3,4,5,6,7), Tim Buckley
Vibraphone – David Friedman (tracks: 3)

1 & 2: recorded for the Old Grey Whistle Test 21st May 1974.

3,4,5,6 & 7: recorded for the John Peel show 2nd April 1968.

8: recorded live in Copenhagen 10th December 1968.

Digitally remastered at Barefoot Studios.

This is an extremely rare live recording from 1968. It has been digitally re-mastered but listeners may notice a difference in sound quality.

All but one of these eight songs from 1968 and 1974 are from the BBC. Five of the tracks were recorded in April 1968 for the John Peel show, and previously released by Strange Fruit as the Peel Sessions CD. These feature Tim Buckley at his most melodic and intimate. As on his posthumously issued 1968 concert recording Dream Letter, the instrumentation is sparser than on his Elektra albums. On these sessions, he was backed only by longtime guitarist Lee Underwood and percussionist Carter Collins. This quintet of tunes features songs from his second and third albums, as well as a couple of cuts that didn't make it onto records in the '60s, highlighted by a ten-minute medley of "Hallucinations" and "Troubadour." There are also a couple of less vital cuts -- "Dolphins" and "Honey Man" -- from a May 1974 broadcast. Ending the disc is a previously unreleased, live 12-minute version of "I Don't Need It to Rain," recorded in Copenhagen in October 1968 with Underwood on guitar, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on double bass, and David Friedman on vibes. It's a reasonable, jazzy number in sync with the mood of Blue Afternoon and Dream Letter, but the fidelity, from a tape "found in a box of disintegrating reel-to-reels at Tim's home," is muffled; a higher-energy and higher-fi version is on Live at the Troubadour 1969.

Tim Buckley - 1995 - Honeyman

Tim Buckley

01. Dolphins 3:47
02. Buzzin' Fly 7:20
03. Get On Top 4:40
04. Devil Eyes 7:34
05. Pleasant Street 8:19
06. Sally Go Round The Roses 5:53
07. Stone In Love 4:18
08. Honey Man 8:32
09. Sweet Surrender 8:27

Bass – Bernie Mysior
Drums – Buddy Helm
Guitar [Lead] – Joe Falsia
Keyboards – Mark Tiernan
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar – Tim Buckley

Subtitled as "RECORDED LIVE 1973".
Recorded live, 27 November 1973.

Honeyman is a previously unreleased live 1973 radio broadcast in excellent sound, that offers a valuable supplement to Tim Buckley's often disappointing final albums. Buckley's last LPs were marred by unsympathetic L.A. production, and this presents the material with much sparser, focused, and appropriate arrangements. As the songs originate mostly from the Sefronia and Greetings from L.A records (although a couple of songs from the '60s do appear), this couldn't be placed among his best work, or even among his best live albums (Dream Letter and Live at the Troubadour 1969 are both considerably better). Buckley's vocals are great, though, and if the tunes are sometimes too funky for their own good, this is generally good stuff, especially his riveting interpretation of Fred Neil's "Dolphins," which is probably worth the price of admission alone for Buckley fans.

Tim Buckley - 1994 - Live At The Troubadour 1969

Tim Buckley 
Live At The Troubadour 1969

01. Strange Feelin' 5:40
02. Venice Mating Call 3:27
03. I Don't Need It To Rain 11:06
04. I Had A Talk With My Woman 7:32
05. Gypsy Woman 14:31
06. Blue Melody 5:37
07. Chase The Blues Away 6:19
08. Driftin' 7:56
09. Nobody Walkin' 16:05

Bass – John Balkin
Congas – Carter C.C. Collins
Drums – Art Trip
Guitar – Lee Underwood
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Written-By – Tim Buckley

Recorder At The Troubadour, L.A. September 3 & 4 1969.
Mixdown and editing at Penguin Recording.
Issued under licence from In-Discreet Inc.

A previously unreleased, recently unearthed recording that catches Tim Buckley at the time he began to incorporate jazz-influenced vocal improvisation and dense, impressionistic lyrics into his recordings. Backed by a small combo, Live at the Troubadour 1969 features loose numbers with bloodcurdling vocal scatting and instrumental jamming. The nine tracks on this 78-minute disc are mostly drawn from his Lorca and Blue Afternoon albums, and include two previously unavailable songs.

Tim Buckley - 1990 - The Peel Sessions

Tim Buckley 
The Peel Sessions

01. Morning Glory 3:17
02. Coming Home To You (Happy Times) 2:56
03. Sing A Song For You 2:29
04. Hallucinations/Troubadour 10:34
05. Once I Was 3:57

Carter C. C. Collins
Lee Underwood
Tim Buckley

Contains one John Peel session recorded at April 2nd, 1968

Recorded in April 1968 for the BBC, these five songs -- a short album, or long EP's, worth -- show Buckley at his most melodic and intimate. As on his posthumously issued 1968 concert recording Dream Letter, the instrumentation is sparser than on his Elektra albums. On these sessions, he was backed only by longtime guitarist Lee Underwood and Carter Collins on percussion. This set features songs from his second and third albums, as well as a couple of cuts that didn't make it onto record in the '60s. Highlighted by a ten-minute medley of "Hallucinations" and "Troubadour," it's a worthwhile addition to the Buckley canon.

Tim Buckley - 1990 - Dream Letter (Live in London, 1968)

Tim Buckley 
Dream Letter (Live in London, 1968)

01. Introduction 1:06
02. Buzzin' Fly 6:14
03. Phantasmagoria In Two 4:41
04. Morning Glory 3:44
05. Dolphins 6:50
06. I've Been Out Walking 8:18
07. The Earth Is Broken 7:00
08. Who Do You Love 9:27
09. Pleasant Street / You Keep Me Hanging On 7:58
10. Love From Room 109 / Strange Feelin' 12:18
11. Carnival Song / Hi Lily, Hi Lo 8:50
12. Hallucinations 7:15
13. Troubadour 6:05
14. Dream Letter / Happy Time 9:25
15. Wayfaring Stranger / You Got Me Runnin' 13:09
16. Once I Was 4:29

Bass – Danny Thompson
Guitar, Liner Notes – Lee Underwood
Vibraphone – David Friedman
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar [12 String] – Tim Buckley

Recorded July 10, 1968 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London England
Mastered from original tapes in January 1990 / A&M Mastering

This, like so many Enigma releases, was literally a dream project, and carries a lot of energy and love with it, in the music and the performance. Recorded in London in 1968, when Buckley was just beginning to be really successful and had yet to move out of his folk-oriented phase. The band he's working with here is simple -- Buckley's voice and fairly simple guitar; Lee Underwood providing subtle, almost jazz-like electric accompaniment; Pentangle's Danny Thompson sitting in on bass (with a minimum of rehearsal); and vibraphone player David Friedman. There's an assortment of songs from the three albums Buckley had released up to then, plus a couple that would turn up on later albums, and six songs that he never released in any form. This album, however, was released for the first time in 1989, and what you get is the complete concert -- no cuts, no edits, no rearranging. It's a spectacular piece of work, too. It's difficult to believe that the tape was made in 1968 -- there's almost no noise, the music seems perfectly recorded, and the ambience is breathtaking. Buckley's voice is right up front, hovering over the acoustic guitar, clear as a bell. It's a tribute to CD mastering wizard Bill Inglot, who co-produced the release, that it has such a gorgeous, broad sound. The instruments are carefully separated, clean, and glitch free; if there are tape dropouts here, one can't hear them. Musically, it's a spirited affair. Buckley is a beautiful singer, and had a broad selection of excellent, often breathtaking, songs. Even when the songs are a bit of a mish-mash, as happens with the unfortunately over-energetic "Who Do You Love" (one of the unreleased songs), you're caught by the vocal pyrotechnics he displays -- he can be seductive, and he can be a shouter, and he's always very, very good. Other than this, there's very little to say about Dream Letter. If you're at all interested in Buckley, or in various hybrids of folk music, then this album is a must. If you just want to hear one of hell of a good CD, check it out.

Tim Buckley - 1974 - Look At The Fool

Tim Buckley 
Look At The Fool

01. Look At The Fool 5:10
02. Bring It On Up 3:26
03. Helpless 3:18
04. Freeway Blues 3:10
05. Tijuana Moon 2:38
06. Ain't It Peculiar 3:34
07. Who Could Deny You 4:20
08. Mexicali Voodoo 2:23
09. Down In The Street 3:20
10. Wanda Lou 2:37

Bass – Joe Falsia
Clavinet – David Bluefield
Backing Vocals – Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews, Vanetta Fields*
Bass – Chuck Rainey (tracks: 1, 2, 6), Jim Fielder (tracks: 1 to 3), Jim Hughart (tracks: 5, 7, 8 to 10)
Cello – Jesse Erlich* (tracks: 1, 2)
Congas – King Errison* (tracks: 1 to 3, 6)
Drums – Earl Palmer (tracks: 1 to 10)
Electric Piano – Mark Tiernan (tracks: 1, 2, 6)
Guitar – Joe Falsia (tracks: 1 to 6, 8 to 10)
Guitar [12-string] – Tim Buckley (tracks: 2, 3, 7)
Horns – William Peterson*, Richard Nash*, Johnny Rotella*, Terry Harrington, Anthony Terran*
Organ – Mike Melvoin (tracks: 5, 7, 9)
Other [Discreetion] – Herb Cohen
Percussion – Gary Coleman (tracks: 5, 7 to 9)
Piano – Mike Melvoin (tracks: 1 to 3, 5, 7 to 10)

Tim Buckley's final album is a sad, burned-out affair, suffering from weak, poorly conceived material and washed-out soul-rock arrangements. Most troublingly, Buckley's voice -- the one asset he could always count on -- had itself begun to deteriorate. Here his vocals were distressingly thin, like torn socks that have gone through the laundry cycle one too many times.

On June 28, 1975, Buckley completed the last show of a tour in Dallas, Texas, playing to a sold-out venue with 1,800 people in attendance. Buckley celebrated the culmination of the tour with a weekend of drinking with his band and friends, as was his normal routine. On June 29, 1975, after a spirited evening, in both the metaphorical and alcoholic sense, Buckley decided to accompany long-time friend Richard Keeling back to his house in the hope of obtaining some heroin. After spending an hour or so at the house, Buckley, in his inebriated state, walked in on Keeling in flagrante delicto, causing an argument between the two.Keeling, with the aim of placating him, handed Buckley a large dose of heroin and challenged him to "Go ahead, take it all". Given Buckley's contrary and rebellious nature, he duly snorted all the drug laid out for him.

Following this, Buckley was in such a bad condition that friends chose to take him home rather than leave him to his own devices. Upon his return home, his wife Judy, seeing his inebriated state, laid him down on a pillow on their living room floor and proceeded to question his friends as to what had happened. A while later, Judy decided to move Buckley into bed, hoping he would recuperate by the morning. However, when she later returned to check on him, she found he had turned blue and was no longer breathing. Attempts by friends and paramedics to revive him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Having diligently controlled his drug habit while on the road, his tolerance was lowered, and the combination of the drugs he took mixed with the amount of alcohol he had consumed throughout the day was too much. The coroner's report by Dr. Joseph H. Choi stated that he died at 9:42pm, June 29, 1975, from "acute heroin/morphine and ethanol intoxication due to inhalation and ingestion of overdose".Long time friend and lead guitarist, Lee Underwood, has stated that "on many previous occasions Buckley had ingested considerably more alcohol and drugs than this".

Tim Buckley - 1973 - Sefronia

Tim Buckley 

01. Dolphins 3:10
02. Honey Man 4:10
03. Because Of You 4:25
04. Peanut Man 2:52
05. Martha 3:10
06. Quicksand 3:22
07. I Know I'd Recognize Your Face 3:58
08. Stone In Love 3:27
09. Sefronia - After Asklepiades, After Kafka 2:15
10. Sefronia - The King's Chain 3:23
11. Sally Go 'Round The Roses 3:43

Bass Guitar – Bernie Mysior
Drums – Buddy Helm
Guitar – Joe Falsia
Keyboards – Mark Tiernan
Twelve-string Guitar, Vocals – Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley went deeper into white funk on Sefronia, despite two problems: white funk was not the forte of these L.A. session musicians and female backup vocalists, and not the style for which Buckley himself had the greatest empathy. His voice isn't as stunning as usual on his next-to-last album, but the bigger problem is the material, which is usually forced and pedestrian. Glimmers of quality can be heard on his cover of Fred Neil's "The Dolphins," and the strange two-part title track, which is a throwback to his more ambitious vocal workouts of times past.

Tim Buckley - 1972 - Greetings from L.A

Tim Buckley
Greetings from L.A.

01. Move With Me 4:49
02. Get On Top 6:35
03. Sweet Surrender 6:48
04. Nighthawkin' 3:21
05. Devil Eyes 6:51
06. Hong Kong Bar 7:13
07. Make It Right 4:06

Tim Buckley Composer, Guitar, Guitar (12 String), Primary Artist, Vocals
Carter Collins Conductor, Congas
Jesse Ehrlich Cello
Joe Falsia Guest Artist, Guitar, String Arrangements
Venetta Fields Guest Artist, Vocals
Jerry Goldstein Percussion
Ed Greene Drums
Harry Hyams Viola
Kevin Kelly Organ, Piano
Louis Kievman Violin
Clydie King Guest Artist, Vocals
Robert Konrad Guitar (12 String), Violin
William Kurash Violin
Paul Norros Saxophone
Reinie Press Bass
Chuck Rainey Bass, Guest Artist
Ralph Schaeffer Viola
Eugene Siegel Saxophone
Lee Underwood Guitar, Keyboards
Lorna Willard Guest Artist, Vocals

Stepping back from the swooping avant-garde touches of Starsailor for a fairly greasy, funky, honky tonk set of songs, the opening lines of Greetings from L.A. set the tone: "I went down to the meat rack tavern/And I found myself a big ol' healthy girl." Sassy backing vocalists, honking sax, and more add to the atmosphere, while Tim Buckley himself blends his vocal acrobatics with touches not unfamiliar to fans of Mick Jagger or Jim Morrison. The studio band backing him up might not be the equal to, say, War, but in their own way they do the business; extra touches like the string arrangement on "Sweet Surrender" help all the more. The argument that this was all somehow a compromise or sellout doesn't seem to entirely wash. While no doubt there were commercial pressures at play, given Buckley's constant change from album to album it seems like he simply found something else to try, which he did with gusto. "Get On Top," one of his best numbers, certainly doesn't sound like something aimed for the charts. The music may have a solid groove to it (Kevin Kelly's organ is worth a mention), but Buckley's frank lyrics and improv scatting both show it as him following his own muse.

Tim Buckley - 1970 - Starsailor

Tim Buckley 

01. Come Here Woman 4:09
02. I Woke Up 4:02
03. Monterey 4:30
04. Moulin Rouge 1:57
05. Song To The Siren 3:20
06. Jungle Fire 4:42
07. Starsailor 4:36
08. The Healing Festival 3:16
09. Down By The Borderline 5:22

Double Bass [String Bass], Electric Bass – John Balkin
Electric Guitar, Electric Piano, Organ [Pipe] – Lee Underwood
Flute [Alto], Tenor Saxophone – Bunk Gardner
Timpani, Performer [Traps] – Maury Baker
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Buzz Gardner
Vocals, Producer, Written-By, Twelve-String Guitar – Tim Buckley

After his beginnings as a gentle, melodic baroque folk-rocker, Buckley gradually evolved into a downright experimental singer/songwriter who explored both jazz and avant-garde territory. Starsailor is the culmination of his experimentation and alienated far more listeners than it exhilarated upon its release in 1970. Buckley had already begun to delve into jazz fusion on late-'60s records like Happy Sad, and explored some fairly "out" acrobatic, quasi-operatic vocals on his final Elektra LP, Lorca. With former Mother of Invention Bunk Gardner augmenting Buckley's group on sax and alto flute, Buckley applies vocal gymnastics to a set of material that's as avant-garde in its songwriting as its execution. At his most anguished (which is often on this album), he sounds as if his liver is being torn out -- slowly. Almost as if to prove he can still deliver a mellow buzz, he throws in a couple of pleasant jazz-pop cuts, including the odd, jaunty French tune "Moulin Rouge." Surrealistic lyrics, heavy on landscape imagery like rivers, skies, suns, and jungle fires, top off a record that isn't for everybody, or even for every Buckley fan, but endures as one of the most uncompromising statements ever made by a singer/songwriter.

Tim Buckley - 1970 - Lorca

Tim Buckley

01. Lorca    9:53
02. Anonymous Proposition    7:43
03. I Had A Talk With My Woman    5:55
04. Driftin'    8:10
05. Nobody Walkin'    7:30

Congas – Carter C.C. Collins
Double Bass, Bass [Fender], Organ [Pipe Organ] – John Balkin
Electric Piano, Electric Guitar – Lee Underwood
Twelve-String Guitar, Vocals [Uncredited], Music By, Lyrics By – Tim Buckley

This album, while a departure from Happy/Sad and Goodbye And Hello, isn't as difficult as some people would have you believe (from reading 30-year-old reviews by people who just didn't get it and believing that those reviews are gospel without actually bothering to listen to the songs and figure them out first).
For instance -- the first two songs (the first side on the original vinyl) are *not* free-form. "Lorca" has verses, and is based on a descending pattern in 5/4 where the minor key and the locrian mode on the same root are played off of each other throughout the first eight minutes of the song, in a droning mode. Nifty pun there -- "Lorca" with the locrian mode. It's not hard to follow once you figure out where the actual verses are, and once you do, it seems a lot shorter than it is.
"Anonymous Proposition" actually has a proper chord progression, but it sounds like the gestures moving from chord to chord are scripted (much like so called "freedom jazz" or "fire music"), so that the chord changes are implied. The scripted gestures happen in the voice as well. It's not hard to hear it, and once you figure it out, you will find that this song actually has verses too.
The final three songs *do* continue in the "Happy/Sad" mode, with strummed chords, verses and choruses and hooks, so if you like that stuff, especially the wilder stuff like "Gypsy Woman" this might be up your alley.
All in all -- don't believe the morgue files that tell you this album is "weird", "difficult", etc. Remember that the people who originally wrote those reviews didn't know how to comprehend the musical language that Buckley was speaking on the first side, what with "Lorca"'s polytonality and "Anonymous Proposition"'s gesture based structure. In fact this record would be a fine way to demonstrate how "fire music" or "freedom jazz" works and open up an entire new musical world for you ... and any record that has that sort of power is worth checking out.

Recorded in the midst of his most experimental and prolific time as an artist, Tim Buckley’s Lorca is the musical bridge between the loose jazzy troubadour stylings of the Blue Afternoon and Happy/Sad, and the haunted cosmic residue of Starsailor, the revolutionary 1970 record that follows.

Lorca is the axis in which the natural progression of Buckley as an artist rests. Recorded at the same time as Blue Afternoon, Lorca contains compositions that would not sit comfortably on that particular record. Instead, the project is filled out with time-period specific live tracks from Buckley’s 1969 residence at the Troubador.

Blue Afternoon felt to Buckley like a step backwards, regardless of its melodic strengths in comparison to Lorca. The recording becomes a fitting conglomerate of where Buckley had been and where he was going. Lorca’s collection of experimental music acts as the platform in which Buckley’s jazz-folk sensibilities begin to develop the free-form attitude later fully expressed in the strange and atmospheric Starsailor.

Named for the avant-garde poet Federico Garcia Lorca, the album begins with the loose 5/4 time of its title track. Lee Underwood’s ominous horror-soundtrack keyboards introduce a dramatic, rhythmless groove that’s gently pushed forward by a spectral pulse, initiated by Buckley’s acoustic plucks and a sliding, warm standup bass. The lacy spider web of a song trembles, moving through the listener as opposed to remaining accessible to the listener. Buckley’s voice is the central instrument, his mastery of tone drawing out the emotive quality of the title track. His ghostly vibrato and provocative moans paint a lush narrative, imbuing the lyrics with rich vibrant colors.

Gone is the pop music format embraced by the majority of Buckley’s contemporary songwriters, ushered in is his flowing high-tide framework of composition, where the melodies collide, brushing the shore and then dispersing into themselves in a wash of foam.

Lorca and the subsequent Starsailor have been accused by critics of being strange and self-indulgent. Ny reply is: When you are a developing artist of Buckley’s caliber, you create regardless of boundaries and preconceived ideas of what music should be. Lorca ought to be hailed for its innovations and reckless abandonment of labels and expectations. Buckley used his debated four-octave vocal range to act as another improvisational instrument. Similar to critics of Yoko Ono, these atmospheric and strange uses of the human vocal chords, stretched to their limit, are often puzzling to listeners confined by normal expectations and conventions.

The second track “Anonymous Proposition” uses tone color and resonance to express human emotion, sensitivity and eroticism through sound. Buoyant with silence and space, the song rises like the gentle breast of a beautiful woman in slumber. “Love me as if someday you’d hate me,” is the opening line of the song, vocally draped over the starry-night accompaniment. “Anonymous Proposition” is transparent, comprised of broken light dispersed through a vibrant stained glass window. Created by Underwood’s clean scurrying interjections and Balkin’s erratic woody bass bumps, the musi swirls into a sensual keyhole glimpse of aural eroticism. Buckley’s voice is soothing, mysterious, leading the musical changes as a central instrument, soothing the delicate emotions created by the hypothetical sonic union. This is powerful soul music, developed without pretense — art in the truest sense, designed to elicit response and pull out emotion.

The remainder of Lorca is made up of a series of three live tracks making their premiere appearances. Mixing in these songs with the album’s initial high-flying experimentalism was, alas, a misguided attempt at straddling accessibility. The fact is, Lorca was still entirely misunderstood by critics. The initial long-form movements reveal Buckley as he was quoted — “finally me, without influences.” The additional songs, while still powerful, harken back to Buckley’s folk roots yet still retain a loose forward-thinking experimentalism.

The moody and atmospheric “I Had a Talk with My Woman” returns to the traditional format of Buckley’s earlier compositions, with a melody easily grasped and an intimate narrative plainly expressed. “Driftin'” is an extended percussive mantra, wrapped around a sneaky Underwood guitar line. The ambiance of the live recording is seamless in the context of the record. Soft as bubblegum in the hot sun, the song stretches, pulling Buckley’s chiming twelve string in one direction, while slinking away melodically in another.

Lorca closes with the churning “Nobody Walkin,'” something similar in construction to 1969’s “Gypsy Woman.” The song is built around Buckley’s striding acoustic twelve strings, working in conjunction with Carter Collin’s thumping conga grooves. Underwood dresses the track in funky Fender Rhodes, while Buckley scats, raps, wails and moans in his recognizable style. As with the rest the album, this loose organic approach is addicting. The music feels unique from the moment of creation. There is no pretentious artist act going on here, just pure unadulterated music in the form of a heart song. Buckley searches the vocal spectrum, ranging from his guttural quivering moans to glass cutting falsettos, and the album LP fades with his free-form excursions fading to black.

Lorca remains a musical snapshot of an artist in flux, a musical genius finding his voice and creating an identity. The record is evidence of Buckley’s refusal to confirm to previously accepted musical forms. His career would end up leaving the avant-garde experiments developed on Lorca behind, while embracing numerous forms for funk, soul and vocal soundscapes on future releases. But Buckley’s constant searches for greater and stranger ways of expression, in addition to his fearless sonic manipulations, come to full fruition on Lorca. It is a project that captures the best of two musical worlds (folk and avant garde) that Buckley clearly hoped would collide.

Tim Buckley - 1969 - Blue Afternoon

Tim Buckley 
Blue Afternoon

01. Happy Time    3:15
02. Chase The Blues Away    5:10
03. I Must Have Been Blind    3:40
04. The River    5:47
05. So Lonely    3:27
06. Cafe    5:40
07. Blue Melody    4:55
08. The Train    7:53

Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass – John Miller
Drums – Jimmy Madison
Guitar, Piano – Lee Underwood
Twelve-String Guitar, Producer, Music By, Lyrics By – Tim Buckley
Vibraphone – David Freedman

Blue Afternoon was Tim Buckley's first self-produced record and his debut for Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa's Straight label. Buckley's first two albums were very much of their time and place, with their psychedelically tinged folk-rock compositions; naïve, romantic lyrical content; and moments of earnest protest. The introduction of acoustic bass and vibes into the arrangements on Happy Sad signaled a change in direction, however, and Blue Afternoon displayed similar jazz tendencies, using the same group of musicians plus drummer Jimmy Madison. Several tracks on Blue Afternoon are songs Buckley had intended to record on earlier albums but had not completed. The brooding "Chase the Blues Away" and the lighter, more upbeat "Happy Time," for instance, are numbers he had worked on in the summer of 1968 for possible inclusion on Happy Sad. (Demos can be heard on Rhino's Works in Progress album.) Here, as he did on Happy Sad, Buckley takes the folk song as his starting point and expands it, drawing on jazz influences to create new dynamics and to emphasize atmosphere and mood. This approach can be best appreciated on the mournful "The River," as simple acoustic guitar, cymbals, and vibes build a fluid, ebbing, and flowing arrangement around Buckley's beautiful, melancholy vocals. The period between 1968 and 1970 was an intensely creative one for Tim Buckley. Remarkably, during the same four weeks in which he recorded Blue Afternoon, he also recorded its follow-up, Lorca, and material for Starsailor. It's not surprising, then, that Blue Afternoon hints at Buckley's subsequent musical direction. While not in the experimental, avant-garde vein of the more challenging material on those next two albums, "The Train" foregrounds Lee Underwood's quietly intense, jazzy guitar and Buckley's vocal prowess, prefiguring the feeling of tracks like Lorca's "Nobody Walkin'" and Starsailor's "Monterey."

Tim Buckley - 1969 - Happy / Sad

Tim Buckley 
Happy / Sad


01. Strange Feelin'    7:49
02. Buzzin' Fly    6:00
03. Love From Room 109 At The Islander (On Pacific Coast Highway)    10:47
04. Dream Letter    5:10
05. Gypsy Woman    12:19
06. Sing A Song For You    2:36

Acoustic Bass – John Miller
Congas – Carter C.C. Collins
Lead Guitar – Lee Underwood
Twelve-String Guitar, Vocals – Tim Buckley
Vibraphone, Marimba [Bass] – David Friedman


Easily Tim Buckley's most underrated album, Happy Sad was another departure for the eclectic Southern California-based singer/songwriter. After the success of the widely acclaimed Goodbye and Hello, Buckley mellowed enough to explore his jazz roots. Sounding like Fred Neil's Capitol-era albums, Buckley and his small, acoustic-based ensemble weave elegant, minimalist tapestries around the six Buckley originals. The effect is completely mesmerizing. On "Buzzin' Fly" and "Strange Feelin'," you are slowly drawn into Buckley's intoxicating vision. The extended opus in the middle of the record, "Love From Room 109," is an intense, complex composition. Lovingly under-produced by Jerry Yester and Zal Yanovsky, this is one of the finest records of the late '60s.

Tim Buckley - 1967 - Goodbye And Hello

Tim Buckley 
Goodbye And Hello


01. No Man Can Find The War    2:58
02. Carnival Song    3:10
03. Pleasant Street    5:15
04. Hallucinations    4:55
05. I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain    6:02
06. Once I Was    3:22
07. Phantasmagoria In Two    3:29
08. Knight-Errant    2:00
09. Goodbye And Hello    8:38
10. Morning Glory    2:52

Bass – Jim Fielder, Jimmy Bond
Congas, Percussion – Carter C.C. Collins
Drums – Eddie Hoh
Guitar – Brian Hartzler, John Forsha
Guitar [Six-string], Twelve-string Guitar, Guitar [Bottleneck], Kalimba, Vibraphone – Tim Buckley
Kalimba, Tambourine – Dave Guard
Lead Guitar – Lee Underwood
Organ, Piano, Harmonium – Jerry Yester
Piano, Harmonium, Harpsichord – Don Randi

Often cited as the ultimate Tim Buckley statement, Goodbye and Hello is indeed a fabulous album, but it's merely one side of Tim Buckley's enormous talent. Recorded in the middle of 1967 (in the afterglow of Sgt. Pepper), this album is clearly inspired by Pepper's exploratory spirit. More often than not, this helps to bring Buckley's awesome musical vision home, but occasionally falters. Not that the album is overrated (it's not), it's just that it is only one side of Buckley. The finest songs on the album were written by him alone, particularly "Once I Was" and "Pleasant Street." Buoyed by Jerry Yester's excellent production, these tracks are easily among the finest example of Buckley's psychedelic/folk vision. A few tracks, namely the title cut and "No Man Can Find the War," were co-written by poet Larry Beckett. While Beckett's lyrics are undoubtedly literate and evocative, they occasionally tend to be too heavy-handed for Buckley. However, this is a minor criticism of an excellent and revolutionary album that was a quantum leap for both Tim Buckley and the audience.