Tim Buckley Discography


Tim Buckley

Discography:

  • Tim Buckley (1966)
  • Hello and Goodbye (1967)
  • Happy/Sad (1969)
  • Blue Afternoon (1970)
  • Lorca (1970)
  • Starsailor (1970)
  • Greetings from L.A. (1972)
  • Sefronia (1973)
  • Look at the Fool (1974)

Between 1967 and the time of his death of a heroin overdose in 1975, Tim Buckley released a total of 9 albums, all studio recordings. Despite this relatively prolific output, and fairly consistent air time on FM radio in the late 60s, Buckley never garnered more than a small following of devoted fans. Many critics nowadays attribute this to his utterly inimitable style - a strange and wonderful mixture of folk and jazz, and a voice which should more aptly be considered a lead instrument, ranging easily over 5 octaves.

Buckley's two most successful albums - 1967's Goodbye and Hello and 1968's Happy Sad - Were for the most part more traditional folk in style, although Goodbye and Hello had a more eclectic flavor, with electric instruments played on some tracks. Contemporary critics writing about Goodbye and Hello fashioned Buckley as a poet/troubadour, and some of the songs on the album reflect topical issues of the day (No Man Can Find The War, Goodbye and Hello, and Pleasant Street, namely).

Buckley's style began to change with his next album, Happy Sad. It became Buckley's most accessable album, utilizing Buckley's 12 string guitar, long-time collaborator Lee Underwood's jazzy electric guitar, bass, conga drum, and vibes. One track on the album, Buzzin' Fly, had considerable air play, and was covered by quite a few coffee house musicians of the time.

Each of Buckley's albums represents a completely different artistic direction, and it was because of this that his popularity waned. He signed on with Frank Zappa's Straight label in 1969 and produced the transitional Blue Afternoon, similar in some respects to Happy Sad but heading decidedly off into a new, more free form direction. The two next albums are a representation of this freedom of style. Buckley's voice had become an instrument more akin to John Coltrane's sax than that of a folk or blues singer's.

Lorca, released in 1970, had only five songs, the shortest of which was nearly 6 minutes. The title track was written in 5/4 time for a pipe organ, electric piano, 12 string guitar, and Buckley's voice. Side 2 had some interesting songs rooted in folk-blues, but decidedly different.

Starsailor, also released in 1970, represents the apex of Buckley's experimental style, using instruments such as trumpet and flugelhorn, alto flute and tenor sax (played by Buzz and Bunk Gardner, respectively, of Frank Zappa's Mother's of Invention), tympani, 12 string guitar, pipe organ, electric piano, electric bass and guitar, and, of course, Buckley's voice. A strange album indeed. One song, Song To The Siren, was later recorded in the 1980's by the group the Cocteau Twins.

His remaining three albums, Greetings from L.A, Sefronia, and Look at the Fool were apparently attempts by Tim Buckley to revert to a more mainstream style. 1972's Greetings from L.A. has been described as a blend of funk and soul "feverish, sensual, and frayed". His final two albums, while pleasant enough and quite listenable, warrant little attention.

On the evening of June 29, 1975 Tim Buckley overdosed on heroin (a staple drug of his for a number of years), said "bye, bye, baby" ...and checked out.

In 1990 a recording of a concert performace from July 1968 at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall surfaced, and was released on a double CD called Dream Letter. In 1993 another archival tape turned up, recorded live in L.A. September 3 and 4 1969 and released on CD as Live at the Troubadour. Both of these are highly recomended...

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