Tim Buckley (Official Thread)

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Tim Buckley
February 14th, 1947 - June 29th, 1975

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One of the great rock vocalists of the 1960s, Tim Buckley drew from folk, psychedelic rock, and progressive jazz to create a considerable body of adventurous work in his brief lifetime. His multi-octave range was capable of not just astonishing power, but great emotional expressiveness, swooping from sorrowful tenderness to anguished wailing. His restless quest for new territory worked against him commercially: By the time his fans had hooked into his latest album, he was onto something else entirely, both live and in the studio.

Before Buckley had reached his 20th birthday, he'd released his debut album. The slightly fey but enormously promising effort highlighted his soaring melodies and romantic, opaque lyrics. Baroque psychedelia was the order of the day for many Elektra releases of the time, and Buckley's early folk-rock albums were embellished with important contributions from musicians Lee Underwood (guitar), Van Dyke Parks (keyboards), Jim Fielder (bass), and Jerry Yester. Larry Beckett was also an overlooked contributor to Buckley's first two albums, co-writing many of the songs.


The fragile, melancholic, orchestrated beauty of the material had an innocent quality that was dampened only slightly on the second LP, Goodbye and Hello (1967). Buckley's songs and arrangements became more ambitious and psychedelic, particularly on the lengthy title track. This was also his only album to reach the Top 200.


Buckley was always an artist who found his primary constituency among the underground, even for his most accessible efforts. His third album, Happy Sad, found him going in a decidedly jazzier direction in both his vocalizing and his instrumentation, introducing congas and vibes.


The truth was, by the late '60s Buckley was hardly interested in folk-rock at all. He was more intrigued by jazz; not only soothing modern jazz (as heard on the posthumous release of acoustic 1968 live material, Dream Letter), but also its most avant-garde strains. His songs became much more oblique in structure, and skeletal in lyrics.
Some of his songs abandoned lyrics almost entirely, treating his voice itself as an instrument, wordlessly contorting, screaming, and moaning, sometimes quite cacophonously. In this context, Lorca was viewed by most fans and critics not just as a shocking departure, but a downright bummer.

Almost as if to prove that he was still capable of gentle, uplifting jazzy pop-folk, Buckley issued Blue Afternoon around the same time. Bizarrely, Blue Afternoon and Lorca were issued almost simultaneously, on different labels. While an admirable demonstration of his versatility, it was commercial near-suicide, each album canceling the impact of the other, as well as confusing his remaining fans.

Buckley's life came to a sudden end in the middle of 1975, when he died of a heroin overdose aged just 28 after completing a tour. His son Jeff Buckley went on to mount a musical career as well before his own tragic death in 1997.

- Biography written by Richie Unterberger.

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Tim later went on to make music in the 70's, experimenting with genres such as sex funk, jazz and improvisation.









 

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I first discovered Tim's music at the beginning of 2016. Over time I have come to appreciate his many different styles.

Here are some of my all time favorite songs:





 

recgord27

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I agree. I always wonder how his music would have progressed further into the future. Off topic: I see by your avatar you like Rodriguez, he's awesome! :D
Yeah. Both Tim and Jeff Buckley were unique talents. It would have been so cool if they could have worked on a father and son album in their later years. The hand of fate was not kind to that family, unfortunately :(
Regarding Rodriguez, I've been a huge fan of his since the mid 70's. :grinthumb I was so pleased that he finally got the recognition he deserved with the "Searching For Sugarman" movie.
 

analoggal

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It was a frigid November night in 1974. We were flying (yes, flying would be the correct term) down I-94 in our '74 Chevy van, on the way to the Michigan Palace to see Tim Buckley and Rush. What a wonderful concert. Tim Buckley was mesmerizing. It was the first time I ever saw a 12-string. He was pure genius and I was truly blessed to see him.

The Michigan Palace venue was itself an experience. Red velvet curtains and a huge winding staircase, which you needed to traverse to reach the women's bathroom. For some reason, guys completely lined the staircase on both sides - you need to realize that in '74, there were usually about 10 guys to every gal at concerts, so we were outnumbered - and every time I went to use the facilities, I got my rear pinched and slapped all the way up and back down the stairs. All in all, that was an unforgettable concert!

Tim Buckley has been a long-time favorite of mine. How fortunate I was to see him live.
 

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