Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tim Buckley

My friend Fast Eddie and I saw Tim play once, at The Main Point, a tiny coffeehouse outside of Philadelphia on Lancaster Avenue. It was either in 1973 or 74, he was with a trio of musicians and I mostly remember the feeling of the performance more than any particulars. It was an unaffected melancholy; a genuine world-weariness that pervaded the show.

I have always loved Tim's voice, even though I find the son, Jeff, a second rate parody of the father (to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, "Only someone with a heart of stone can listen to Jeff Buckley sing 'Hallelujah' without laughing."). It is his second, third and fourth LPs, Goodbye and Hello (1967), Happy Sad (1969) and Blue Afternoon (1969) that are my favorites, though I appreciate the later, more experimental, efforts.

What I think of as his best album wasn't released until fifteen years after his death in 1975 at the age of 28. Dream Letter: Live in London 1968 (1990) is a double live LP (yes, it was released on vinyl as well as CD) that manages to capture all his best qualities. It also has my favorite of his songs, "Morning Glory." There is a cover version that is on the very first Blood, Sweat and Tears album, Child Is Father to the Man (1968), their debut (the band founded and led by Al Kooper and not the one featuring vocalist David Clayton Thomas) and another of the "best records by anybody ever."

A wonderful song; this version from Late Night Line Up from the BBC has surfaced on Youtube and is as perfect as perfect gets. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Stu Shea said...

god be praised.