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Tim Buckley: happy/sad (Elektra 7559-74045-2)


First read about him in the - truly great - NME of the late 70s...a weekly that “balanced” its somewhat overly-breathless reportage of the (all-too-brief) golden age of British post-punk w/basically-accurate forecasts of exactly what (relatively) recent stuff the next few generations of genuinely-inventive musicians’d take their main cues from.

And, of all that they - alone - introduced me to (cause I had a bunch of other sources), there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that the most significant was said Tim Buckley...

...the father...

Cause - sadly, to my mind - most of the younger set insist on seeing him though the prism of his son...who (yet again) died randomly...but - this time - at the behest of the great Mississippi, at its cruelist...

But still...to be real...all that is (completely) irrelevant here. Because this - along w/Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks - is, undoubtedly, by far the most inventive cross-take between jazz and folk fluidities that was ever delivered in that (all-too-brief) high period of late-sixties musical inventiveness...and - yet - this one still remains sadly unknown to most of the large audience who would now so cherish it...well beyond it’s initial (uncomprehending) reception...

“strange feelin’” opens...amidst a drift of vibes, acoustic bass & twelve-string, under an eerily-easy, yet impassionately floating vocal...and - quite simply - that feeling never really lets up... Seriously dissatisfied w/his previous two LPs - and newly enraptured w/Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue - he now stripped things back to one unique form of folk-jazz quintet...and, in the process, delivered one of my absolute favourite albums ...passionate/poised, and...(still) completely unique in the annals of recorded music.

Because...I’ve never - ever - heard any other album that so ecstatically blends heartfelt regret & that (driven) feeling that finally overcomes same...without, in any way, devaluing the former. And...all of this without - again, in any way - sacrificing the simplicity that most naive listeners require. And, that most of the rest of us hope for...albeit we have (basically) learned not to expect.

And, it should’ve been the biggest hit of his career... Instead, it was tragically misunderstood...as a hermetic retreat. And, believing this, he then fulfilled the prophesy - in oddly various (and mainly marvellous) ways - until his untimely death...tragically slain by an admirer with a chemical fixation.

but this - this - truly - is his masterpiece




John Henry Calvinist