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HAPPY SAD

Tim Buckley

Prog Folk


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Tim Buckley Happy Sad album cover
3.60 | 30 ratings | 4 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

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

Total time 44:45

Lyrics

Search TIM BUCKLEY Happy Sad lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Tim Buckley / Vocals, 12-string guitar
- Lee Underwood / lead guitar
- Carter C.C. Collins / congas
- John Miller / acoustic bass
- David Friedman / vibes & bass marimba


Producers: Jerry Yester and Zal Yanovsky
Production Supervisor: Jac Holzman
Engineering: Bruce Botnick

Releases information

LP - Asylum (1969)
CD - Elektra 7559-74045-2 (1989)
LP - 4 Men With Beards (2007)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to easy ivin for the last updates
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Greetings From L.A.Greetings From L.A.
Import
Warner Bros UK 1999
Audio CD$4.21
$0.60 (used)
Original Album SeriesOriginal Album Series
Box set · Import
Warner Bros UK 2011
Audio CD$14.22
$21.52 (used)
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Elektra / Wea 2006
Audio CD$2.78
$2.09 (used)
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Elektra / Wea 2001
Audio CD$11.99
$1.14 (used)
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Limited Edition · Remastered
Rhino / Wea 2003
Audio CD$24.99
$15.15 (used)
Dream Letter (Double CD)Dream Letter (Double CD)
Manifesto Records 2010
Audio CD$11.54
$7.40 (used)
Goodbye & HelloGoodbye & Hello
Elektra / Ada 1989
Audio CD$4.66
$1.25 (used)
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Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
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TIM BUCKLEY Happy Sad ratings distribution


3.60
(30 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
40%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

TIM BUCKLEY Happy Sad reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!!

With this album, the real Tim Buckley is now out and he will stand out as one of the most arresting artiste this planet will hear. Forcefully keeping the engineers out of his music scheme and cantoning them into just sound-technician, he strengthfully marched onwards with his jazz-infested folk rock that was to devastate the ears and minds of many young music lovers. Not caring about what Jerry Yester and Zal Yanovski were thinking, Tim only played things the way he wanted to. If G&H had a day side and a night side, Happy Sad was also a dual affair, but a much sombre one, were clear the sad part seem to win at first but as the number of listens to this album increase, it slowly unravels that the happier side is at least as present if not more. Tim was of course in full flight, both in terms of his backing group (see below), but also in drug abuse, (which were not yet taking their toll), and certainly helping him daring to write such forceful music.

Tim's backing band's unusual line-up was an integral part of his successful sound. With him on 12 string guitar and his amazing vocal range, he was the archetypal raconteur-troubadour, but he couldn't have been that with CC Carter's superb conga playing (advantageously replacing the usual drummer), Lee Underwood's incredibly discreet, yet so complementary electric guitar lines, and whether electric or acoustic, Tim was always accompanied by excellent bassists. With his group now invading the studio premises, Happy Sad closed the gap between his concert/stage shows and his definitive studio 180° angle turning away from the role he was given and his wish to be a jazz musician. For some reasons (Beckett being in the army, if memory serves), this album was written by Tim alone, lyrics included, and this might have been a clincher for this deep songwriting.

Right from the start of Strange Feeling, Tim's voice takes on the lower tone, sometimes soulful and menacing with the group's discreet playing a superb second fiddle to Tim's voice. Yes Tim's voice becomes a lead instrument, something that he uses for solos, like Miles would for his trumpet. David Friedman's vibes also providing the perfect jazz bedding in contrast with Tim's yoddlings, rantings, yellings and howlings. The following Buzzin' Fly is probably more a reference to his drugged-out trips than some insect he was chasing during in a sleep^less night in a bedroom. This second track regains a bit of the folk and Tim's voice is soaring, reminiscent of G&H, but that was another decade. Closing side A is the almost 11-mins Love From Room 109, starting with a bunch of waves recorded on the Pacific Coast Highway (where Tim lived with his lover Jane), and these waves sounds covered a screw up in the studio and extra tape hiss showing up. Actually this track, supposed to homage to his bedroom antics (at least legend has it, and that to offend his waiting wife) is quiet affair that overstays its welcome by at least two or three minutes, especially during Friedman's vibe solo.

The flipside opens on one of Tim's most haunting track, the bowed-bass driven Dream Letter, apparently to his son (although he hadn't seen him more than 3 times and reluctantly as well), this song being highly emotional, but Underwood's electric guitar is awesome and reminding Ant Philips in the middle section of White Mountains. Awesome. The 12-mins+ Gypsy Woman is another splendid track, where CC Carter's congas play a major rolealong with Friedman's bass marimba. The track takes a while to build up, but again, this was Tim's idea to upset the Elektra folks by "wasting" valid vinyl space. And if you listen to the group's slow but amazing build-up, you can't but agree with Tim holding out for his ideas, because by the time his howling voice comes in the track has a haunting jazz- inflected bayou boogie (I bet Fogerty's CCR were green of jealousy with this track). Buckley's voice is now at his apex, as he uses his full range in mad rantings amid voodoo dolls and when the tracks slows down to a sinister bowed-bass note and almost stops, you're out looking for headless chicken and goatheads in your bedroom. Blood-curdling performance, no mater what Holzman, Botnick, Yanovsky or Yester might think. How can you follow up such a track? By not even trying, as the short Song For You is a bit of a throw-away to add insult to injury to the Elektra staff.

With HS, Buckley came out as a full bodied artiste, out for truly inventive music that would rival most of the progressive rock groups of that same era. It is during this time that a rather insignificant line-up change (the arrival of the adventurous John Balkin in replacement for the lost out John Miller) happened and would indeed turn Tim towards avant-garde music. But for the Elektra people, if HS peaked higher in the charts, it sold less than G&H, which is normal, since HS did not capitalize of G&H's success and had to find its own way. But this was judged treason, but had yet another album on contract. As for progheads, you can safely invest in this album, even if it won't give itself all that easily, you're bound to love it rather quickly.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#176970) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Life's what you make it

No sooner had Tim Buckley started to achieve commercial success with his second album "Goodbye and hello", but he set about seemingly turning his back on everything which had served him well thus far. Any hints on "Goodbye and hello" of Buckley wishing to move on from his folk singer roots were merely skimming the surface of the ambitions he apparently held in other styles.

Part of the reason for the fundamental change in Buckley's style was the departure of his writing colleague Larry Beckett who went off to join the army. Buckley set about recording this album in 1968 (still only 21 years old), although it was not released until 1969. At best, the album received a mixed reception from both the fans, who sought more of Buckley's fine folk songs, and by the record label, who struggled to spot the potential hit singles. The album did find commercial success though, entering the US top 100 albums chart, but history does not record how many of those who bought the album got what they were hoping for.

The first thing we notice about "Happy sad" when comparing it to its predecessors, is the length of the tracks. There are just six songs on the album, two of which are over 10 minutes long. The opening "Strange feelin'" is a melancholy, understated affair, quite unlike anything on the previous albums. According to Lee Underwood, the song was inspired by Miles Davis' "All blues". The following "Buzzin' fly" sounds a bit more familiar, being an older song of Tim's which he adapts here into a 6 minute, relatively upbeat number. Buckley actually sounds rather like Glen Campbell, the song having a slight country twinge. Even here though, the song is extended from the simplistic type of Buckey's first pair of albums, mainly through an adventurous arrangement.

"Love From Room 109 At The Islander (On Pacific Coast Highway)" is the first of the 10+ minute songs. Here, we revert to the moodier, minimalist style, the piece drifting along with Tim appearing to improvise vocally at times. The song is a rather dense affair, which will appeal to those who enjoy the later work of Talk Talk and Mark Hollis (for example). Indeed, the parallels with the way Talk Talk later migrated from their pop foundations to a minimalist band are interestingly similar. The sea sounds were reportedly added to disguise a buzz on the recordings.

"Dream letter" is Tim's more conciliatory approach to his estranged wife, the lyrics being altogether less abrasive than his previous epistle to her "I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain". It is clear here that Tim is now missing his son Jeff considerably. The second of the very long tracks is the 12 minute "Gypsy woman". This is primarily an excuse for a lengthy jam, with little evidence of a strong underlying composition. It has the feel of one of Traffic's long live indulgences, with Buckley adding what sound like made up as you go vocals as an additional instrument. As someone with a general aversion to jazz, it does not rock my boat much at all.

The album closes in more conventional fashion with the short "Sing a song for you". This song is more in keeping with what appeared on the previous albums, and is therefore rather out of place here.

Depending on your perspective, this album is either a fine example of proto prog experimentation, or a self indulgent ramble by a highly talented singer-songwriter. There is no doubt that Buckley's desire to stretch himself was not simply a drug induced fantasy, but a genuine musical ambition. Tim is to be admired for his willingness to turn his back on commercial appeal in order to pursue his vision. The downside is that such a quest does not necessarily result in something that is actually enjoyable. For me, that is where this album largely fails, I simply do not like it.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#179877) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 18, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Happy Sad" is the Third full-length studio album by singer/songwriter Tim Buckley. The album was released through Elektra Records in July 1969. With "Happy Sad", Tim Buckley takes a big step away from the commercial folk pop/rock of his first two albums and enters the world of experimental and progressive folk rock. The basis in the music is still in blues and folk though. A darkness, that was only hinted at on the first two albums, has crept into the tracks on "Happy Sad". Best examplified in the tracks "Love From Room 109 At The Islander (On Pacific Coast Highway)" and "Dream Letter". While those two tracks are the highligths on the album to me, all tracks are actually of high quality and I really enjoy how this album sounds. The 12:19 minute long "Gypsy Woman" needs a mention too for its hypnotic and tripped atmosphere. It´s basicly one long jam. The music may seem a bit inaccessible at first listen but the melodies grow and most tracks are actually quite simple even though some of them feature sophisticated arrangements.

The music is pre-dominantly acoustic. Acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, vibes, marimba and congas are the instrumental foundation. Add to that some electric guitar leads and of course Tim Buckley´s strong and emotional vocals. He is such a powerful and distinct singer. His emotional delivery is deeply touching. The kinda delivery where you know the person who delivers it has lived through bad times...

The production is organic and there´s an organic live feel to the album that´s fascinating.

I´ve been a bit in doubt about what to rate "Happy Sad" but since it still grows on me with every listen my rating is 3.5 - 4 stars (75%). I like the development in Tim Buckley´s sound since the debut. The first two albums are good but this is where I would start if you´re interesterd in his more innovative and experimental sounding albums. The next couple of albums would explore this even further, but this could prove to be a "lighter" introduction to the more experimental part of his discography.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#249894) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is Tim Buckley's high water mark, his right of ascension. The childish tomfoolery is gone, what this record brings to bear is a mature, focused artist whose voice is so powerful Paul "Earthquake" Pena called him "The Dinosaur Exterminator". This is a record for a sunny day sitting by a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1056624) | Posted by Suedevanshoe | Tuesday, October 08, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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