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Tim Buckley - Blue Afternoon CD (album) cover

BLUE AFTERNOON

Tim Buckley

 

Prog Folk

3.80 | 33 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Recorded after Lorca, but released before it, Blue Afternoon marks the debut on the Straight Record, a subsidiary label to Zappa's own label. The new label had indeed asked Tim to see if he had some more accessible songs so they could promote the album properly, something Tim would grudgingly do, going back into his music sheets and pulling some 8 songs that had been unused before. While this might be revealing of the average quality of the tracks on this album, he did pull out of his pocket a few beauties that would lighten up the record, but the mood was still very sombre and the line-up playing on this album is the last one for his "jazz group" line-up.

It's a little strange to hear a song called Happy Time (most likely a leftover from Goodbye & Hello) with such a melancholic tone both in the music (the same line-up as in Lorca, but wasn't given the space) and in voice (Tim uses the lower frequency octave of his voice, whereas when it was written, he would've sung at least a couple octave higher, thus giving a depressive feel to what should've been a happy tune. Was this part of Tim's self sabotaging? Difficult to say, but that opening track sets the tone for the whole album, starting with Chasing The Blues Away, which although beautiful, it does anything but chase it away. A little further away, we have the splendid The River (inspired by a Sam Cooke track), but the mood stays oppressively dark. The flipside is no different with the self-explanatory So Lonely and the very slow Café (yet superb, but best listened to with headphones) and the lengthy (the only track above 6 minutes) closing The Train, where Tim finally raises his voice, almost showing us the track was probably written during for Lorca or Happy Sad sessions, and it comes with a fairly dissonant middle section and a Tim-esque sessions of yodelling, yapping, yelling that brings us to what we (and Tim) want. The main difference between this depressive album and the awesome but gloomy Lorca is Tim's enthusiasm and the tracks' structures (time-wise and interplay-wise), where here everything seems voluntarily restrained and subdued, and in Lorca, every horses flying on freedom's wings.

Blue Afternoon is a bit of a lost album in Tim's early discography, one that couldn't choose its camp between commercial happy Tim and the more introspective jazz artiste he dearly wanted to be. Another down point is that this is the last of Tim's original jazz band, as for Starsailor, only guitarist Underwood and bassist Balkin remained. But this is another story

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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