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Tim Buckley - Tim Buckley CD (album) cover


Tim Buckley


Prog Folk

3.02 | 43 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Bohemians rhapsodies

We have to go way back to 1966 to find Tim Buckley's debut album. He recorded this release while still a teenager, Elektra records having signed him as a singer/songwriter in the folk vein of artists such as Tom Paxton. They certainly got what they paid for with this first release, although Buckley would display an urge to move into altogether more challenging and innovative areas soon afterwards.

"Tim Buckley" was released 2 days after the birth of Tim's son Jeff Buckley in late 1966. We should remember that in 1966, prog was not even a glint in the eye, although there were some proto-prog releases starting to appear. This is most definitely not one of them. Here we have a highly accomplished and enjoyable folk pop album which finds Buckley sounding at times like the aforementioned Paxton, and at times like the great Roy Orbison. Unlike later Buckley releases, this album needs to be looked at on that basis, rather than looked to for early signs of prog.

The first thing which strikes us is Buckley's fine voice. At this stage, he is effectively still the lead singer in a band (The Bohemians), the rest of the members agreeing that it made sense to give their leader the recognition he warranted (as an aside, the other three members of Creedence Clearwater Revival might have been well advised to have done the same in respect of John Fogerty).

While it would never win any prizes for originality even then, there is a wonderful beauty and innocence to the music. The Mama's and the Papas, Family Dogg, Gary Puckett and many more were using songs such as these to mesmerise the record buying public on both sides of the Atlantic. Songs such as "Wings" not only display the richness of Buckley's voice, but also his ability to capture a fine melody and set it to atmospheric lyrics. That said, the lyrics of Buckley's songs tend to be lighter than might be expected of your average singer/songwriter following in the wake of Dylan, the presentation of the songs clearly being the most important thing as far as Tim is concerned.

We do get occasional changes of tempo within the song, but on "Strange street affair under blue" for instance, it is merely in the form of a "Zorba's dance" like quickening and slowing. The most obvious hint of what is to come is "Song slowly song", a soft, broody number with a sparse arrangement, devoid of the strings which embellish many other songs here.

In all, a fine demonstration record of Buckley's ear for a strong melody, and for his alluring singing. Those who enjoy the US folk music of artists such as Tom Paxton and Pete Seeger should enjoy this collection a lot. It should be recognised though that had Buckley not moved on from his style here, he would not be listed on this site.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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