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Tim Buckley

Prog Folk

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Tim Buckley Blue Afternoon album cover
3.78 | 43 ratings | 5 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Happy Time (3:15)
2. Chase the Blues Away (5:10)
3. I Must Have Been Blind (3:40)
4. The River (5:47)
5. So Lonely (3:27)
6. Cafe (5:40)
7. Blue Melody (4:55)
8. The Train (7:53)

Total Time 39:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Tim Buckley / vocals, 12-string guitar, producer

- Lee Underwood / guitar, piano
- John Miller / acoustic & electric basses
- Jimmy Madison / drums
- David Friedman / vibes
- Carter C.C. Collins / congas (7)

Releases information

Artwork: John Williams

LP Straight ‎- STS 1060 (1969, US)
LP 4 Men With Beards ‎- 4M133 (2007, US)

CD Straight ‎- R2 70356 (1989, US)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy TIM BUCKLEY Blue Afternoon Music

TIM BUCKLEY Blue Afternoon ratings distribution

(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TIM BUCKLEY Blue Afternoon reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
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

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Blue Afternoon" is the 4th full-length studio album by US experimental folk rock artist Tim Buckley. The album was released through the Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa owned Straight Records label in November 1969 (his debut on that label). "Blue Afternoon" was recorded during a very busy four week period in 1969, where the very different sounding 5th full-length studio album "Lorca (1970)" and some of the material that ended up on the 6th full-length studio album "Starsailor (1970)", were also recorded. Most of the material were already written during the "Happy Sad (1969)" sessions earlier in the year though.

"Blue Afternoon" is more or less a sibling album to "Happy Sad (1969)" and again explore the border area between folk rock and loose jamming experimentation (with a touch of avant garde) and mellow jazz. Compared to "Happy Sad (1969)" I think "Blue Afternoon" is a more straight folk rock album than it´s predecessor though.

Tim Buckley´s unique and emotional vocals are the center of attention as always and the instrumentation is predominantly acoustic as usual too, which provides the album with a pleasant, warm and organic sound. The real strength in the music, in addition to the emotional vocal delivery, are the strong vocal melodies. But the instrumental performances are also skillfully and tastefully delivered. The most experimental track on the album is the closing track "Train", which stands out quite a bit from the rest of the material. Other highlights on the album are the dark and mellow "Chase the Blues Away", "River" and "Cafe".

The sound production is warm and organic. It´s the kind of production where it feels like you´re standing in the same room as the musicians, while they are recording. "Blue Afternoon" is overall a great quality album release by Tim Buckley, full of warmth, heartfelt longing, and melancholy. It´s a perfect sibling album to "Happy Sad (1969)" and if you like one, you´re pretty much bound to enjoy the other as well. As the case was with "Happy Sad (1969)", "Blue Afternoon" bridges the gap between the mainstream oriented early relases in Tim Buckley´s discography and the more experimental/avant garde oriented releases "Lorca (1970)" and "Starsailor (1970)". A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars There is no doubt Tim Buckley's third album is wonderful and beautiful in many moments. The album is more folk and psych than prog, like the first part of the album. "Blue Afternoon", is a calm, mellow, gentle album, with a nice touch of autumn melancholy and lyrical profoundness. The first part of the album is beautiful, each song is memorable and touching, especially the opener "Happy Time" which has a melody that reminds me of "Song for The Siren" The second part isn't quite as beautiful; it's more reflexive, even more calm and generally slower. Consequently, the music has a lower tune in this second part. Anyway the album is excellent, highly recommended.
Review by jamesbaldwin
4 stars "Blue Afternoon" is a very beautiful album that is hidden between two masterpieces, "Happy Sad" and "Lorca" (even if Lorca was recorded before Blue Afternoon).

"Happy Time" (vote 7+) part slowly, relaxed, with the rhythmic acoustic guitar and the electric guitar to make variations. The almost country sound and the voice of Tim recall the atmosphere of John Denver, who right in those years began his career. "Chase the Blues Away" (vote 7.5) is even softer in the arrangements but the bass and guitar draw jazz frescos that develop over time and the voice becomes warmer and more threatening. "I Must Have Been Blind" (Vote 7.5/8) is more rhythmic and the voice fills the scene more, up to hover in a beautiful progression. "The River", almost 6 minutes, is more evocative than the previous songs, thanks to the percussions and the vibraphone, and the thrilling atmosphere (vote 7,5/8). End of side A.

"So Lonely" opens side B. it's the lightest song, sung like a doggerel (vote 6,5). "Cafe" is quiet, subdued, painful, is a song involute, introvert, difficult, which puts a strain on the listener for its length (5 minutes and a half). Fortunately, there is the singing and the electric guitar to embellish it (vote 7+). "Blue Melody" has a jazz melody and arrangement (piano, acoustic bass). The mood is still introvert but more sliding and after the minutes the song take strength (vote 8). "The Train", the final song, almost 8 minutes, is different from the others for his irreverence, his compulsive and almost paroxysmal rhythm, as often happens in the last songs of the album of Buckley (vote 8+).

At the end of an album composed by calm songs, with acoustic rhythm guitar to mark the rhythm, electric guitar and voice to do the improvisations, and vibraphone in the background, arrive the anxiety, the sabbatic dance. "The Train" represents the peak of an album that although not having, apart from this, songs that stand out, always presents a medium quality of the pieces rather high.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,47. Vote album: 8+. Four stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Blue Afternoon finds Tim Buckley installed at Frank Zappa and Herb Cohen's Stragiht Records and taking the weird dream-folk direction of Happy Sad into an even more magical direction. Both working with brand new material and polishing pieces which had been worked on during the Happy Sad period, Buckley proves that Happy Sad was no mere flash in the pan but the beginning of an extended period of experimentation, with the spacey jazz influence here to stay. At the same time, the songs feel a bit more structured as songs this time around, and on the whole the album is somewhat more accessible than its predecessor - the really out there stuff being saved for the followup Lorca.

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