Tim Buckley – Greetings From L A (1975)

AllMusic Review: Stepping back from the swooping avant-garde touches of Starsailor for a fairly greasy, funky, honky tonk set of songs, the opening lines of Greetings from L.A. set the tone: “I went down to the meat rack tavern/And I found myself a big ol’ healthy girl.” Sassy backing vocalists, honking sax, and more add to the atmosphere, while Tim Buckley himself blends his vocal acrobatics with touches not unfamiliar to fans of Mick Jagger or Jim Morrison. The studio band backing him up might not be the equal to, say, War, but in their own way they do the business; extra touches like the string arrangement on “Sweet Surrender” help all the more. The argument that this was all somehow a compromise or sellout doesn’t seem to entirely wash. While no doubt there were commercial pressures at play, given Buckley’s constant change from album to album it seems like he simply found something else to try, which he did with gusto. “Get On Top,” one of his best numbers, certainly doesn’t sound like something aimed for the charts. The music may have a solid groove to it (Kevin Kelly’s organ is worth a mention), but Buckley’s frank lyrics and improv scatting both show it as him following his own muse. — Ned Raggett

Track Listing

All tracks by Tim Buckley, except where noted.

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Move With Me” Tim Buckley, Jerry Goldstein 4:52
2. “Get on Top” 6:33
3. “Sweet Surrender” 6:47
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
4. “Nighthawkin'” 3:21
5. “Devil Eyes” 6:50
6. “Hong Kong Bar” Tim Buckley, Joe Falsia 7:08
7. “Make It Right” Tim Buckley, Larry Beckett, Joe Falsia, Jerry Goldstein 4:07

 

Schill Score:  9/10

 

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Tim Buckley – Goodbye And Hello (1968)

Often cited as the ultimate Tim Buckley statement, Goodbye and Hello is indeed a fabulous album, but it’s merely one side of Tim Buckley’s enormous talent. Recorded in the middle of 1967 (in the afterglow of Sgt. Pepper), this album is clearly inspired by Pepper’s exploratory spirit. More often than not, this helps to bring Buckley’s awesome musical vision home, but occasionally falters. Not that the album is overrated (it’s not), it’s just that it is only one side of Buckley. The finest songs on the album were written by him alone, particularly “Once I Was” and “Pleasant Street.” Buoyed by Jerry Yester’s excellent production, these tracks are easily among the finest example of Buckley’s psychedelic/folk vision. A few tracks, namely the title cut and “No Man Can Find the War,” were co-written by poet Larry Beckett. While Beckett’s lyrics are undoubtedly literate and evocative, they occasionally tend to be too heavy-handed for Buckley. However, this is a minor criticism of an excellent and revolutionary album that was a quantum leap for both Tim Buckley and the audience. — Matthew Greenwald

Track Listing:

 

All songs written by Tim Buckley, except where noted.

Side One

  1. “No Man Can Find the War” (Larry Beckett, Buckley) – 2:58
  2. “Carnival Song” – 3:10
  3. “Pleasant Street” – 5:15
  4. “Hallucinations” (Beckett, Buckley) – 4:55
  5. “I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain” – 6:02

Side Two

  1. “Once I Was” – 3:22
  2. “Phantasmagoria in Two” – 3:29
  3. “Knight-Errant” (Beckett, Buckley) – 2:00
  4. “Goodbye and Hello” (Beckett, Buckley) – 8:38
  5. “Morning Glory” (Beckett, Buckley) – 2:52

 

Schill Score:  5.5/10

 

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Tim Buckley – Happy Sad (1968)

AllMusic Review: Easily Tim Buckley’s most underrated album, Happy Sad was another departure for the eclectic Southern California-based singer/songwriter. After the success of the widely acclaimed Goodbye and Hello, Buckley mellowed enough to explore his jazz roots. Sounding like Fred Neil’s Capitol-era albums, Buckley and his small, acoustic-based ensemble weave elegant, minimalist tapestries around the six Buckley originals. The effect is completely mesmerizing. On “Buzzin’ Fly” and “Strange Feelin’,” you are slowly drawn into Buckley’s intoxicating vision. The extended opus in the middle of the record, “Love From Room 109,” is an intense, complex composition. Lovingly under-produced by Jerry Yester and Zal Yanovsky, this is one of the finest records of the late ’60s. —Matthew Greenwald

Track Listing:

Side One

  1. “Strange Feelin'” – 7:40
  2. “Buzzin’ Fly” – 6:04
  3. “Love from Room 109 at the Islander (On Pacific Coast Highway)” – 10:49

Side Two

  1. “Dream Letter” – 5:12
  2. “Gypsy Woman” – 12:19
  3. “Sing a Song for You” – 2:39

 

Schill Score: 7/10

 

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