The original Starsailor. Two-CD compilation of Buckley Sr's finest songs
If your mum was a Tim Buckley fan, chances are she smoked more dope’n you do. And possibly still does. This anthology, the first comprehensive one of its kind – two CDs, 37 songs, one infinitely creative madman – practically levitates with the spirit of altered states and midnight fireflies doing the introspective swallow-dive round the head of a terminal stoner, wearing a poncho.
Tim has long been, officially, the Grandpa Of NAM, heralded today as the specific blueprint for Starsailor. This is a collection ‘designed’ to show the full diversity in the vision of a man who had no vision at all other than to sing, shriek, save his soul and break everyone else’s heart in a billion kaleidoscopic fractals. Mercy! Taken from nine albums, through ’66 to ’74, it’s a spook-rock spectrum ranging from Gaelic druid-folk madrigal huftings (the early years), to sumptuous piano whimsy (‘Morning Glory’) to comedy-court-jester smock-rock (‘Goodbye And Hello’). There’s calm, thankfully, after the adolescent storm, a stunning meander through the class-soul dignity of ‘I Must Have Been Blind’, Nick Cave-blues-lament mourning in ‘The River’, a selection of jazzy flutings, Jim Morrison exploding in the desert, all the way to heart-flailing deep-thrum gospel. And, of course, the original ‘Song To The Siren’, still stunning, reprieved here with its never-before-released version from The Monkees’ TV show. Tim Buckley, dead at 28, was A Unique Voice and here’s the chart of its full progression; from an over-studied yodel to the finest falsetto of Prince to the vivid blues-soul nobility of Billie Holiday herself. Shocking, really.
Bewildering, hilarious and magical, this is the chronicle of a bygone alien dimension where technology, celebrity and conformity barely existed, as far away from the 21st century as you can possibly imagine. The human soul, though, as Tim Buckley knew, remains exactly the same.