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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surely the greatest currently unavailable album
I've only really become a Tim Buckley fan in the last year, but I've fallen completely in love with his music in a way that I rarely do. For someone so talented to be so underappreciated is such a shame. But the worse crime is the fact that his back catalogue has been so badly mistreated. In my opinion, two of his best albums are still unavailable on CD (although I...
Published on 22 Nov 2003 by John

versus
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great record but LP slightly damaged during production
Great record and fast delivery, but a downside is that the vinyl (Four Men with Beards label version) had damage caused during manufacture.

When I got the record out of its inner sleeve I noticed it looked like a fine sandpaper had been wiped across the record surface. It looks like this happened due to the disc being forced into the nasty rough paper inner...
Published 14 months ago by J. R. Howarth


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surely the greatest currently unavailable album, 22 Nov 2003
This review is from: Starsailor (Audio CD)
I've only really become a Tim Buckley fan in the last year, but I've fallen completely in love with his music in a way that I rarely do. For someone so talented to be so underappreciated is such a shame. But the worse crime is the fact that his back catalogue has been so badly mistreated. In my opinion, two of his best albums are still unavailable on CD (although I believe that it's still possible to get hold of Blue Afternoon on vinyl).
Saying that, the first time I listened to Starsailor, I didn't get it. And the next few listens I didn't get it either. But then it all started coming together and I started to appreciate it.
What impresses most is the tightness of the band on this album. Just listen to Monterey and Down by the Borderline, both utterly amazing tunes, with Tim delivering some of his most eccentric (and best) vocals ever - he used to try and imitate the sounds of trumpets with his voice, and you can hear this to amazing effect on Down by the Borderline especially.
And of course there's the impossibly gorgeous Song to the Siren (covered fantastically by This Mortal Coil). To some it may seem out of place on this album (it does date back a couple of years previous to this recording of it), but it does provide a nice respite from some of the more full-on songs.
As I said before, it's a great shame that this long-deleted album hasn't been reissued. Especially since I for one (and I know many others) would love to own a proper cd copy of this. When these do show up on ebay, they go for a fortune, so there's obviously a market for them. This album has been considered by many (including Tim) to be his masterpiece, and the fact that there are people who would love to own a copy of this now does a great disservice to the record and the man
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sailing Into Obscurity, 20 Nov 2003
This review is from: Starsailor (Audio CD)
As most people will not have heard this album it can be very irritating to read a smug review by someone who has.If you're reading this, however, the chances are you are either a Tim Buckley fan already or are looking for information on the group 'Starsailor'.Can't help those in the second category but for any devotees of Buckley not lucky enough to own a copy of this album, I can only hope that it does receive another pressing because it is simply too good to remain an unheard obscure footnote.
'Starsailor' takes the experimentation of 'Lorca' - particularly that album's title track - to it's logical conclusion.The spikey rhythms and intense vocal gymnastics make for sometimes disturbing listening and as a standalone album it would probably not entice the listener unfamiliar with Buckley's previous efforts, despite the appearance of 'Moulin Rouge' and 'Song To The Siren'.However, each song improves with repeated listening as one becomes more familiar with it's radical shifts and each song does inhabit a genre of it's own.
Lyrically Buckley is also out on a limb - witness the unfettered outburst of 'Mama let me smell your thighs' on opener 'Come Here Woman'.
It is this unrestrained freedom of expression, in words and in music, that makes 'Starsailor' such compelling listening.Try listening to 'Greetings From L.A.' after this; you will find it formulaic and bland.To paraphrase the man himself: 'If you come to love [Starsailor], you will stay forever...'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buckley's greatest work, 10 Oct 2009
By 
J. R. P. Wigman "Hans Wigman" (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starsailor (Audio CD)
Tim Buckley travelled along a lot of musical paths, and some of these travels resulted in glorious records. "Happy/sad" is the album I love best, but "Starsailor", while more difficult to get into, is very likely the artistical high point of his career.
I should mention that I'm not totally convinced of the contributions of Lee Underwood to Buckley's records: his shadow looms heavily over a lot of Buckley's work and as he's not the genius Buckley was, his presence sometimes is a bit much, and this holds true for "Starsailor" as well. On the other hand, all other contributors to this album deserve a lot of praise for outstanding work.
I find side one (with songs like Come here woman and Moulin Rouge) the weaker of the two, but side two can't be faulted. Suberbly imaginative and experimental songs flow in a well chosen order, leaving the listener completely stunned.
Most famous of course is "Song to the Siren" which doesn't need any introduction. Nevertheless, it's not the greatest song on the record. It's "Starsailor" itself. What an amazing piece of experimental work it is! The words of a great poem ("I am a bee out in the fields of winter ....") are twisted and turned in a swirl of Buckley voices, giving the song an otherworldly atmosphere. I feel that there are some ways out of the stalemate of the "pop/rock-format" which has been milked totally dry and one of them is signposted by this Tim Buckley song.
A lot of people reviewing this album seem to focus on songs like "Song to the Siren". I'm telling you that the real treasure lies in the song that gives the album its name.
Whenever this album is available again snap it up like lightning, because this is one of the truly great modern records - and, because of its extremely limited availability all these years, criminally undervalued.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars long afloat on shipless oceans, 10 Mar 2007
This review is from: Starsailor (Audio CD)
Well, what can you say? The idea that this one and Blue Afternoon are not in print is just another in a series of glimpses into the Living Hell we like to call the Music Business.

To say that this album is essential, completely singular and unique would just restate the obvious. When you talk about Starsailor you're talking about one of the most visionary, uncompromising, revolutionary recordings of the Rock era, or any other era really. It's like a voyage into the unknown, every note, every twist is utterly without precedent before or analog since. It's like listening to an alien transmission yet it's entirely human.

Certainly one of the top ten unreissued albums of all time, there can be no argument. And to think it fits easily on one CD with Blue Afternoon, yet there's still no way for the uninitiated to get a hold of it, oh the pain. Oh well, at least they're coming out with a DVD of Tim's TV performances in May.

Last word: if you can get this, do it, just do it now, period.

There are no words for what this Music is, none.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tim sails away, 25 Sep 2010
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Starsailor (Audio CD)
Forty years ago this remarkable record frightened a lot of horses, not to mention critics, and not a few Buckley fans. Even now, after punk, free jazz, hip-hop and other musical fads & foibles, Starsailor has the ability to unsettle unwary listeners. Ironic really, as it houses at its mercurial heart Tim`s oft-covered Song to the Siren, a haven of haunting strangeness amid much that is stranger still as well as weirdly wonderful & wonderfully weird.
`Side One` sets out its stall with three tracks that stopped all those 1970 listeners in their tracks. Hearing them now, they still sound otherwordly, but compelling too. Tim had a voice - boy, did he have a voice - that he must have known was an astonishing instrument, and on this album he lets rip with it like a man possessed.
The moment on I Woke Up where the music pauses then Tim`s voice in its lowest register quietly intones the title phrase "I woke up..." is heartstopping.
After those three openers comes one of the most lovable, uncharacteristic songs of both this album and Tim`s career, a cod-Parisian ditty called Moulin Rouge, which he sings half in French. Along with Siren, it`s a brief respite before the real onslaught, and a delightfully welcome one.
`Side Two` is bonkers. Tim had obviously been at the Coltrane, and possibly the Beefheart too.
It`s not a long album, but it still sounds, after 40 years, bracingly outlandish and, somewhat surprisingly, quite beautiful.
What holds it all together of course is Tim Buckley`s unique voice, one that comes along once - dare I say it - in a generation. (Cue son Jeff...)
As essential and as unclassifiable as Love`s Forever Changes, Television`s Marquee Moon or Van`s Astral Weeks.
Stratospheric.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tim Buckley - 'Starsailor' (1970), 7 Feb 2006
By 
D. Hamilton-Smith "dave" (Merrye Olde Engelond) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starsailor (Audio CD)
"Right, that's it. I'm sick of wondering what Tim Buckley sounds like." I said, barely audible over the strains of 'Grace' and 'Hallelujah' emanating from the stereo. And so begins my pretentious introduction to Buckley Snr.
Aside from the surname and the high-pitched wailing, the similarities end there, or at least as far as 'Starsailor' is concerned. This 1970 album, along with 'Lorca' and 'Blue Afternoon', was a commercial miss, but that's only down to its wild divergence from his more popular folksier sound. Posterity has treated it well, however, and it's now considered to be high point in TB's catalogue.
I'm not surprised at all that this didn't sell. There are only two or three tracks that use recognisable 'song' arrangements, the rest being strange, acoustic jazzy workouts, based around elliptical guitar lines and casual-sounding riffs. The drum work here is very impressive, utilising a soft, cymbal-heavy approach that keeps the songs floating just above their own rhythm. It's all about the vocal gymnastics displayed by Buckley himself, though, and it is very much the focal point of the album. At first it grated on me, but that passed quickly. The saxophone is the instrumental counterpart of Buckley's vocals, following similar patterns and creating a similar dynamic, and is almost as prevalent at times.
'Starsailor' is not oppressively experimental (it's not oppressively anything) - its experimentalism shines through production touches, the track ordering, the structure of the songs, and Buckley's odd chord progressions. It's a compelling listen. 'Song To The Siren' is probably the highlight - a tragic-sounding solo ballad that eschews rhythm and repetition by thrusting his fluctuating vocals into the fore and letting them lead the sparse background ahead.
Above all, it is definitely Tim Buckely at his most heartfelt and creative.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Needed On CD, 25 July 2004
By 
Lozarithm (Wilts, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Starsailor (Audio CD)
Although it sometimes seems that there are more albums re-issued on CDs than ever could have been available on vinyl in the first place, there are a few notable albums for which no CD version is available. The recent overhaul of the Neil Young catalogue righted a few wrongs, but key albums by Albert Ayler, Alice Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Terry Riley and Toru Takemitsu remain undigitised. I particularly mourn the absence of Annette Peacock's I'm The One and Tim Buckley's albums Blue Afternoon and Starsailor.
However, Starsailor and Blue Afternoon had come out on CD in America on Rhino but had quickly disappeared in some kind of legal wrangle involving Frank Zappa's Straight/Bizarre labels, for which Starsailor had originally been recorded in 1970. 
At its centre lies the starkly brilliant Song To The Siren, best known in its wonderful incarnation by This Mortal Coil, whose watery evocation of the tragic tidal pull of the sirens chillingly prefigures the premature death by drowning of his son Jeff Buckley in Memphis's Mississippi River. Elsewhere Tim's inspired vocal heights are matched by his own 12-sring accompaniment; the extraordinary, sympathetically fractured guitar and elemental keyboards of Lee Underwood; the deathless imploding bass of John Balkin; the Miles-inspired wind instruments of Buzz and Bunk Gardner and Maury Baker's traps and tympani. At times light and celebratory, and at other times harrowing and deeply primal these are songs that find unique territory to stake out and claim. If the previous album, Lorca, sounds as if it is out on the edge looking for a foothold, on this album, that foothold has been found, and the ideas fully realised
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 14 Oct 2008
This review is from: Starsailor (Audio CD)
This is the album Tim Buckley produced after Happy Sad, Blue Afternoon and Lorca. He considered it his masterpiece, and it is the ultimate conclusion of his experiments in Jazz and the avant-garde. Which is lucky, because he recorded nothing worthwhile after this.

This is the type of record that blows you away the first time you listen to it, and every time afterwards. Whereas Lorca was a more meditative experience, Starsailor is absolutely charged with erotic energy. The jazz percussion shuffles, boils and crashes, overlaid by strange-but-brilliant whole-tone guitar lines. Tim's voice cuts through it all with unbelievable power and control, as you'd expect if you've heard Happy Sad or Lorca.

Even so, you won't have heard intensity like this - Tim pushes his voice to its limit, producing vocals on "Monterey" and "Down by the Borderline" which rise above rock music, into something else entirely. People blessed with beautiful voices tend to exploit those talents producing sleazy, uninspired pop. How lucky we are, then, that for at least three years Tim was a "real" artist, absolutely focused on doing something original... and how sad that no-one at the time noticed. He eventually sank into the soulless, contrived stuff - but this accomplishment survives, even if no-one sees fit to release it on CD.

In conclusion, don't buy subprime mortgages: buy a copy of Starsailor, any way you can.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! A masterpiece !!!!!!!!!!!!, 23 Nov 2005
By 
This review is from: Starsailor (Audio CD)
I've been hearing about this for years. Got a bonus last month and decided it was time...
I'm listening to this for the fourth time since it arrived yesterday. This is music that takes several listenings for it to start to really open up to you - it's simply amazing.
Random thoughts:
This is the human voice as a full instrument in the group.
The album was a good 10 years ahead of its time, and is as fresh today as it ever was.
It's a brother in spirit to Ornette Coleman's harmolodics, thought it doesn't use the same forms. Also (esp. Jungle Fire) reminds me of Ronald Shannon Jacksons' 80's work
Also reminds me of some of the things Steve Lacey did with his wife.
Ah well, this really should be re-released - a consummate "fusion" of folk, rock and jazz in the best sense of the term. It's probably best thought of as a (post-free) jazz album as far as comparisons go.
I think you do need an open musical mind to appreciate it.
This should definitely be in print - his best, and better than an awful lot of "best" albums out there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing., 27 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Starsailor (MP3 Download)
The originality and breadth of musical vision on this seminal album make it on a par with (although very different from) Astral Weeks, the equally accomplished classic release by Van Morrison, from the same year of 1970. Almost impossible to categorise, you just have to let the passion and the pain and the insanity wash over you..... One Direction or Michael Buble, it ain't.....
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Starsailor
Starsailor by Tim Buckley (Audio CD - 1991)
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