on 7 October 2011
Many Thanks, Rhino and Music Club, I don't know who you got in to do the remastering on this wonderful two disc compilation as the sleeve notes are a bit sparse and they contain a few glaring innaccuracies but the sound quality is superb on every track. It has taken a long time to do this incredible artist justice on the digital front but we are finally getting there. Every song now sounds almost as deep and as high as the vinyl records ever did. Truly spellbinding stuff. Spare ten minutes of your precious time and listen to the remastered 'Lorca', nobody else sings that good, nobody! Now we can look forward to all of the best ever Singer-Songwriter's Music, Tim Buckley of course, to be released on CD, including the 1970 Starsailor Band Concerts and that 1967 Gem 'Lady Give Me Your Key'. Make it soon though, we ain't any of us getting any younger
on 4 January 2012
Crikey. I've had Tim Buckley's entire catalogue on vinyl and then CD since the mid-eighties, so on seeing this had been released, I wasn't that excited, as a similar double-CD compilation ("Morning Glory") appeared on Rhino about ten years ago. However, this one looked like a better one-stop shop than the earlier set, making it the optimal (inexpensive, well-selected) choice for in-car entertainment and the like. Convenient, but not especially thrilling.
Then I played it, as said in-car entertainment, for the first time, and it's a miracle I didn't crash the motor right off. "Jaw-dropping" doesn't come close: the sound quality is so much improved, compared to any previous vinyl or CD incarnation I've heard, that it's like hearing the music for the first time. As a result, while "Goodbye and Hello" is as (admirably) preposterous a conceit as ever, the detail and texture of the arrangement is a revelation, while the clarity of tracks from "Lorca" and "Starsailor" is so great it's like they've just emerged from a decades-long fog, and this clarity makes it much easier to work out what Buckley was up to without in anyway diminishing their ambition and daring. And if, like me, you've long suspected that Lee Underwood's lead guitar on "Buzzin' Fly" is the single most rapturously lovely sound in popular music, you won't believe your ears.
Which means that (a) even if you've got all these songs already you owe it to yourself to hear them in these splendid remasters and (b) if you are new to Tim Buckley and looking for a good jumping-on point, look no further.
Re the selections, this trades the breadth of the earlier "Morning Glory" set (which included at least one track from each of the original studio albums except "Lorca" plus some live tracks and rarities) for depth, with a detailed look at each of the studio albums up to and including "Greetings from LA". The earlier set was basically chronological, while the sequencing here follows no obvious path, but it works: the leaps from folk rock ("Goodbye And Hello") to avant-jazz-for-want-of-a-better-label ("Monterey") to sex-funk-rock ("Make It Right") work surprisingly well.
Where this has the edge on any previous Buckley compilation is its embrace of the tougher parts of his career: hats off to whoever decided to include the much-overlooked, but brilliant, "I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain" (the most experimental moment on "Goodbye and Hello"), let alone the title track from "Lorca" or no less than seven from "Starsailor", which after forty years remains the most demanding and experimental album by a relatively mainstream musician (okay, except maybe "Tilt").
It seems obligatory in reviews of compilations to moan (often in CAPITAL LETTERS) about what has and hasn't been included and how this is an OUTRAGE and to remove stars from the rating as a consequence. Such behaviour is, of course, silly, as the only perfect compilation is the one you put together yourself. For what it's worth, there are tracks from the debut album I prefer to some of those included here, and from "Blue Afternoon", I prefer "The River" (not here) to "Cafe" (included), but really, who cares? All the undisputed essentials are here, and most of the next-tier stuff, and hearing any of it in this quality of sound is a sheer revelation. Reviews that go on about sound quality can often read like the author has missed the point: the simple point here is that music I've known, admired and loved for decades, and which I though was pretty much perfect, now sounds better than I could have believed.
Embarassingly, I'd heard little of Tim Buckley before I read the reviews here, and I'm usually cautious enough to listen to samples before buying. However,the praise was so unanimous and so glowing, I threw caution to the wind, and invested a whole £3 on this superb double album.
As others mention, sound quality is excellent. Given that the tracks here are either late 60's or early 70's, the richness and orginality of the production is up there with the luscious sound world of later Kate Bush material, which is truly astonishing. The bulk of the selections are culled from Buckley's albums, from his 'Debut' in 1966 to 'Greetings from LA' in 1972, with a generous handful of tracks from most albums, especially 'Starsailor', though 'Lorca' only manages two songs.
As soon as the first chords of the lustrous 'Song to the Siren', the first track here, reach your ears, you know you're in for an astonishingly melodic journey, and the sophistication of the songs from 'Debut', which come in a cluster on CD2, is incredible for '66, especially the hesitantly haunting 'Song Slowly Sung'. Although, so far, perhaps my favourite selections are from 'Blue Afternoon', including the magnificent 'Chase the Blues Away', the rich variety of material from 'Starsailor' is jaw-dropping.
It's early days yet for me, and my journey through this wonderfully generous selection (each cd is just shy of 80 mins.) is far from complete. However, I'd just like to express my gratitude to all the reviewers here, who introduced me to a wonderfully ranging, rich voice, and a truly superb collection of warmly melodic, highly original material. Given the price here, you can plunge in safely. Grab this wonderful bargain while it remains at this price (though it would still be a fine bargain at double this), and immerse yourself in the haunting sound-world of this classic anthology.
on 28 February 2013
Reviewers have commented on the sound quality of this CD and I have to agree, it's hard to believe you're listening to recordings from the late 60s to early 70s, such is the clarity and immediacy of the production. The guitar riff of Monterey just leaps out of the speakers, while Song to the Siren resonates with tremendous depth, and the bluesy arrangements of Strange Feelin', Chase the Blues Away and Blue Melody really shine. But the thing that links together the wide variety of musical styles in this collection is of course Tim Buckley's incredible voice, presented here with such fidelity that you can't help but share the agony of the pleading that ends I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain, or the ecstasy of Make It Right, or the tenderness of Once I Was and Dream Letter. And that's before you come to the pyrotechnics of Lorca and the Starsailor tracks... I fear it'll be a long time before I hear another collection of songs that I rate as highly as these.
The track ordering works well musically, but is rather random chronologically, so it can be difficult to follow the arc of Buckley's career, though you can always resequence the tracks through a playlist.
Had Tim Buckley lived beyond 1975 - and it still pains me that he`s gone - who knows what he wouldn`t have achieved?
Of his nine studio albums, more than a couple of them hear him not only straying into areas of jazz and soul, but practically rewriting the rule-book in the process. His third record Happy/Sad features a song based on a Miles Davis riff, while the innocently titled Greetings From LA is drenched in as much urban sweat as the heaviest soul you can think of. Tim`s last album, the too often unfairly maligned Look At The Fool, is a joyously festive soul-rock celebration which still awaits rediscovery and reassessment.
I loved this man more than I can say. To hear this music again, over 33 tracks and two and a half hours in ravishingly remastered sound (at last!) only brings home what a tragic loss his early death was. To say he could sing is like saying Louis Armstrong could play the trumpet or Pele could kick a ball. Buckley sang like almost nobody else before or since (except his son Jeff, who also suffered an absurdly early death).
No compilation is ever perfect - why do they never ask me? - but this is so near the mark in most of its choices than carping would be ungrateful. What you don`t get is anything from his last two albums, Sefronia and Look At The Fool. I would have liked at least the magnificent Dolphins and his lush cover of Tom Waits`s Martha from the former, and two or three from LATF, and I would have very happily sacrificed a few of the selections from his overrated second album Goodbye & Hello, though not Morning Glory or Once I Was, both here in all their enigmatic, fragile beauty.
One happy idea was to mix up the chronology, so we open (predictably) with one of Tim`s most famous songs - no, it wasn`t written by This Mortal Coil - and from then on tracks are taken from his first seven albums in no particular order. Having never heard them this way before, it was something of a revelation, even though I`ve lived with and loved these songs for about forty years.
I imagine someone coming to this music for the first time - well, you lucky devil! I sent a copy to my friend Paul, who barely knew Buckley. He was as overcome as I hoped he`d be. It isn`t only that voice; it`s the quality of the songwriting, and the often pared down instrumentation - Tim rarely worked with a full band, except on his high energy `soul` numbers. Marimbas are to the fore on many early tacks, adding to the ethereal, late-night-jazz feel of some songs.
It`s wonderful to hear so many songs from (by a whisker) my favourite of his albums, Blue Afternoon, including the delicately lovely Cafe and Blue Melody, as well as the brief but beautiful I Must Have Been Blind. It`s also a joy to have most of the mad and magnificent Starsailor, the studio LP that gives its name to this collection. These are the six songs that will test the mettle of any listener, as they did in 1970 on that album`s release. They still sound like nothing else on earth, and still sound marvellous.
Greetings From LA was all about sex, a subject close to Tim`s heart. Move With Me and Make It Right are two of the raunchiest numbers ever by any `rock` singer. They might also cause you to spring up and dance wildly about the room. In fact, I hope they do.
Some of the songs here are quite simply so perfect and so beautiful they are beyond praise. Buzzin` Fly, Strange Feelin`, Once I Was, Wings, Cafe...the list goes on.
This is a well-presented, nicely packaged double-CD in slip-case. What`s more, you get several pics of the highly photogenic Tim lifted from his original LP covers, along with a sensible if short sleevenote and clear track listings (though no mention of the musicians involved).
This is the compilation of the century as far as I`m concerned, despite my above-mentioned quibbles.
Tim Buckley really sang his heart out, on songs to die for.
Once I was a soldier
and I fought on foreign sands for you
Once I was a lover
and I searched behind your eyes for you...
Tim Buckley (father of the much acclaimed but ultimately doomed Jeff, who of course was to only release the one studio album) started his career as a talented teenage folk singer (and it is his early music which I tend to listen to the most), but branched into a master musical explorer who would experiment with a variety of styles from funk to jazz in his prolific, but all too brief recording career, which spanned eight years from 1966 to 1974. He died from an accidental heroin overdose in 1975 at the age of 28.
Rhino always release top compilations, and this one, which is part of the Music Club Deluxe series, carries a chunky 33 tracks, all of them mastered in glorious sound quality. The songs are presented in no chronological order, but in a seemingly randomly picked playlist which goes from one style to another, ensuring that the mood will change each time. This is music which takes you a journey, courtesy of one of the finest emotional and powerful male singers of all time.
Acoustic troubadours will always be popular, but you're music collection remains incomplete if you don't have any Tim Buckle among it. Ironically, just like his son, Tim's work would only be fully appreciated after his death, and if you're looking to 'test the water' so to speak, then 'Starsailor: The Anthology' offers you much variety and excellent value for money. The booklet contains a good study by Paul Lester, and is illustrated with several album covers.
on 19 February 2012
For anyone wanting to hear quality, meaningful music - both emotional and spiritually, then buy this CD. As mentioned by previous reviewers the remastered quality is superb. A great compiliation - my particular favourites being from the 'Strange Feelin' period and beyond. And at last we have (almost, but not quite) the complete Starsailor set in superb quality - when O when will Starsailor be released as a complete entirity as it so much deserves to be? Until then buy this CD if you still believe that music should be forever exploring and challenging - you won't be disappointed!
on 22 March 2013
My only knowledge of Tim Buckley prior to this was his son, and This Mortal Coil's cover of Song to the Siren. An amazing collection of songs which should reach a wider modern audience.
on 19 February 2015
Tim buckley was a wisp of a man- the skinniest guy with this mass of curly hair and trenendous voice. If you were to draw a picture of him in an abstract form you would just draw a matchstick man cos he was the definition of "waif". This collection covers all aspects of his art from the sublime Morning Glory to Buzzin fly (what a beautiful metaphor "just like a buzzin fly i come into your life". But also the slower songs like "i mustve been blind" and "song to the siren". How can you describe this music? Its blue sky ocean seagulls. Its jack kerouac its.....fabulous!! Sorry to get pretentious but this music IS poetic!! If you aint heard Tim Buckley and like folk rock jazz blues this compilation is perfect. What a bargain! 8quid for all this beautiful music!!
on 10 March 2015
some great stuff on this compilation my favourite being sweet surrender from greetings from l a .folky stuff from the early days but the starsailor stuff is not for the faint hearted.the title track from starsailor being particularly difficult.