That Tim Buckley should have so gained in stature and become become a musical influence on a new generation of singers and musicians 25 years after his tragic death is a marvellous thing. He was a remarkable singer, songwriter and musician and if this album directs a new audience to his works it will have served an admirable purpose.
The songs are drawn from the albums Happy Sad (5 tracks), Goodbye And Hello (4), Blue Afternoon (4), Starsailor (2), Greetings From L.A. (1) and Sefronia (1).
It is clear from the notes in the accompanying booklet that all the artists quoted here are keen to acknowledge a debt to a great inspiration and one applauds the motivation behind this collection of songs. All tracks seem to have been especially made for this collection.
Not all artists who cite his name are equal to the challenge. Starsailor, who named themselves after one of his more experimental albums, for example, are absent from this set, perhaps because there is little evidence from their music that much has rubbed off. It is also noticeable that the more successful outings here are those that move furthest away from the original and try to make the song their own, rather than attempting to emulate the original and inevitably failing. Not wishing to further point fingers I will mention that some of the strongest tracks are by Shelleyan Orphan (who seem to have reformed especially for the project, and can we have more?), Moose, Cousteau, Dot Allison, who gives a psychedelic makeover to one of his funkier numbers, Geneva (their nine minute stretch through Pleasant Street deserves a special mention) and Tram, abetted by John Parish on guitar. Simon Raymonde and Anneli Drecker give Fairport Convention a run for their money on their update of Morning Glory. The Czars gave themselves the toughest challenge by tackling one of Tim Buckley's most legendary songs, Song To The Siren, of which This Mortal Coil's 1983 version remains the greatest recording of all time. It would have helped them to have decent transcription of Larry Beckett's lyric, one which made sense, as well.
Perhaps this release will stir some record company into preparing CD releases of Tim Buckley's Blue Afternoon and Starsailor albums?
on 26 September 2000
This compilation sees a number of current indie artist pay tribute to Tim Buckley. You may think it would be hard for anyone to do justice to Tim's music, as his voice was so unique. Happily, the compilation is a success because have mostly been radically reinterpreted. Highlight are Geneva's glorious 10 minute long "Pleasant Street", Mojave 3's country-rock take on "Love from room 109 ..." and the fantastic Cousteau, who give "Blue Melody" the Scott Walker treatment. A tribute worthy of the artist it celebrates.