Sunday, February 20, 2011

86. Tim Buckley - Goodbye and Hello (1967)

1. No Man Can Find The War
2. Carnival Song
3. Pleasant Street
4. Hallucinations
5. I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain
6. Once I Was
7. Phantasmagoria In Two
8. Knight-Errant
9. Goodbye And Hello
10. Morning Glory
"Oh great, another white dude with an acoustic guitar suffering from what seem to be lyrical acid flashbacks," I thought as I prepared to listen to this record. Oh, how very wrong I was. 

Well, not about the acid. Tim Buckley definitely did a shitload of acid.

I was very pleasantly surprised. Usually I expect folk albums to be somewhat sparse instrumentally, unless you're Bob Dylan and you want to fuck with your fans, but this album's got loads and loads of instruments on it, almost as if the Sgt. Pepper musicians forgot to take their stuff with them as they left. Even though Buckley was a relatively obscure musician at the time, known mainly to other musicians (In a hilarious tie-back to my last review, the Monkees actually featured him on their very last episode next year), he evidently got a pretty sizable budget because there's even an orchestra on one of the tracks. The album marked a shift from his earlier folk-rock sound, fully submerging him into the belly of the psychedelic beast. This would be but one of his many sound-changes, culminating in what Wikipedia helpfully calls his 'sex-funk' period in the '70s. I am not making this up. Just look at the album cover, then read that sentence again.

It's not all sex and funk with Mr. Buckley, however. The dude has some considerable songwriting chops and he's not afraid to show them off. Take the first few songs, which not only utilize sound effects but a whole host of time signatures. This is most obvious in the title track, which consist of a sprawling morass of shifting moods and rhythms jarring you back and forth like a particularly energetic game of Pong. 'Hallucinations' is even better, with the slide guitar at the beginning slowly creeping into the field of your vision, like faint ghosts. Speaking of ghosts, check out the pipes on this guy! A couple of times he reminded me of a male Joan Baez, which makes me mourn for the vibrato-laden duet that could have been. Whether wailing like a banshee on 'Pleasant Street' (which totally kicks ass) or enveloping you like a soft, sex-funk blanket on 'Once I Was' (which provides a great cushion after you've had your ass kicked), Tim Buckley uses his mouth purtier than a fifteen-dollar whore! 9/10