Friday, June 24, 2011

Tim Buckley Series, #5: Tim Buckley- Honeyman: Recorded Live 1973 (1995) MP3 & FLAC

"And when the bee's inside the hive, you gonna holler in the thick of love. I'll buy you all the jag I can. This honey man's gonna sting you again."

Following the commercial and critical failure of Tim Buckley's now-legendary experimental Jazz-Folk albums, Blue Afternoon and Starsailor, he, to a great extent, withdrew from the music industry in order to deal with severe artistic and financial crises. His eventual return, though initially heralded by another great album, Greetings from L.A., marked the beginning of a slow descent into heroin addiction and a mostly unsuccessful attempt to adopt a more commercially viable sound that would have his career in shambles by the time of his tragic death (from an accidental heroin overdose) in 1975. The unconvincing results of Buckley's awkward embrace of Funk, particularly on his final studio albums, Sefronia  and the utterly forgettable Look at the Fool, were largely attributable to a lack of urgency and of quality on the part of Buckley's songwriting, poor production choices, and uninspired session players. Given such a context, it might seem that a live recording of Buckley from this period would have nothing revelatory to offer, but Honeyman: Live 1973 suggests otherwise. While this recording isn't of the same luminous quality as Dream Letter: Live in London 1968, it does represent a dramatic re-contextualization of Buckley's later work due to arrangements that are far superior to what is found on Sefronia and Buckley's breathtaking vocal performance. The transformation is evident from the first notes of "Dolphins," which was done in by some horribly cheesy backing vocals on the studio version, but here, it is just Buckley strumming an electric 12-string guitar, minimal but effective backing from his band, and a world-weary cadence in his voice that sounds authentically heartbreaking. Even the funkier material benefits from the live setting; for example, "Get on Top," stripped of all the studio-schmaltz, turns out to be a fine vehicle for some of Buckley's trademark soaring vocals. After listening to Honeyman: Live 1973, it seems clear that much of awkwardness of Buckley's late-career studio albums was likely the result of record company pressure to push his music in a more commercial direction. However, Buckley's restless and fiercely original  muse was never a good fit for such an approach, which explains why out on the road, just playing his music, Buckley sounds as masterful and uncontainable as ever.

Honeyman: Live 1973
1. Dolphins  (3:46)
2. Buzzin' Fly  (7:21)
3. Get on Top  (4:41)
4. Devil Eyes  (7:34)
5. Pleasant Street  (8:18)
6. Sally, Go 'Round the Roses  (5:53)
7. Stone in Love  (4:18)
8. Honey Man  (8:32)
9. Sweet Surrender  (8:27)


  1. thank you dearly for this

  2. Anon., you're welcome. I have many more Buckley gems to share in this series, so stay tuned :)

  3. Thanks for having such good taste and a care to share!

  4. Anon. I appreciate that. This blog brings me a lot of joy, and it makes me happy to hear that it does so for others as well.

  5. wish there were more artists like tim buckley, what a performer he was/ everyone should listen dream letter live in london at least once a day
    well ha ha ha

    thank you btw for your great blog and VERY GOOD
    taste of music


  6. Anon., thank you. I completely agree about "Dream Letter"


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