Monday, July 18, 2011

Tim Buckley Series, #7: Tim Buckley- The Copenhagen Tapes (2000) MP3 & FLAC

"Just like a buzzin' fly, I come into your life. Now I float away like honey in the sun."

Recorded during the same tour that produced the sublime Dream Letter: Live in London 1968, Tim Buckley was in fine vocal form for this October 1968 concert in Copenhagen, Denmark. As was the case throughout his fall 1968 European tour, Buckley was operating with only part of his formidable backing band: percussionist Carter C.C. Collins and stand-up bass player John Miller could not make the trip overseas due to the tour's financial constraints. As a result, and thoroughly in keeping with the improvisatory Jazz-influenced approach of Buckley's music at this point, "local" players stepped in to fill these spots at each stop on the tour. Whereas the show documented on Dream Letter: Live in London 1968 saw The Pentangle's Danny Thompson take over stand-up bass duties to great effect, the concert documented on The Copenhagen Tapes features no less than European Jazz legend Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, who, as a teenager, was so esteemed in Jazz circles that he was extended an invitation to join the Count Basie Orchestra of all things, which, amazingly, he refused. Also present for the Copenhagen concert was Buckley's inimitable sideman Lee Underwood, whose beautiful electric guitar-work, though completely improvised, always functioned as something of a harmonic anchor to Buckley's fearless vocal peregrinations. Buckley's approach to live performances at this point in his career was profoundly influenced by experimental Jazz; as Underwood explains, "For better or worse, Tim gave me and all his other musicians complete freedom. That is, he did not hire us as sidemen to simply play memorized parts. He hired us for our unique approaches to his music. We didn't have any input into the composing part, but the playing was ours alone, nearly all of it improvised." The Copenhagen Tapes is comprised of four lengthy tracks, the first of which, the 21 minute "I Don't Need It to Rain," supposedly intended as a vocal warm-up for Buckley, is nothing less than a tour-de-force. A bluesy slow-burner that finds Buckley frequently exploring the upper range of his seemingly elastic voice, the song also features some great ensemble work from vibe master David Friedman and Underwood. However, it is on the band's gorgeous rendition of "Buzzin' Fly" from Happy/Sad that Underwood's masterful contributions really step forward. Simultaneously carrying the melody and pushing the song beyond its Folk-Rock origins, Underwood's Telecaster weaves a fuzzy web of chiming notes for Buckley's soaring vocals to momentarily embrace and then transcend. In terms of fidelity, The Copenhagen Tapes is not the best-sounding Buckley live recording available; however, it captures him at the height of his improvisational powers, stretching his songs to their compositional limits and beyond, and for this, it is qualifies as essential Tim.

The Copenhagen Tapes  
(Pinnacle ~ 2000)

1. I Don't Need It to Rain  (21:38)
2. Buzzin' Fly  (6:29)
3. Strange Feelin'  (9:00)
4. Gypsy Woman  (12:37)


  1. Thanks so much for more live Tim Buckley. I am not familiar with this 1968 concert from Copenhagen. Kurt

  2. I wasn't aware of it's existence. Looking forward to hearing it. As always, many thanks.

  3. Kurt, you're welcome. While the sound quality doesn't compare to the London show, musically, it's great on its own terms. I wish it had been recorded better

  4. I Must Say...Thanks For All The Tim Buckley Series. I'Been Listening To His Amazing Musical Legacy For 15teen Years Since I Discovered Happy/Sad And Got Caught By His Haunting Voice. He IS One Of (If Not The) Greatest Singers Of All Time, But You Already Knew That...And Yes, This Blog Rocks. I Wish I Had More Time To Comment, But There Are So Many Good Qualified & Satisfied Posts And Too Little Time, Good God.

  5. ArnoldPaole, thank you for commenting; I really appreciate it. I completely agree with you about Buckley. As I was listening to the first track of "The Copenhagen Tapes" for inspiration to write the review, I remember thinking how no one else could possibly take that song where he does. It's been a lot of fun doing this series, and we're not quite half way through yet. Thanks for your kind words about the blog. It is truly a labor of love, voix

  6. Fantastic, thank you. Was drooling when I read the description. And now I've listened and as much as I enjoy some of his studio work, I gotta say its really these live treasures that keep me coming back for more!

  7. cakelunch, I tend to feel the same way. Buckley's live work is so amazing that, for me, the studio albums, as great as they are, just don't seem as dynamic. I've got several more live Buckley posts in the works, including a triple bootleg post


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.