In an unrelenting quest to unveil virtually every hidden worthwhile document from the 1960s and '70s, producer Pat Thomas and Light in the Attic deliver two sessions of unreleased solo Tim Buckley material from 1967. The first seven songs are from a reel-to-reel demo tape cut by the singer at producer Jerry Yester's Laurel Canyon home. The last six are from an acetate recorded at Midtown Studios in Manhattan. All of this music was recorded during the preparation period leading up to Buckley's excellent sophomore album Goodbye and Hello.
The first two songs here, "Six Face" and "Contact," are the only recordings of these songs. They were co-written by Buckley and lyricist Larry Beckett. According to the latter, the former contained six verses initially, but Buckley edited them to four for the recording. The lyrics are delivered in the singer's wide-open, sexual, bluesy moan that he would later employ on "Get on Top of Me Woman" from Greetings from LA -- and its lyrics actually prefigure them -- though they're hardly funky. A hyper-strummed acoustic guitar is his only accompaniment in a near-Baroque psych-folk. "Contact" is more conventionally "folky," but its refrain is more rhythmically compelling and syncopated. The title track and "Once Upon a Time" were also written by the pair for a single that was later recorded with more elaborate "rock" arrangements by a band, but was never actually released -- the latter did end up on a Nuggets comp. It too contains the roots of gritty sensuality so abundant on Greetings from LA -- especially when Buckley lets his falsetto fly. The remaining three cuts from the tape demo were later re-recorded for Goodbye and Hello. Of these, Buckley's own "Once I Was" is revelatory. His investment in and commitment to the lyric is total; a reverie imbued with haunted emotion. All of the Goodbye and Hello demos on this set are more than just interesting, but this is the true gem in the bunch. The acetate contains three tunes that would later appear on the album, as well as the only studio version of a howling, then-untitled track that would be named "I Can't Leave You Lovin' Me" -- in a concert incarnation on Live at the Folklore Center 1967. It and "No Man Can Find the War" were marked by Yester as "maybes" for Goodbye and Hello. Two more Buckley songs get their first hearing anywhere: "Marigold" is a lovely, dark, narrative, love song, while "She's Back Again" melds rural and English folk, blues, and a smidgen of ragtime, revealing his command of all these musical languages at the age of 20.
Lady, Give Me Your Key contains expository notes by Thomas as well his in-depth interviews with Beckett and Yester. The sound is far better than acceptable considering the original sources, and the material is a true boon for Buckley's most devoted followers. ~ Thom Jurek
- RSD Release Date: n/a
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Folk, World, & Country
- Released: 10/28/2016