Thursday, December 17, 2015


Tim Buckley defied expectations with the drifting dizzying deconstruction of this adventurous avant folk rock experiment.  Buckley had grown as an artist over three albums (Tim Buckley in 1966,  Goodbye and Hello  in 1967,  and  Happy Sad in 1969); but was ready to stretch his creative process even further.   

Tim Buckley: "We were attempting to make, and did make, a contribution to the writing of a song. I did three albums in one month at that time; I did Blue Afternoon, Lorca and Starsailor. That was because of Jac selling the company; I had an obligation to him and also had to give an album to Warner Bros. at the same time. I liked it because in one way, I satisfied a desire to write songs for Blue Afternoon, varying types of songs, three of which I still do because they’re some of my best songs. When I went in to do Lorca, I decided right then it was time to break open something new because the voice with 5 1/2 octaves was certainly capable of coming up with something new. We were getting real tired of writing songs that adhered to the verse, verse, chorus things. It wasn’t an intellectual exercise though; as a matter of fact, it was a thing that finally Miles did with In a Silent Way. It happened with the Fender Rhodes electric piano and using one bass line which kept the idea of key in mind. In Silent Way, Miles had a melody line that he played on a trumpet and I had a lyric and a melody that went through “Lorca.” To this day, you can’t put it on at a party without stopping things; it doesn’t fit it. The real advance comes in “Anonymous Proposition,” the song that comes after “Lorca.” It deals with a ballad in a totally personal, physical presentation, to cut away the nonsense, the superficial stuff. It has to be done slowly; it has take five or six minutes; it has to be a movement. It has to hold you there and make you aware that someone is telling you something about himself in the dark. That’s what music is all about on record. It is very personal; there’s no other way to deal with it. There are certain things that great singers have to deal with; it’s their duty to. Then with Starsailor, we decided that, now that we’re good at this, we’ll present a new way of writing a song. On the first side of the album, we do songs in the traditional sense. They are free but there are certain moments of rhythm, certain moments of letting it drift. It’s all got lyrics and melody. “I Woke Up” is the one I remember a lot off that album; “Song To The Siren” was a terrific song, one that was more conventional. But then there were the cuts “Starsailor” and “Healing Festival.” The intro to “Healing Festival” is about Harlem; I overdubbed all the voices. I overdubbed 16 voices on Starsailor. It’s the first album that I overdubbed on or had anyone overdub on. I figured if we were going to do overdubs, I’d do ’em; that was a lot of fun. It’s okay for musicians to do that but when a singer does that, he betrays a trust, the image of a vocalist. Its getting more away from that now because people are using their voices for different things but when those were done, it was almost sacrilegious."

Lorca was recorded during September of 1969 at Whitney Studios in Glendale, CA  with  executive producer Herb Cohen and engineer and producer Dick Kunc.  The sessions featured  Tim Buckley on guitar and vocals;   Lee Underwood on guitar and keyboards;   John Balkin on upright bass, bass, and pipe organ;   and  Carter Collins on congas.   The albums were released in the order of  Blue Afternoon, Lorca, and Starsailor; but Underwood reveals that was not the order in which they were recorded:   "Blue Afternoon, with its conceptual extension of Tim's Happy Sad middle-ground jazz orientation, was recorded after Lorca. By the time Tim had evolved into the beginnings of his avant-garde phase with Lorca, it was conceptually regressive to go back to Happy Sad's aesthetic perspective for Blue Afternoon...True, Blue Afternoon was a collection of old songs, but it was not a collection of unreleased out-takes from previous recording sessions. We recorded them new and fresh specifically for that album. And Blue Afternoon was not recorded just to keep Herb Cohen happy...Tim knew Lorca was unlikely to be a big hit in the marketplace. He loved Blue Afternoon's old tunes, which had found no home elsewhere. He was shifting labels, moving from Elektra to Herb's new label, Straight, and he wanted to help give that label a commercial launch...For all of those reasons, Tim and the rest of us worked as hard as we could on Blue Afternoon, even though it was a conceptual step backwards; we had little time in which to record it; and it was somewhat difficult adjusting to those conditions. So it was a mixed atmosphere, a kind of aesthetic detour, but it was also an effort that Tim wanted and needed to make...After recording Blue Afternoon, Tim got back on track. He immediately returned to the work he had already begun on Starsailor. Detour over. Return to the living present. Straight ahead — up and out into the stratosphere!"

full album:

All tracks written by Tim Buckley.

Side One

"Lorca" – 9:53
"Anonymous Proposition" – 7:43

Side Two

"I Had a Talk With My Woman" – 6:01
"Driftin'" – 8:12
"Nobody Walkin'" – 7:35

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