Home Read Classic Album Review: Tim Buckley | Morning Glory: The Anthology

Classic Album Review: Tim Buckley | Morning Glory: The Anthology

This anthology paints a full picture of one of music’s most enigmatic troubadours.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


People know Tim Buckley’s resume — he was a ’70s folksinger who, like his more famous son Jeff Buckley, died tragically at a young age. Fewer, I suspect, know Buckley’s music.

This thorough, respectful two-CD retrospective might help set things straight. As much as anything can. Truth is, Buckley the elder is a pretty tough cat to get a handle on. And that’s probably how he wanted it. Blessed with a striking, ringing voice, he started off in the mid-’60s as your basic guitar-plucking folkie, spinning ornate, medieval-sounding fare like She Is (“She is the air I breathe entranced … A sky that calls me out to dance”) for the coffeehouse crowd. He quickly outgrew that scene. By the midpoint of his nine-album career, he was pushing the folk envelope with jazzy free-form arrangements and odd instrumentation, backing up earthy, passionate tracks like Monterey with vibes, tympani, strings and horns.

Ultimately, he was too weird for the times. And the lack of success — or even acceptance — took its toll on his music and psyche. Later albums like the dark and decadent Greetings From L.A. and the disjointed Sefronia are challenging works to this day. Back in the mid-’70s, cuts like the S&M-themed Make It Right (“Whip me, beat me, spank me … ”) didn’t do Buckley any favours, deepening the depression and drug use that eventually led to his accidental overdose at age 28 in 1975. Troubled troubadour or uncompomising visionary? Morning Glory doesn’t take sides. But it does give us the fullest picture yet of one of music’s most enigmatic singer-songwriters.