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Though not necessarily a “singles artist” per se, Tim Buckley recorded 10 singles throughout his eight-year career. Now they’ve all been compiled into a single volume that succinctly tells the songwriter’s story.
Wings opens with its title track, the first single from his eponymous debut album. At this point, Buckley resided within the Los Angeles folk rock scene, though he clearly possessed his own sound, especially on his sophomore effort, Goodbye and Hello, which seems to have influenced the lyrical phrasing and chord progressions of Love’s classic Forever Changes. As an added bonus, the aborted “Once Upon a Time”/“Lady, Give Me Your Key” from this period finally appears in its entirety for the very first time, the demos for these songs having also recently surfaced. His third, Happy Sad did not produce any singles, so “Happy Time”/“So Lonely” from Blue Afternoon follows as the sole mention of his experimental jazz period. Again, both Lorca and Starsailor avoided the singles market, forcing us to fast-forward to “Move With Me,” from Buckley’s seventh full-length, “Greetings from L.A.,” and continuing through his final two, Sefronia and Look at the Fool. This has been characterized as his “sex-funk” era, though it has more in common with the grungy Rolling Stones-fueled punk of The New York Dolls – West Coast-style, of course. His final single celebrated The Kingsmen’s great “Louie Louie” with his own “Wanda Lu,” while “Who Could Deny You” strangely blends AM radio soft pop with Led Zeppelin hard rock, leaving everyone scratching their heads in his characteristically humorous fashion.
Sadly, Tim Buckley overdosed in June 1975, bringing an end to one of Los Angles’ most enigmatic, yet adored songwriters. At the time, he was working on another project with longtime collaborator/lyricist Larry Beckett that would have signaled another transition in styles. Supposedly, there’s a demo of this floating around, but nobody associated with Buckley has heard it. Hopefully, that will come to light soon so we can all finally hear the epilogue we’ve craved for so long…
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