Strange Fruit, 2000
Tim Buckley's hugely expressive and controlled voice is at the heart of this eclectic set of live performances, folk-based but fusing jazz, blues and psychedelia. The creepily haunting moral ballad "Morning Glory" is perhaps his finest song, alongside "Song to the Siren". "Hallucinations / Troubadour" shows another dazzling depth to his range, its 11 minutes elaborately stretched from a set of minimal but compelling refrains and some hugely expressive guitar work. The shorter songs like the twangy country "Dolphins", squawking blues "Honey Man" and wistful ballad "Once I Was" are solid pieces of songwriting. "I Don't Need It To Rain", a live rarity, shows Buckley in a more mellow idiom, lending his hugely expressive but unhurried croons to the soft "In a Silent Way"-fashion jazzy backing.
This bitty selection seems an ideal partial best-of compilation, as an introduction to this elusive, individual performer. But the absent "Song to the Siren" is also essential, if you can stand the avant-garde wig-outs on the rest of its album "Starsailor".
March 28, 2005