Saturday, December 9, 2017

Now Playing: The Yardbirds – Live, Mon Provins France June 27, 1966 -‘When Will It End?’



Now playing in the ‘rock room’ is a historic slice of celluloid featuring the revolving  guitar line up of the amazing ‘Yardbirds’. This particular footage finds the group in the midst of their Summer 1966 European tour. The band at this point was famously becoming the ‘farm team’ for developing amazing guitarists. The beginnings of the group’s career started with Top Topham, then moved in Eric Clapton, then Jeff Beck and finally Jimmy Page. The black and white segment flickering in the ‘rock room’ today follows founding member and bassist Paul Samwell-Smith’s departure from the band to move behind the scenes and into the production side of music. He was replaced by session guitarist extraordinaire Jimmy Page and for a brief but amazing time the band contained both Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck.

The performance featured here finds the band performing on June 27 1966 at Mon Provins, France tour de Cesar. The site of the concert was a military compound famously built sometime in the years 1150-1180. A very eclectic and rustic site for a rock and roll show; the bands featured and sharing the bill with the Yardbird’s were also an amazing mix of talent. The Small Faces, Simon and Garfunkel and Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages also were slotted into the featured lineup. The groups were being recorded for Michelle Arnaud’s Music Hall de France, television broadcast The Train Kept a Rollin. The Yardbirds’ personnel grouping at the time was Jimmy Page on bass,  both Jeff Beck and Chris Dreja on guitars, Keith Relf on vocals and harmonica and Jim McCarty on drums. This is Page’s fourth performance with the band. Upon Beck’s departure Dreja would move over to bass and Page would then take over guitar duties with stunning results.

At this formative time in the band’s history the group was developing their blues excursions into psychedelic and expansive musical expressions centered on stupendous guitar playing and the increasingly complex musical compositions. Here the band plays a high octane three song set made up of ‘Train Kept A Rollin, ‘Shapes of Things’, and ‘Over, Under, Sideways, Down’. 

The clip begins with a medieval ‘Yardbirds’ flag being unfurled down the stony castle walls as the band rattles their way into the Johnny Burnette  cut, ‘Train Kept A Rollin’. McCarty firecrackers the opening on his kit as Page proceeds to lay down a stunning bass line behind the two guitar attack of Dreja and Beck. Relf directs the locomotive of sound with well timed harmonic moans that keep the silvery sound grounded in its blues roots. The quintet is dressed sharply in white suits that elicit the similar Carnaby Street style of the Beatles 1966 Japan tour outfits of the same vintage. After a rollicking sprint to the station, ‘Train’ is quickly concluded a spike driving opening to the show.
The only unfortunate aspect of this footage is the ‘television sound’.
While concentration and a discerning ear can pick out all of the respective elements, the sonics could be much better, but this is to be expected for a 1960’s television broadcast. The guitars are mixed low and the vocals high but the existence of such footage renders these shortcomings naught. The band is in fine fettle and their collaborative expressiveness noteworthy.

The military march of ‘Shapes of Things’ follows and plays with a tripped out punk attitude. McCarty slams around the kit crisply. The song was an early 1966 single for the group and was not only groundbreaking aesthetically but influenced the band’s contemporaries with Beck’s deft use of feedback as well as the paisley tinged Eastern influence that permeates the song. Here Relf’s voice quivers as he recites the lyrics, and the mid song breakdown detonates in ‘Who’ fashion with both Page and Beck thrashing at their axes. Beautifully done.

The most recent single from the group at the time follows and concludes the brief but well played set. ‘Over, Under, Sideways, Down’ was released the previous month and here gets a kinetic reading with Beck’s strangled and wailing soling a highlight. Playing a vintage Gibson Les Paul Beck’s fingers pull from the neck the track’s recognizable and tightly coiled signature lick.  The three headed back line of guitars stand clustered around the backing vocals microphone stand stomping their boots in unison. The reading featured here is a lucky capture and classic live reading of one of the ‘Yardbirds’ most well known cuts.
While lasting just under seven minutes this rare sequence captures not only a fleeting period in the ‘Yardbirds’ history but is a welcome addition to the ‘Yardbirds’ canon as a document of their influence and proficiency as a live act. All the band members unique and individual strengths are on display As far as the ‘legends’ go, we all know where Beck and Page’s careers would eventually lead them; but this mid-1960’s film reference is a unique look back to where they cut their teeth and how they developed their craft.



Monday, November 20, 2017

Now Playing: Faces - The Deep Cuts -'If I'm Not Smiling I'm Just Thinking'


The legendary Faces were comprised of the remnants of the Jeff Beck Group and the Small Faces, becoming one of the premier bands of the 1970s. Drunken shenanigans and fiery stage performances by Ian McLagan, Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones, Ronnie Lane and Rod Stewart would come to epitomize the decadent and manic rock of the early decade. In the studio, the Faces’ impressive catalog is likewise strewn with amazing moments, songs that hail from both their own discography as well as that of Stewart’s solo catalog, in which the band appears often. Today in the 'rock room' I am flipping through the band's LP's, ROIO's, boots, and singles while queuing up some of my favorites and rediscovering some of their greatest yet sometimes unnoticed deep cuts.

Often overshadowed by Rod Stewart’s immense popularity and talent, the Faces were blessed with three other members more than able to compose their own amazing music. Often these songs involve the superior songwriting abilities and melodic sensibilities of bassist Ronnie Lane, as his tracks often made up the backbone and deep emotional content of the group’s catalog.

Beyond the usual familiar tunes including but not limited to, 'I’m Losing You,' and 'Stay With Me' there remains a wealth of powerful and underrepresented songs tucked away on b-sides and in the forgotten grooves of LP flip sides. Because the Faces’ four studio albums ran concurrent with Stewart’s solo releases, the band’s album tracks often fell through the cracks unrecognized. Below I compiled for you the best of the rest of the Faces as listed by the 'rock room', songs that can stand with anything in their impressive catalog, but are for some reason often overlooked:

'If I'm On the Late Side' (Ooh La La, 1973): Found on the flip side of the 1973 LP 'Ohh La La', 'If I’m On the Late Side' spotlights some of the most tender and emotive Stewart vocals captured on a Faces cut. The Stewart/Lane penned  song is a soulful slice of rhythm and blues done Faces style, with Ronnie Wood’s shimmery Curtis Mayfield-eqsue licks adding a delicate and perfect touch. Lane’s bass shadows Stewart’s longing melody line step for step, while Ian McLagan’s swirling organ and Kenney Jones’ sympathetic clip-clop drumming lay the foundation in which the melodic interplay drapes like a crisp spring sheet. Tucked away on the flip side, it's better late than never with this musical optimization of Faces R and B roots and their sympathetic expression of those influences. I love this track.


'As Long As You Tell Him' (B-side to 'You Can Make Me Dance, Sing, Or Anything (Even Take the Dog For A Walk, Mend A Fuse, Fold Away A Ironing Board, Or Any Other Domestic Shortcomings' 1974): What has to be one of the finest songs in the entire Faces catalog is stashed away on the flip of a long forgotten post-Ronnie Lane seven-inch. “As Long as You Tell Him” balances precariously on a rickety tom-tom based groove. Woody’s clean, yet sticky sweet guitar tone pops like a fresh slab of bubblegum. Midway through the track, he then takes over with some icy slide guitar that meshes with the cool runnings of Mac’s breezy organ additions. This is the type of track rock aficionados pine for, a lost classic brimming with perfection. Rod is in fine fettle here.

'You're So Rude' (B-side to 'Stay With Me' A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Bling Horse, 1971): This Lane/McLagan-penned song is a fun and funky track about secretive and illicit sexual meetings as a youth. Lane’s earnest and conversational vocals, laced with his natural humor and wit, give the song its personality. Co-composer Mac adds a honky-tonk piano and organ. Of note is Woody’s extended and thick guitar work at the conclusion of the number. Stewart does not appear on this song. This track was featured in Ian McLagan’s live performances until his passing, a comment  how he loved the cut as well as the songs importance, in his view in the band’s history.

'Devotion' (First Step, 1970): A delicate Ronnie Lane hymnal hailing from the band’s debut LP in which Stewart sings and Lane accompanies in a stirring display. The paean of love can be interpreted as a message composed to a higher power, a lover, or to close friends. The philosophical aspect of the song is the unique contrast to the band's usually raucous expressions. “Devotion” somehow missed inclusion on the 2004 Faces box set, Five Guys Walk into a Bar, illustrating that its power and grace is still enigmatic. Sympathetic and attentive accompaniment is the order of the day, as the happily stoned group shows a mastery of concentrated dynamics while shyly revealing their smooth and rounded edges. Arguably one of Ronnie Lane's greatest musical accomplishments.

'Real Wheel Skid' (b-side to 'Had A Real Good Time' 1970): There has to be at least on instrumental represented here, due to the fact the band released quite an array of them throughout their career. Songs like “Pineapple and the Monkey,” “Oh Lord I’m Browned Off” and “Fly in the Ointment” are all wordless musical vehicles for the band. “Rear Wheel Skid” is one of the most accomplished of the bunch, opening with a gritty Lane bass riff and containing a funky and virtuous Kenney Jones drum display that has been sampled by other artists a number of times for their own compositions. The song is credited to all of the members of the group minus Stewart, with each of them lending stellar contributions. Ronnie Wood spreads a glassy layer of slippery slide guitar across the top of the jumpy groove and we are left with a squeal around corners version of one of Faces finest instrumental excursions.

'Glad and Sorry' (Ohh La La 1973): A fine Ronnie Lane composition from the Faces final studio LP. The tune is based and developed around a buoyant and circular piano perfectly intersected by slashing Ronnie Wood acoustic guitar interjections. “Glad and Sorry” contains a brilliant band performance where everything comes together perfectly, reveling the soft center beneath the group’s crusty exterior. The song is of the earth, it's clear expressiveness and earnestness is the source of its attractiveness. The song’s lyrics again rely on Lane’s simple lyrical queries and contrasts that reveal different worlds to the listener through their open-ended interpretations.

While there are a numerous amount of songs that can be labeled with the moniker of 'deep cut' for the Faces, these aforementioned tracks are songs that I love but I also feel can be classified as classics; cuts that can be placed with the very best of that their discography offers. The group was blessed with the composing abilities of three prolific artists in Lane, Wood and Stewart and the Faces’ music reflected the diverse observations and beliefs of each of these principals. For a short musical time, the wealth of material being created by the band, in addition to the popularity of the group, overwhelmed and obscured some of their most beautiful music. It's rediscovery is cause for celebration and gives the 'rock room' one additional reason to raise a glass to the band.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Take One: The Pretty Things - 'Defecting Grey' 1967 Single-' Casting Gardens of Shadow'


Originally composed as an extended hallucinatory epic and then edited down due to vinyl restrictions to fit on the ‘A’ side of a 7’ singles, The Pretty Things November 1967 single ‘Defecting Grey’ initiated the ‘Pretty’s’ move from revolutionary British R & B to some of the era’s most rich psychedelia. A band that never reached the overseas popularity as many of their contemporaries, ‘The Pretty Things’ impressive catalog includes but is not limited to rock and roll’s first ‘rock opera’ (pre-dating Tommy).

The groups mid 1960’s output ranges from the gritty R &B that earned them their reputation in England through the subject of this rant, their experimental period leading up and through what many believe to be their pinnacle, the 1968 LP S.F. Sorrow; a song cycle telling the tale of protagonist Sebastian F. Sorrow’s journey through his own life cycle. 

‘Defecting Grey’ is S.F. Sorrow’s younger sibling, the song that gestated into Sorrow. Founding Pretty Phil May is quoted as saying in an interview with Richie Unterberger about the track, ‘That's about somebody who -- in those days, we used to call it "Grey", somebody, like, who does a job.  Grey suit, really.  And this was somebody, like the people we've met, who suddenly realized that everything they'd lived for, and were brought up to believe in, possibly wasn't right.  And this guy was actually going from being very straight...he was becoming homosexual, or his homosexual side was coming out.  But of course on the record, nobody picks that up.  But it's "sitting alone on a bench with you, the brush of your hand, chasing shadows away", that's the story.  But it didn't matter what people knew about it.  It was our idea that made us make the music.  'Cause we knew what we were doing, what the story line was; and the same with S.F. Sorrow.  Once I'd written the story, we suddenly had something to work from.  We had like 14 months to make this picture up.’

The song was the recipient of the band’s forward thinking, dabbling in psychedelics and the influence of their contemporaries, especially ‘Pink Floyd’ whom producer Norman Smith worked closely with during the same period.  Similarly to many of their contemporaries the group was leaving their formative R and B/Blues beginnings behind for deeper sonic experiments. Norman is also well known as engineering with George Martin on many Beatles recordings. Lyrically the song takes place in the pastoral setting of a British park, a bench the central location to the swirling cinematic changes that occur throughout the song. The lyrics remain stationary and disseminate the interesting narrative while the sonics paint the rest of the image. The track is a pastiche of segments and musical elements that develop together into the bigger image of the track.

Inspired by classical music, and the idea that an album should be an experience as opposed to a collection of singles, ‘Defecting Grey’ was the miniaturized impetus of this prospect. It’s almost as if the ‘main’ parts of the song, the ‘waltz’ verses of the arrangement play through as a normal song would. There is then a layer of sonic experimentation, an origami with soaring panache of sound layered over the framework where the ‘original’ arrangement can peak through.  The song is truly a multifaceted composition with tempo and key changes the norm, but somehow perfectly stitched together.  Transitions abound in both available versions of the cut. I am listening to the 1967 extended version which currently only exists in mono (like the single) from acetate which is the group’s original intention as they recorded it.  But I will also mention aspects of the officially released single reading which loses some of the extended aspects of the unreleased version. Even Norman Smith understood the organic story taking place in the song and did not feel like it required editing. Regardless, both versions of the track are very important and vital chapters in the psychedelic movement in 1960’s Britain. The single is tighter but the uncut version is like looking at a painting without the frame.

The song opens with an exotic, psycho-oriental descending melody line drizzled over the top of a dark  quivering , its sound caused by dropping a guitar to the studio floor. The carnival waltz of the verses bounds in, with a undulating bass and double click of a hi hat. Povey’s keyboards lend a smiley melody line, British dance hall at its finest. In spite of the comfortable pastoral setting, Phil May’s vocals sound if they are coming from ‘beyond the pale’, ghostly and mysterious.
Once the listener slides into a somewhat comfortable state, a disorienting and deformed backwards guitar and oscillated sitar (borrowed from the Beatles at Abbey Road) sweeps over the verse rising in intensity and color washing the track into a significant freak out.

The lush setting is sprayed in guitar day-glo. The rhythm intensifies as the jagged edge of Dick Taylor’s guitar rips into the fabric of the song. On the single version the guitar immediately explodes while on the extended version there is a chunky rhythmic lead in before the dissection begins. The ambiance is that of an alien sunset melted into a musical format.The music becomes weighted and begins to thrash around fuzzy and jagged. This is pure psych distilled to its mind-bending essence. The violent stomp soon dissipates into a fabric of exploding star fragments. The listener will be hard pressed to find such a stunning display of guitar distortion and effect captured on record.
After the distorted interlude a thick sonic wash acts as a disorienting segue back into the verses. The verses teeter totter to and fro again gently before being suddenly interrupted by an additional interlude. This movement is different from the heaver breakdown preceding it, this moment is a swirling vocal centered change a gentler approach than the first breakaway from the verses. The vocal melody line reminiscent of later Pretty's track 'Balloon Burning'

The final musical segment breaking apart the verses returns to the framework of the first aggressive freak-out of the track. A stringy electric beam of feedback blasts through the arrangement encouraging Povey’s keyboards to hurricane themselves into a swirling wash of white noise while underneath a gritty rhythm track chugs away.

The haunting verses appear once again this time now broken up by an unexpected dance hall interlude which peaks its head around the woody corner of a pub doorway. The contrasting sing-along pub segment is quickly sponged away as the verses appear again before sauntering away into the playground horizon and the slow fade out of the record.
In an era where musical creativity was reaching its apex and rock and roll bands were finding new and different ways of expression, a number of bands outside of the Beatles and Stones were releasing experimental and stunning records. The Pretty Things ‘Defecting Grey’ is one of those records that because of the wealth of creativity in the era made a statement and then fought for recognition as time passed on. The track encapsulates an era in the broader picture and represents a highly creative moment of the Pretty Things career when looked at in a macro level. The visceral track was influential to fellow musicians of the time and thought provoking for the music buying public and remains a song worthy of inspection and refection.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance - 'Ooh La La, An Island Harvest '-All Them That Took Me There and Back'



The perfect soundtrack to a resplendent Fall day, Ooh La La: An Island Harvest from the late Ronnie Lane and his ironically named early-1970s group Slim Chance is today’s rock room soundtrack.
Lane, founder of both the Small Faces and its follow-up group the Faces, penned or helped pen many of the most recognizable musical compositions of the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to his wonderfully melodic bass playing, Lane was a master of melody and colorful lyrical content. His later work with Slim Chance, however, was the rustic antithesis of his massive excursions with the Small Faces and Faces.

While always retaining the ability to create pop melodies, Lane’s music slipped into worn working clothes, tossing away the glitz and glamour of his prior band's world popularity. Of course, to this point Lane seemed destined to play a supporting musical role throughout his career, first to rock dynamo Steve Marriott, then to future Faces lead-man Rod Stewart. He often moved stealthily out of the spotlight, even as Lane’s other bandmates relished in it. The entire time, Lane would sit comfortably in the shadows writing classic songs, creating music on his terms and eschewing conventional commercial ideals.

After leaving the Faces in June of 1973, Lane purchased a sprawling farm in the English hills, and built his own mobile studio in order to create at home and also to follow his traveling musical circus, “The Passing Show.” Both of these decisions would eventually put Lane into debt, but they never dampened his incredible sense of adventure and his ability to elicit emotion through song.
Lane turned away from the rock stardom that he was never entirely at ease with, and in the process conceived a rustic and woody music rooted in honesty, simplicity and expression. Lane’s journey saw him mature from a kinetic mod to a musical farmer, and eventually into a folk-tale weaver.

The Ooh La La: An Island Harvest anthology, which comes in the form a two-disc set, compiles the best of Lane’s post-Faces solo work with Slim Chance. The set collects highlights from Lane’s two Island Records releases, Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance and One for the Road, in addition to a wealth of unreleased tracks and a prodigious concert appearance for BBC In Concert from April 23, 1974.

The only negative to the set is the absence of the first Slim Chance LP, Anymore for Anymore, which was put out on an independent label; hence its absence from this collection. What makes up for this loss are the live renditions of some of the songs from that LP, included in the live BBC concert, such as the bounding “How Come” and an intimate as well as definitive version of “Tell Everyone.”

Disc one begins with a resounding version of Lane’s “Ooh La La” which, drizzled with mandolins and horns, makes for a refreshing update of a well-known classic. The beautiful, largely forgotten composition “One for the Road” makes you wonder how the song was not Lane’s greatest achievement. His airy arrangement reflects a rediscovered country spirit, his comforting rocking-chair voice the ultimate bucolic refection.
The running order of the set does not reflect any chronology, but nonetheless gives the listener an organic pitchfork full of Lane’s finest creations. The delicate flight of “Harvest Home” is a highlight of disc one, a cinematic melody that sways on brittle prairie breezes and the rich thick scent of tilled earth. The instrumental resonance of the tune quakes with woody acoustics, tout strings and naturally created dynamics. There is an unpretentious musical attitude that pervades the collection and a true celebratory vibe that permeates the music.

“Give Me Penny,” another featured song, uses the stirring melodic basis that Lane would revisit for the song “Annie” off of the Rough Mix album, his future collaboration with Pete Townshend. An early take of Chuck Berry’s “You Can Never Tell,” also known as “C’est La Vie,” boogies with the windows down — showing off Lane’s rock ‘n’ roll roots were still firmly in place. The jam version of “Back Street Boy,” another unreleased track, hearkens back to Lane’s funky Faces days, with some chunky riffing and soulful saxophone arriving at just the right moment. The rest of disc one highlights Lane’s rich harvesting of hearty melodic memories with clandestine classics such as “What Went Down (That Night with You),” and the warm embrace of “Tin and Tambourine.”

The second half of the collection begins with an alternate take of what should have been Lane’s defining moment as a solo artist with, “The Poacher.”Striding acoustic guitar and swelling strings levitate the song to mystical levels. Lane’s diverse musicality is again on display, starting with the island groove of “Street Gang” and followed by the stony minstrel display of “Nobody’s Listenin'” and “Stone.” “G’morning” epitomizes the wealth of melodic riches sprouting from this collection, which highlights an involved and positive group collaboration. The 1974 b-side “Lovely” is an added bonus to the set, as its whistles, hand claps and rough-hewn vocals recall a vaudeville country jamboree.

The main course of the second disc is the complete BBC in Concert appearance. A perfect cornucopia of Lane’s Faces era compositions nestled nicely next to his blossoming solo pieces. The earliest lineup of Slim Chance wheezes its way through honky-tonk versions of “Last Orders Please” and “Flags and Banners,” as well as delicately navigating the melodic intricacies of “Done This One Before,” and “Tell Everyone.” Every song is a picturesque expression of the power of song, each player and instrument adding shade or detail into the final image. “Tell Everyone” elicits such understated power and grace that it’s difficult to not become emotionally invested. The final magical result of these performed pieces is a complete respect for the muse by the musicians — and true love for the art of the music.

Ooh La La: An Island Harvest is a must-have addition to any rock aficionado’s collection, as Ronnie Lane’s contributions to rock, folk, singer songwriter and even British folk and vaudeville music are unparalleled. His refusal to conform to rock business standards were probably his only fault, but the results contain some of the most honest and salt-of-the-earth melodic creations you will hear in the canon of rock. Ooh La La: An Island Harvest finally compiles the music that may have not found a home on the hit parade, but will always have a home in the hearts of those who listen.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tim Buckley - Newport Folk Festival 1968 –‘Honey In the Sun’



Playing today in the ‘rock room’ is a brief, but stunning and historic performance by legendary West coast troubadour, Tim Buckley.  Inspired by news of two upcoming (October 2018) live releases hailing from Buckley’s 1969 residency at the Troubadour, I decided to play a few choice live cuts from the available circulating Buckley live performances to be found in the ‘rock room’ musical files. Similarly to his career this all too short set by Buckley comes from his performance at the 1968 Newport folk festival. Thankfully recorded for posterity Buckley’s set is available ‘officially’ via The Bill Graham collection at Wolfgang’s Vault and ‘semi’ officially on import compact disc. I do not pretend to know the legalities recording this concert, so it may be a boot, it may be official, but one thing I can confirm is that it is special and worth seeking out. 



Buckley’s July 28, 1968 set is an aural snapshot that develops to reveal an artist on the cusp of full personal gratification through artistic experimentation and creative development. Luckily for admirers of Buckley’s work this set settles smack dab in the middle of Buckley’s most fertile and respected era. The blurred segue that blossoms colorfully between 1967’s Hello and Goodbye and 1969’s Happy Sad can be explored here in Buckley’s hearty 12 string, Carter Collins’s deft percussion and the emotive ringing of David Friedman’s vibes. Guitarist Lee Underwood is not present on this recording, unfortunate but allowing for Tim’s acoustic to take center stage. The available recording is a soundboard four track master with perfect aural characteristics, with a set book ended by Buckley originals with its core made up of a folk standard and a Fred Neil (Buckley’s idol) classic.

Following Buckley’s short British visit which resulted in the posthumous regal live release Dream Letter, Buckley returned to the states for dates well practiced and musically peaking. Buckley’s Newport performance begins with an introduction by Oscar Brand who expresses Buckley’s uniqueness by stating that Tim works in a ‘modern idiom on a fine bed of folk music’.
Later disregarded by its author, Buckley’s set begins with ‘Buzzing Fly’. Here in the freshness of its compositional birth ‘Buzzing Fly’ hovers spacious and in panoramic. Buckley’s vocals pour from within like ‘honey in the sun’ while his acoustic chime circles only supported by tambourine and glistening vibes. I feel that throughout this show and others of the era that Buckley is finding ways to use his live voice and what he can do to manipulate it. Obviously by 1970 he would exceed those vocals limitations and more. ‘Buzzin Fly’ is a proper introduction to a crowd that in its entirety may be getting their first exposure to Buckley.

Appropriate to his surroundings, Buckley follows his opening number with a definitive version of ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, a folk song covered by many and born in the 19th century. Strident and urgent acoustic guitar work is dressed in a startling falsetto and Buckley’s dramatic vocalizations that like ancient pottery are cracked in all the right places. The rendition is a highlight of the recorded performance and a chill inducing musical expression. Buckley takes a short moment to introduce his fellow musicians to the crowd following the song to great applause.

A stirring reading of Fred Neil’s ‘Dolphins’ follows and at the risk of sounding redundant is again an inspired and moving reading. Fred Neil’s influence is found throughout the Buckley catalog and ‘Dolphins’ would be performed by Tim, until his untimely death. This version finds Buckley stretching each line to its precipice before submerging below the ocean surface, then breaching back into the glorious light of his musical ecstasy. Tim’s gentle waves of vibrato stir above his undulating acoustic, vibe, percussion stew. The performance feels definitive to me and judging by the feedback of the crowd, they feel the same way.  


Just like that the set is concluded and while brief, even on tape I feel like I am witness to something profound. From the collective crowd appears one of the finest moments of the capture. A woman’s voice can be heard on the recording calling for Buckley’s ‘Morning Glory’. While not acknowledged verbally, Buckley responds in kind and encores with the final track from his Goodbye and Hello LP.
Buckley’s most covered song (Linda Ronstadt, Blood Sweat and Tears and others) is one of the Beckett/Buckley team’s most enduring tales; its lyrics drawing the interaction between a ‘searcher’ in his ‘fleeting house’ and a passing traveler. Unable to understand one another through their limited time together the song exhibits a sense of loss, misunderstanding, and sadness, in addition to a clandestine finality. All of the emotion stirred in the song stays at arms length as you never really know what the narrator expects or hopes to find, nor what keeps the ‘hobo’ from opening themselves more.  

This is what makes a great song its multiple interpretations and its way to bring to the surface feelings that the listener doesn’t even know existed in the first place.  What a way to end a show, ‘Morning Glory’ is played here in filigreed arrangement, a moist morning spider web glistening, only threatened by the slightest breeze, but sturdy because of its thoughtful design and delicate beauty. ‘Morning Glory’ played here is a breathless and fitting conclusion to this beautiful concert, a sparse and natural collective of organic expression.

For an artist in constant flux, this 1968 clip encapsulates Tim Buckley and acts as a primer to understand what he was about and what he was striving to be. Soon even the aspects on display at Newport would be replaced by new and more experimental ways of expression. Buckley’s acoustic would be put on its stand while jazz trumpets and atonal guitars eclipsed his folk leanings. Differing breezes were already beginning to stir on this aforementioned performance, but for the moment Buckley was content with where the journey had led him….to the stage at Newport.