Soundstream Sunday: “Hallucinations” by Tim Buckley

buckley4I realized last week when I featured the Sun River song “Esperanza Villanueva” that if I had a nickel for every time someone referenced Tim Buckley as a comparison (as I did in my intro) I’d be a rich man. But how many people have actually heard Tim Buckley? One of Jac Holzman’s/Elektra Records’ stable of brilliant, and troubled, artists, Buckley languished commercially while making music that thrilled his listeners and critics. He died young, a drug casualty (a tragedy echoed over two decades later by the untimely death of his equally talented son, Jeff), but left a deep, intense impression on the post-Dylan outsider folk and singer-songwriter scene he helped create. With his soaring voice and chiming twelve-string, Buckley leaned heavily into jazz, and the band you hear on this smoldering live version of “Hallucinations” — from London in 1968 — are jazzbos (not unusual in this fertile period in “folk” music, where Coltrane held as much sway as Guthrie). Where the studio version of the song feels overly-structured and baroque, here “Hallucinations” is free flowing, long form, Lee Underwood’s electric guitar, David Friedman’s vibes, and (sitting in from Pentangle) Danny Thompson’s bass creating a killer, punctuated Om. There was a time for me, glimpsed now across a thousand other Sunday mornings, when this song accompanied a drag or two off a joint and a walk across Central Park. To see the art.


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