Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology, and The Dream Belongs to Me (Elektra)
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., July 13, 2001
Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology (Elektra),
The Dream Belongs to Me (Manifesto)Singer-songwriter Tim Buckley, who recorded nearly a dozen albums between 1967 and his heroin overdose in 1975, struggled to find his voice in the world, not surviving long enough to truly make his mark, but leaving a legacy of songs that reverberate with wistful clarity 30 years later. (The same could be said for his son, Jeff Buckley.) Sadly, neither of these offerings adequately reflects the breadth of Buckley's changeling talents, which included not only a keening falsetto, but a deep and abiding love for folk, jazz, rock, and blues. The Dream Belongs to Me revives six tracks from 1968, including the experimental "Song for the Siren" (which he performed on The Monkees) and "Buzzin' Fly," while eight additional songs are from 1973, arguably his strongest period, but it's easy to hear why these stayed in the can. The 2-CD Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology is a better start, but falls short of comprehensive, barely acknowledging the avant-garde effort of Lorca, for example, in favor of friendlier tracks. Morning Glory's emphasis on Buckley's first three LPs (disc one) doesn't hold up as well in its truncated form, and those songs of earnest innocence and social conscience ("Goodbye and Hello," "Hallucinations," and "No Man Can Find the War") sound flimsy and fey. Better are the substantial "Strange Feelin'" and a live cut, "Phantasmagoria in Two." Disc two makes a better case for Buckley's ever-evolving musical sensibilities, his folkiness morphing into a strong rhythmic groove that rocked and rolled through the pre-Dire Straits flow of "Make It Right" and "Sweet Surrender," as perfectly a realized song of yearning as ever has been written and recorded. Buckley guilelessly gives answer to the age-old question of why men cheat on women they love: "Now you want to know the reason why I cheated on you. I had to be a hunter again. This little man had to try to make love feel new again." It's a man's song, a sterling composition with unapologetic lyrics that hasn't tarnished in time. Liner notes call Buckley a "howling, horny wolf," but seldom is lust expressed so eloquently in such throbbing, beautiful music. When his anguished cry sounds the "sweet surrender to love," it's intoxicatingly romantic. Morning Glory closes five tracks later, a poignant reminder of Buckley's fleeting mortality that left the earth too fast, too soon.