Wild-Eyed Folk by Jeff Buckley’s Father

Tim Buckley was, like his son, an electrifying figure.


Tim Buckley
Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974
Omnivore
 
Lady, Give Me Your Key
Light in the Attic

Courtesy of Omnivore

Probably best known today as the father of Jeff Buckley, Tim Buckley was, like his son, an electrifying figure, a hyper-romantic, wild-eyed folkie who seemed to inhabit each moment with burning intensity. He was revered for albums like Goodbye and Hello and Happy Sad, and decidedly not a singles artist. Still, Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974 is an intriguing look at Buckley from an unexpected perspective, portraying him as a more versatile auteur than conventional wisdom suggests. These 21 tracks, most previously released, range from baroque chamber pop (the title song) and jazzy meditations (“Happy Time”), to bluesy rockers (“Wanda Lu”) and R&B (“Stone in Love”). None of them seem like strong contenders for Top 40 radio, however.

The one newly unearthed song on Wings, “Lady, Give Me Your Key,” also furnishes the title for a fascinating collection of previously unissued 1967 solo acoustic demos. Six of the 13 were redone for Goodbye and Hello, but most of the others are essentially the only recordings of those songs, making this an essential listen for Buckleyphiles. The sound quality isn’t perfect, drawing on sometimes-scratchy acetates, but in a way that only enhances the aura of magical discovery. Anybody in love with Jeff Buckley’s Grace and his definitive version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” but unaware of his parentage, is advised to find out who supplied the DNA that made him so special. Either of these compelling sets is a good starting point.