Tim Buckley

Once I Was

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All but one of these eight songs from 1968 and 1974 are from the BBC. Five of the tracks were recorded in April 1968 for the John Peel show, and previously released by Strange Fruit as the Peel Sessions CD. These feature Tim Buckley at his most melodic and intimate. As on his posthumously issued 1968 concert recording Dream Letter, the instrumentation is sparser than on his Elektra albums. On these sessions, he was backed only by longtime guitarist Lee Underwood and percussionist Carter Collins. This quintet of tunes features songs from his second and third albums, as well as a couple of cuts that didn't make it onto records in the '60s, highlighted by a ten-minute medley of "Hallucinations" and "Troubadour." There are also a couple of less vital cuts -- "Dolphins" and "Honey Man" -- from a May 1974 broadcast. Ending the disc is a previously unreleased, live 12-minute version of "I Don't Need It to Rain," recorded in Copenhagen in October 1968 with Underwood on guitar, Niels-Henning ├śrsted Pedersen on double bass, and David Friedman on vibes. It's a reasonable, jazzy number in sync with the mood of Blue Afternoon and Dream Letter, but the fidelity, from a tape "found in a box of disintegrating reel-to-reels at Tim's home," is muffled; a higher-energy and higher-fi version is on Live at the Troubadour 1969.

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