Lord Buckley

Dig Infinity!: The Life and Art of Lord Buckley

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This 38-minute disc accompanies Oliver Trager's 405-page biography on Lord Buckley titled Dig Infinity! Owing to the highly individualistic nature of Buckley's performance style, this is a truly inspired idea. The material is split between an in-studio one-on-one interview and a quartet of concert recordings. The conversation is conducted by Studs Terkel, and was broadcast on WFMT in Chicago at some point during August of 1960. The four live performances include "Subconscious Mind," "Black Cross," "The Nazz," and "Murder" -- all of which were recorded at the infamous Ivar Theatre in Los Angeles during February of 1959 -- and were previously unavailable on CD. The dialogue with Terkel was documented during Buckley's residency at the Gate of Horn in Chicago, while on his self-proclaimed "Cosmic Tour." Buckley 'splains the origins of the youth-oriented vernacular. He also indulges in several of his most beloved "Hipsemantics." These include the inimitable way of reinterpretation via the mod-speak of hip -- most notably on "Willie the Shake" and "His Majesty the Policeman." There are also several brief discussions ranging in topic from the marriage of "word jazz" to musical jazz ("Jazz Poetry & Hipsters") to the firm comparisons between modern theater attendance and churchgoing ("Art & Religion"). The Ivar Theatre recordings are notable for featuring Buckley's monologues with a piano accompaniment as well as the stirring vocal contrast from Dorris Henderson. Her most significant contribution is the stark juxtaposition of "Kumbaya" during Buckley's haunting rendition of Joseph S. Newman's poem "Black Cross." So motivated by this piece was a concurrent young aspiring folkie named Bob Dylan that he performed and recorded the narrative early in his career -- although it was never officially issued. "Murder" is a psychopathic tale of paranoia and the havoc it can reap when unchecked. "Subconscious Mind" is a considerably shorter piece and fittingly opens the disc as Buckley demonstrates the awesome and at times seemingly autonomic responses of the brain. This disc is only available with the text, which is likewise of tremendous interest to enthusiasts of Buckley's humor.