Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley [DVD/Bootleg]

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This is an amazing video release, not just for what's here -- that speaks volumes -- but as an indicator of the massive amount of work that still needs to be done by the legitimate music/video business, to explore its potential. Tim Buckley is a bootleg DVD that's a must-own for fans of the late singer and songwriter, with nearly an hour's worth of television appearances dating between 1967 and 1974. Opening with Buckley's spot (filmed at the Cafe Au Go Go) on the 1967 CBS network special Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution, it captures the singer in what were surely some of the most promising moments of his early career, in which he was reaching a national audience. The best early clip -- and, ironically, now one of the most easily available -- is from the Monkees' final episode, of Buckley doing "Song to the Siren" on an acoustic 12-string guitar. The BBC is the source for "I'm Coming Home," a black-and-white performance in front of a live microphone, backed by Lee Underwood, Larry Thompson, and Carter C.C. Collins. The centerpiece of this disc, however, is a 27-minute set of Buckley and a full band (complete with trumpet) performing on KCET-TV in San Francisco, on a show called Boboquivari from 1970 -- this is sort of the equivalent in Buckley's output to the Doors appearance on the New York public television show Critique in May of 1969, only a lot more bracing and exciting: there's an audience present, and Buckley and company respond with a degree of intensity and concentration that makes this set a highlight of his entire legacy. There are some flaws in the source, especially near the end, but those are minor annoyances, at most. The disc doesn't ever really descend from that peak, jumping to a promotional clip from the Sefronia album of Buckley doing "Sally Go Round the Roses" as a slow, hard electric blues number. This is followed with a pair of songs from The Old Grey Whistle Test, "Dolphins" and "Honey Man," from a British appearance promoting the same LP in May of 1974 (just 13 months before his death). The producers have padded out the length of the DVD with 18 minutes of live Donovan footage, from The TAMI Show, All My Loving, and Beat Club, only The TAMI Show is actually live, and the All My Loving clip is done in such a self-consciously arty fashion that it's difficult to discern an image at first, due to the low quality of the visual source material. Each clip and each song gets a chapter marker, with each new clip dialing back to "1," and the disc opens with a surprisingly elaborate menu. And the sound is all good and loud.