TIM BUCKLEY- LADY, GIVE ME YOUR KEY: THE UNISSUED 1967 SESSIONS.

TIM BUCKLEY- LADY, GIVE ME YOUR KEY: THE UNISSUED 1967 SESSIONS.

Having released his eponymous debut album in 1966, Tim Buckley was told by Elektra wanted to record a followup album. Before that, Elektra’s founder Jac Holzman told Tim Buckley he wanted him to record a single. Then the album would follow. This made sense.

Elektra were trying to introduce Tim Buckley to a wider audience. A successful single would certainly do that. There was only one problem though. Tim Buckley hadn’t any new songs. So Tim Buckley and his songwriting partner Larry Beckett began work on new material.

Their priority was the single project. Before work began, the pair spent time relaxing in lyricist Larry Beckett’s Venice Beach apartment, listening to AM and FM radio. This was where the  pair hit on the idea of writing an AM and FM side.

The Buckley and Beckett partnership worked quickly. They were already a prolific partnership, who could reel off songs in a short space of time. Soon, the pair had penned four songs, Once Upon A Time, Lady, Give Me Your Key, Sixface and Contact. These songs were demoed at Larry Beckett’s Oak Court apartment. 

It’s just Tim Buckley accompanying himself with an acoustic guitar. They were recorded onto Larry Beckett’s reel-to-reel tape. Despite having four songs for the single project, the Buckley and Beckett songwriting partnership weren’t finished yet.

This prolific partnership began to write some more songs. Before long, they had written three more songs, Once I Was, I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain and Pleasant Street. Neither Tim Buckley, nor Larry Beckett, knew that two of these songs would later be regarded as Tim Buckley classics. Just like the other four songs, Tim Buckley recorded these songs at Larry Beckett’s Oak Court apartment. They became part of the Oak Court Demo Tape. 

The songs on the Oak Court Demo Tape weren’t the finished versions of the songs that would later feature on Goodbye and Hello. Instead, they were work-in-progress. It was a similar case with an acetate recorded at Madison Studios, in Manhattan.

By then, Tim Buckley was touring in an attempt to build up a following. He was due to play several dates in New York. During some downtime, Tim Buckley planned to book some studio time in one of the Big Apple’s many studios. His manager Jerry Yester was keen to hear some songs that might find their way onto his sophomore album. 

Once Tim Buckley knew when he had some downtime, he booked studio time at Madison Studios in midtown Manhattan. Rather than take his band, Tim Buckley decided to record acoustic demos like those on the Oak Court Demo Tape. This time though, Tim planned to record just six Buckley and Beckett compositions. The pair had penned Knight-Errant, Marigold, Carnival Song, No Man Can Find The War, I Can’t Leave You Lovin’ Me and She’s Back Again. With just his acoustic guitar accompanying him, Tim recorded the six songs. Once the session was complete acetates were pressed.

These acetates featured songs that Tim Buckley thought may feature on his forthcoming sophomore album. One of the acetates, Tim Buckley mailed to his manager Jerry Yester, on the West Coast. He was keen to hear the new songs that Tim Buckley and Larry Beckett had written. So was Jac Holzman at Elektra.

Eventually, the acetate arrived at Jerry Yester’s office on the West Coast. He was finally able to hear the songs that Tim Buckley and Larry Beckett had been working on. Tim hoped that some of these songs would feature on his sophomore album, Goodbye and Hello. Only Knight-Errant and Carnival Song and No Man Can Find The War were rerecorded and eventually found their way onto Hello and Goodbye. The other three songs, Marigold, I Can’t Leave You Lovin’ Me and She’s Back Again Tim quickly dropped from his set. They’ve never been heard since then…until recently.

These three long lost songs are among the thirteen that feature on Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions. It was recently released by Light In The Attic Records. Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions features what many Tim Buckley fans, will be the equivalent as the Holy Grail. This includes the seven songs the Oak Court Demo Tape, and the six songs on The Acetate recorded at Madison Studios. Neither of these sessions have been released before. Indeed, The Acetate was only discovered by chance.

The Acetate only came to light when Jerry Yester was tidying out his house. He found an old suitcase, and began looking through its contents. Tucked away in the suitcase, was The Acetate. By then, several decades had passed and Tim Buckley’s career had been cut tragically short on June 29th 1975.

By then, Tim Buckley was a prolific artist. His songwriting partnership with lyricist Larry Beckett had proved a fruitful one. Tim released nine albums between 1966 and 1974. 

His debut album Tim Buckley was released by Elektra in 1966. Goodbye and Hello followed in 1967. Two years later, Tim released Happy Sad and Blue Afternoon during 1969. Then in 1970, Tim released another two albums, Lorca and Starsailor. 

Already, Tim Buckley had flitted between jazz, funk, psychedelia and avant-garde. Then on his three final albums, Tim’s music moved towards sex funk on 1972s Greetings from L.A., 1973s Sefronia and 1974s Look at the Fool. Alas, Tim’s dalliance with sex funk resulted in his music being banned from radio. Sadly, that was the least of his worries.

Over the years, Tim Buckley had grown dependent on drugs. For some time, Tim had managed to control his drug habit. This he was still managing to do on the 28th of June 1975, as he prepared to play a concert in Dallas, Texas. After the show, headed out to celebrate a party.

At the party, Tim Buckley took a combination of heroin and alcohol, and reacted badly. Tim’s tolerance level was no longer as high as they had once been. So his friends took Tim home. What happened next is unclear.

It’s thought that Tim Buckley took some more heroin. At some point, Tim collapsed on the floor. When his wife Judy found him on the floor, she put Tim to bed. Later, when she went to see how Tim was, Judy found Tim blue and unresponsive. Tim Buckley was pronounced dead on the 29th of June 1975, aged just twenty-nine. Music has lost one of its most talented sons, Tim Buckley. He however, left behind a rich musical legacy.

Sadly, that musical legacy hadn’t been discovered by a wider audience during Tim Buckley’s lifetime. He was still a relative unknown. That would change after his tragic death.

Since his death, interest in Tim Buckley’s music has grown. Especially, over the last twenty-five years. Just like Gram Parsons and Nick Drake, Tim Buckley’s has grown in popularity. Tim Buckley’s music is more popular than ever. This has resulted in many compilations and live recordings being released. They vary in quality, and range from lovingly compiled to albums that cash in the rise in interest and popularity of Tim Buckley’s music. However, Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions is a  welcome reissue, and is like stepping back in time.

Suddenly, it’s late 1966, early 1967 and the listener is transported to Larry Beckett’s L.A. apartment. Larry sets up his reel-to-reel tape recorder, and presses play. This he does during several sessions. The songs he records Tim Buckley singing became the Oak Court Demo. However, these songs are work in progress. Having said that, they’re of historical importance. Especially to anyone interested in Tim Buckley’s music. Two of the songs on the Oak Court Demo would later be transformed, into Tim Buckley classic. The versions of Once I Was and I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain on Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions show these songs evolving. It’s a similar case with the six songs on The Acetate recorded at Madison Studios.

Despite Tim Buckley’s high hopes for the six songs on  The Acetate recorded at Madison Studios, the only three songs that were rerecorded. Knight-Errant and Carnival Song and No Man Can Find The War later found their way onto Hello and Goodbye. It was released later in 1967. So was the single that Elektra’s founder Jac Holzman wanted Tim to record.

Ironically, none of the seven songs that feature the Oak Court Demo were chosen as the single. Once I Was found its way onto the B-Side, when the single was released by Elektra in December 1967. By then, Once I Was a quite different song than the one that was recorded at Larry Beckett’s L.A. apartment. However, somewhat belatedly, the songs from the Oak Court Demo are available for all to hear.

Nearly fifty years later, the songs from the Oak Court Demo and The Acetate recorded at Madison Studio, in Manhattan feature on Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions. It was released recently by Light In The Attic. For fans of Tim Buckley, the music on Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions is akin to the musical Holy Grail which has been discovered after nearly fifty years.

TIM BUCKLEY- LADY, GIVE ME YOUR KEY: THE UNISSUED 1967 SESSIONS.

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    1. TIM BUCKLEY- LADY, GIVE ME YOUR KEY: THE UNISSUED 1967 SESSIONS. — dereksmusicblog | O LADO ESCURO DA LUA

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