May 21, 2013

Tim Buckley - Song of the Magician (1966)

Born Timothy Charles Buckley III on February 14, 1947, this American singer and musician had a wide range of recordings that were categorized as folk, avante garde, jazz, experimental rock, soul, and funk, depending on the stage of his career. As a youth, Buckley moved from Washington DC to Southern California, where he and schoolmates formed The Bohemians, a folk band inspired by The Kingston Trio. Besides his band, Buckley started off high school as a bright student, excelling in academics whilst also playing on the baseball and football teams. It would be an injury sustained to his fingers during a football game that would later restrict his fingers’ movement and define his guitar style. Buckley’s second-half of high school was defined by his quitting sports and skipping classes, dubbing them to be of little value so that he could focus more on his musical endeavors. Although his appearances in the classroom were growing less frequent, it was in his high school French class that Buckley would meet his first wife, Mary Guibert.

Mary provided Buckley with an excuse to stay away from his home, where a series of old WWII head-injuries and severe job-related head-injuries had his father becoming increasingly detached and violent. Tim and Mary were hastened to wed on October 25, 1965 after Mary thought she was pregnant. Their marriage, which was ignored by Mary’s father and openly-mocked by Tim’s, quickly spiraled downward after they realized the pregnancy was a false alarm. By the time Mary actually became pregnant with Tim’s first child, the couple was barely seeing one another. Tim, working on his first album, had moved out after deciding he couldn’t cope with his marriage or his wife’s pregnancy. The couple divorced in October 1966, the same month Buckley’s first album was released and just one month before their son Jeff Buckley was born.

Released on his first album, Tim Buckley, this song was written by Tim Buckley and Larry Beckett. Along with Jim Fielder (later of Blood, Sweat & Tears), Larry Beckett had been in the aforementioned band, The Bohemians, with Buckley. When the trio approached Elektra Records about getting signed, it was only Buckley as a solo artist that they expressed interest in. Larry would go on to write or co-author many of Buckley’s songs. This song in particular was written by Buckley and Beckett while the pair was still in high school.

album art

Tim Buckley - Song of the Magician (1966)

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When I sing, I can't bring everything on the wing
Flying down from dizzy air
To the ground, because I care
You will be love and your love will live

When I smile, I beguile all the while, every mile
As I walk across the sky
Of the clockwork of your eye
You will be love and your love will live

Casting spells from a well
I can tell you, the bells listen to my magic voice
Learn the tunes of children's toys
You will be love and your love will live

When I die, do not cry, hear my sigh passing by
After I have turned to wind
I will try to help you then
You will be love and your love will live

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