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Exclusive First Listen: Tim Buckley

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Exclusive First Listen: Tim Buckley

Exclusive First Listen: Tim Buckley

Hear The Entirety of 'Live At The Folklore Center, NYC — March 6, 1967'

Audio for this feature is no longer available. The album was released on Aug. 25, 2009.

Tim Buckley courtesy of Tompkins Square Records hide caption

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courtesy of Tompkins Square Records

Tim Buckley

courtesy of Tompkins Square Records

Tim Buckley was just 20 years old in 1967, when Izzy Young asked him to play above his store on Sixth Avenue in New York City. Young had never heard Buckley's music, but after several hours of conversation he knew exactly what he stood for — and that was enough for Young. In front of a small crowd of 35, Young set up a field recording kit amidst stacks of books and records and flipped the reels every now and again, as Buckley played completely unadorned.

Following one self-titled record, and with Goodbye and Hello coming just a few months later, Live at the Folklore Center, NYC reveals Buckley the singer-songwriter. Stripped of a backing band and string arrangements, these songs show the influences of Bob Dylan and Fred Neil — Buckley covers "Dolphins" here — more than any of his studio work. Without a rhythm section on folk-rockers like "I Never Asked to be Your Mountain," Buckley strums furiously, resulting in a hypnotic acoustic drone that beds Buckley's soaring vocals.

Aside from the audio verite, this live recording features six songs never before heard in any format. It's certainly a treasure for the Buckley collector, and an insight into the many directions he could have taken after 1967. There's the schmaltzy-yet-charming "What Do You Do (He Never Saw You)," and "Country Boy," an urban cowboy song begging for a snarling electric guitar riff. But perhaps the biggest connection to his later experimental work is "I Can't Leave You Loving Me." It has the passionate drive of Buckley's folk-rockers, but vocally he reaches far out into space.

No matter his location or time, Buckley never quite found his place. Even at the height of the folk revival in Greenwich Village, gigs were scarce during his short time away from LA. Still, he kept moving forward until his death in 1975. On Live at the Folklore Center, NYC, we hear an unabashedly hopeful Buckley, an unbridled youth forever embedded on tape.