Happy Sad – Tim Buckley (1969)

Album no. 161/1001

Tim is back with his HIGHEST CHARTING ALBUM. It got to 81.

This is the first time Tim was writing all his own lyrics, and there is a bit more personal stuff. ‘Dream Letter’ is about wishing he could hang out with his ex-wife and son.

The music is more experimental too, with ocean sound effects, vibraphones, and a song based on a Miles Davis track. Not the sort of thing you’d expect after Goodbye and Hello.

Have you listened to this album before?

NK: Nope, just Goodbye and Hello.

CL: All I’d previously heard of Tim Buckley was Goodbye and Hello.

Standout track

NK: This doesn’t sound as ye ole timey as Goodbye and Hello. Not that I liked it much better. There’s more guitar jamming, which is not what I thought Tim Buckley needed.‘Sing a Song For You’ is 2.39, but apart from that every single song is too long. ‘Gypsy Woman’ is TWELVE minutes. Too many. It was really hard to pick a stand out track, because I had trouble telling them apart. I guess ‘Strange Feelin’, which is the opener. At least he starts how he means to go on.

CL: Did he stop being old-timey? I honestly couldn’t tell. This was horrible. It’s a pretty nasty combination of keyboards, folky guitars (sometimes) and Timothy’s voice – which does seem to have changed a little since the last album. Less falsetto, Joan Baez-type caterwauling, more low-key singing. I also don’t know where the ‘happy’ is on this album. It sounds predominantly sad to me.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

NK: Hard to recommend this really. Maybe put it on when you want to hear some xylophone and guitar jams? It’s pretty boring.

CL: When you want to hear an extended version of the Frasier theme song, but don’t want to watch the actual show. It’s the keyboards – I can’t escape the comparison. And I love Frasier – but not for 45 minutes, with old mate Tim wailing over the top. Not for me, thanks.

NK: That is…not a bad comparison actually.

Why has this album been included on the list?

NK: This is superficially quite similar to Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. Folky acoustic stuff based around the singer’s voice, odd instrumentation and extended songs. But Astral Weeks was great and this is terrible. Weird how that works.

CL: Van Morrison obviously knew the risk of using a keyboard that sounds like a glockenspiel – and made the wise choice of deciding against it.

Will you be listening again?  

NK: Definitely not.

CL: YUCK. No.

Rating

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to Happy Sad on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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