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Happy Sad

4.7 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 10, 1989
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 10, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Ada
  • ASIN: B000005IU0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,323 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
This is one of my favorite albums by Tim Buckley, and marks his first forays into a 'jazzier' style. Each of the albums he recorded in his brilliant, too-short career has a distinct personality -- the closest relative to HAPPY SAD would have to be the sadly out-of-print BLUE AFTERNOON (PLEASE, someone, make this available again!!!), released shortly after on Frank Zappa & Herb Cohen's Straight Records. Buckley, unhappy with his relationship with Elektra, had signed with Straight -- and the label began releasing albums by him before his contract with Elektra was fulfilled, causing a bit of confusion in the marketplace at the time. HAPPY SAD (Elektra) was followed closely by BLUE AFTERNOON (Straight), which was followed closely by LORCA (Elektra), then STARSAILOR (Straight again). Too much product in too short a time proved more than the market could bear -- and Tim's record sales (and to a lesser extent, his radio play) suffered. The fans he already had delighted, however -- more of his brilliance to enjoy.
The album features a small ensemble, several of whom would remain the core of Buckley's band for several years to come. Subdued electric guitar, bass, vibes, marimba and percussion surrounded Tim's trademark 12-string and his incredibly capable soaring voice. The first two tracks, 'Strange feelin' and 'Buzzin' fly' draw the listener in gently but firmly as Tim weaves his spell, the rhythms gently swaying, the tunes melodic and memorable. The third track, 'Love from room 109 at the Islander', is much more dreamlike in mood and tone, more freeform in style -- but again, Tim's art is magnetic.
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Format: Audio CD
...or so critics have called it, and I must agree. This is music for a series of dreams, lovely romantic dreams, dreams of loss and regret, dreams of redemption...dreams that remain vividly imprinted on your mind upon waking in the half-light of dawn.
This was not the first of Tim's albums that I bought--that honor goes to "Dream Letter: Live in London, 1968," which stands as one of the best all-time live albums ever released and as a testament to what an underrecognized talent Tim was. Four of the tracks from "Happy Sad" appeared in shimmering, beautiful live versions on "Dream Letter," which prompted me to seek out "Happy Sad" on CD. And what a find: "Buzzin' Fly" speaks of warm memories of love ("Walkin' hand in hand/Along the sand/The seabird knew your name...") and regret for having lost it ("Ah, but sometimes, honey, in the morning/I miss you so/That's how I know I've found a home..."); in "Dream Letter," he wonders about his young son and what sort of man he'll become; in "Love from Room 109 at the Islander (on Pacific Coast Highway)," he sets down a long and dreamy elegy wherein you can almost picture him sitting on a porch overlooking the beach as the tide rolls in.
Note about "Love from Room 109": In a piece on Tim's life and career in the December 1991 issue of Musician magazine, Jerry Yester (the producer of this album and "Goodbye and Hello") tells of how the surf effect came to be used as part of the backing track. It seems the sound engineer somehow forgot to turn on the Dolby NR mechanism before committing "Love from Room 109" to tape, and consequently, there is audible tape hiss.
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Format: Audio CD
I had wanted to hear some of Tim Buckley's stuff for a long time because I am a huge fan of his son, Jeff. Unfortunately, around here Tim Buckley's albums are rather hard to come by and I had not been able to hear them. Finally, this summer an acquaintance of mine visited my house and had some Tim with him. He put on "Happy Sad" and I proceeded to absolutely melt into my chair. I was completely blown away by the beauty of Tim's voice. "Buzzin' Fly" offers a great example of Tim's ability to scale the heights of human vocal ability. He seems to easily move between pitches and tones in a way I have yet to encounter in the music of any other singer, with the only possible exception being his son. For me "Gypsy Woman" is the other highlight of this album, showcasing Tim's ability to carry his amazing lyrics to heights that no other vocalist could even imagine. His voice is an instrument both beautiful and haunting. This album is a must have. Tim Buckley now holds a place in my heart right beside the likes of Jeff Buckley and Van Morrison, and Happy Sad can stand strong when compared with any album by any singer/songwriter.
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Format: Audio CD
Tim Buckley made strings of album that worth 5 stars (up to Starsailor). Each of these albums are unique to others. For this one, it's his first venture into Jazz folk... Strange Feelin' is the weakest track in this record,(only relative to other superub stuff)but have its merit. BUzzin Fly's vibraphone accompliment makes this joyful tune full of verve. Love from room 109~ seems boring at the start, but after 2 minutes once you immerse in the sea of benign you would find that how relaxing and how great it is. Dream letter's dreamy soundscape make it one of the most romantic song ever. Gypsy Woman is quite different from rest in the record, it's quite soul in its spirit... buckley yell and cry and shout... with Lee Underwood's excellent guitar (buckley can't be without him) and last cut "sing a song for you", simple yet impressive.
What a pity that Blue Afternoon and Starsailor is out of print now. Try "Lorca" if you like something more experimental.
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