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TIM BUCKLEY: MY FLEETING HOUSE(Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Rick Fuller; Music Video Distributors; 2007)
“Decent documentary.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Handsome, sensual, sensitive, intellectually curious and frizzy-haired experimental pop singer Tim Buckley kicked started his career with his first album in 1966 (he signed at 19 with Elektra) and nine years later in 1975, at the age of 28, he unexpectedly died from a heroin-alcohol overdose taken at a friend’s house in southern California. In his brief time around the pop scene the noncommercial minded Tim had a small following of devoted fans who appreciated his clean sound, ever evolving musical style, eclectic musical taste, humanitarian concerns and easy going no-bullshit manner. Never on the pop charts, he nevertheless during his short-lived career built a fine repertoire of diverse songs.

This decent documentary gives those who never heard the singer before a chance to become acquainted with his music and those like myself who owned his early avant-garde 1970’s Starsailor album, the one he considered his masterpiece, a chance to revisit him some thirty odd years after his death (the album features the songs “I Woke Up” and “Come Here Woman”). The film’s main value is that this is the first-ever collection of his rare videos taken from live performances. It includes him singing on various TV shows such as The Monkees Show in 1967, The Late Night Line Up in 1968, on British and Dutch television in 1968 and other shows. There’s also a scary clip of an uncomfortable Tim conversing in small talk with Steve Allen and his wife Jayne Meadows on his talk show, which is interesting only in how square that TV show was (Jayne actually said groovy).

There are gushing with love interviews with those closest to him at the workplace such as his co-lyricist Larry Beckett, band guitarist Lee Underwood and biographer David Browne who wrote “Dream Brother: The Lives of Jeff and Tim Buckley,” that in the long run are more grating than useful. The film’s highlight is hearing Tim, who played a 12-string acoustic guitar, sing his songs such as “Song to the Siren,” “No Man Can Find the War”and “Morning Glory” in their entirety in a true troubadour style. The music speaks for itself. We don’t get to know much about Tim (talk of his married life is not part of the deal) other than his ever-changing taste in music. There are as many as 14 songs from his formidable body of work that get played (if you just want to watch the music, the DVD allows you to skip the interviews–which I advise doing).


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”