While I'm sure Blue Melody deserves a better rating than I gave it, I'm beleaguered by the fact that I'm more of a Jeff man than his old dad. Still, let's be objective.
Lee Underwood was a big part of Tim Buckley's life; having toured, recorded and played lead guitar for him during the most enigmatic part of his career. They remained friends until the end in 1975 and as such, Lee is better qualified than most to make this commentary.
Even those who, like me, aren't big fans, cannot deny the influence of Tim Buckley on popular culture. His self destructive personality is perhaps more of a tortured template for modern rock icons than the more obvious Morrison . . . it's just that you don't see it much when its filtered through the business end of things. Still, as Underwood points out; "A serious artist such as Tim Buckley simply will not be vanquished by the world's perennial inertia and unrelenting negativity." Not even in death.
Blue Melody is so much more than a biography though. It's more a memoir and a sign of the times than anything, and that holds a lot of sway with me. It turns the book into an easy read that features Buckley as the anchor point rather than the sole reason for being. This is a story of life in those (possibly more innocent) times gone by.
While the millions and millions of fans around the world will doubtless love Blue Melody for its subject, it would do Underwood an injustice to leave it there. Not only does he capture the essence of what Buckley was about, but also the generation and gene pool that he was brought in to. It is these little things that make the book a sheer joy to plough through as it spirals off in directions of its own making.
Blue Melody is - rightfully so - a must read for fans. I would never have picked it up had I not been mailed it for review, but having done so, have received an education (once again) in life outside of things that only feature flash bombs. A true artist and a seemingly genuine bloke - the world is surely worse off for his absence.
Ultimately, for a guy I know nothing about, Blue Melody is an excellent biography cum memoir of love, trust and despair. If anyone would like to steer me in the direction of a 'definitive' Buckley recording, I'm all ears - mail me at the link below. I get the feeling that Tim Buckley deserves rather more than just a passing listen though.
:: Sion Smith