Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Best Of Lord Buckley

A beautiful cover from one of the compilation albums of his work (with recordings from 1951)

01 The Nazz
02 Gettysburg Address
03 The Hip Gahn
04 Jonah And The Whale
05 Marc Antony's Funeral Oration
06 Nero

"Lord Buckley is, in reality, as important a character as Woody Guthrie. Both have similar reputations as troubadours of independence. Both also suffer from a somewhat skewed remembrance in modern culture, almost as if they didn't exist -- but Buckley did exist. Purveyor of the hippest slang and jargon of the 20th century, he was not only a comedian but a social and religious satirist. His most popular routine, 'The Nazz,' is the centerpiece of this record, a truly engaging and twisted take of Jesus and his effect on his disciples. There are many other great cuts, such as 'Nero' and 'Jonah and the Whale.' All showcase a man that can make you laugh and, most importantly, think." Source:

"George Harrison's 1977 hit song 'Crackerbox Palace' was indeed named after Buckley's tiny Hollywood dwelling. The Mr. Greif referred to in the song was once Buckley's manager, and '...the Lord is well inside of you...' refers to the earthly, not the heavenly, divinity. Jimmy Buffett has recorded and performed an original Buckley number called 'God's Own Drunk.' Bob Dylan fell in love with 'Black Cross,' the story of a black man who is lynched for his supposed lack of religious beliefs. Written by a Cleveland poet named Joseph Newman, it was one of the few works Buckley recited in its original form. Dylan performed 'Black Cross' in concert and two bootleg recordings from 1961 and 1962 do exist. If you look closely at the cover of Dylan's album, Bringing It All Back Home, you will see a copy of Buckley's album, The Best of Lord Buckley (Crestview), on the mantle over the fireplace. And Frank Zappa edited His Lordship's LP, a most immaculately hip aristocrat, when he was sixteen years old."

   CHARLES TACOT - (from the back cover of the "The best of Lord Buckley"-album):

In some way the way he was presented on covers, pictures he had something from a combination of Salvador Dali, a madman, a dandy and a real lord. He was one of the main inspirations from Captain Beefheart. He was rediscovered by Frank Zappa and reissued on his own label.

Lord Buckley did not really have anything to do with music. He was a performer. A performer of literature and stories which he transformed into his genius storytelling talent. What did I say "storytelling"? I could still better say "music". When he tells the rhythm, the noises, the different voices, all come to live as one brooding living monster, undangerous, like a monster from a Punch-and-Judy show, but as alive to us listeners as a monster in a puppet-show is alive for children.

Sir Richard Buckley-Lord of Flip Manor, Royal Holiness of the Far Out, and Prophet of the Hip-has gone to his reward.  It probably won't be as swinging as his life, but Valhalla will have a. hard time keeping him down.

I think it is terribly difficult for anyone who really knew Richard Buckley to think of him as dead. lt is more like he has been on an extended engagement in Reno and can't get back to town-I still expect a 4 a.m. phone call from him, trying to borrow money, and tendering an invitation to visit the new castle, which is inevitably on top of a mountain or just inside the gates of Disneyland.

He was that rare breed of quixotic non-conformist who tolerates nothing short of a full-tilt charge at life-no shrinking beatnik mumbling poetry in a corner, but a heads-up, belly-in, screaming blaster in a red-faced rage, who never took "no" for an answer.  His windmills were all marked "you can't," and he demolished a lot more than the dictators of social behaviour would like to admit.  He marched sixteen nude people through the lobby of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, organized his own brand of religion (The Church of the Living Swing, America's first Jazz church), starring himself and a pair of belly-dancers on a split bill which had the distinction of being the only church performance ever raided by the vice squad.  The bizarre incidents would (and undoubtedly will) fill a book.

His humble birth by part-Indian parents in Stockton, California, gave no hint of the riotous life to come, or his future influence on American comedy, but his presence is felt strongly in the Mort Sahls and Lenny Bruces of today.

The "blast 'em and insult 'em" school of comedians popular today was actually started by Buckley when, back in the twenties, he became the pet of one of the big Chicago gangsters, who set him up in a nightclub because he liked the way, Dick put on the suckers.  Of course, Dick had the protection of this gangland element during that period, and possibly he never got over it.  He carried a bit of it with him always.  He never really expected retribution to come or be paid.  Dick always figured he would get away with !t, and he usually did.  It seemed predestined that Dick could never really become successful during his lifetime.  He used up all his luck just staying alive.
[1926 - 1996]
For a moment, let's turn to Elizabeth, his wife.  Here was a woman who very deeply loved the man Lord Buckley, who bore him two children, and of whom I have only one outstanding impression whenever I think of her: she was deadgame.  Elizabeth had resigned herself to living with not a man but a royal court, and sometimes it seemed that she met 'this challenge with more fortitude than Richard himself.  She was the extraordinary wife of an extraordinary Man.

As for the children, I have seldom seen any who were as well-behaved and well-disciplined as Richy and Lori.  It seemed to me sometimes almost as- if Dick wanted to teach them what he himself had never learned.  They were not disciplined in a threatened way, but with a very real and obvious love.  I remember Dick once asked the children to show me their room, which was downstairs in the Whitley Terrace house, and one of the ways of reaching it was a rickety staircase on the outside of the house.  It was around 2 a.m., of course pitch-black, and the children started to 90 down the less hazardous indoor route, but papa would have none of it.  He hustled all of us outside, and as Richy and Lori, who were only five and six at the time, were hurrying down the worn-out staircase, he kept saying, "Faster, children, faster, faster," until little Richy and Lori were just a blur of running arms and legs.  Then Buckley turned back to me with his best maniacal look, and in a stage whisper said, "They are heavily insured."

To go on the road with Lord Buckley was another experience you would never forget, and I once had this honour bestowed upon me, with the result that Dick and I didn't speak for about a year.  But despite his disorganization you would find people in every major city who knew and really loved Lord Buckley, -and when he came to town they dropped whatever they were doing and took care of him.  He was that type of a person.  Dick could not be ignored or put aside.  To have him in your company was to yield to whatever happened to pop out of his head, and I was always amazed at the number and types of people who would, for a few days, quite joyously put their whole life aside and jump into the royal court to lead Buckley's existence for the time that he was there.

Dick could never hold on to money, or he never did, anyway.  To know him was to have him owe you, but I don't think there is anyone who can really say that Lord Buckley was not worth whatever it was that he borrowed and, of course, never paid back.  To have him visit you was to keep him, and his tastes, which sometimes were quite expensive ... but few complained.  Wherever he went, people seemed to pick up the tab, one way or the other because Richard was always broke.  However, if he had money, no matter how large the sum, he would spend it the same way.  He did not treat his money any differently than he treated yours, and it seemed that the only thing he was concerned about was to get rid of it as quickly as possible.  I have seen him buy dinner for thirty people with money borrowed from me or anyone who happened to be there.  He believed In life more deeply than anyone I have ever known.  He extended himself more in that direction than anyone I have ever known, and he got his wife to 90 along with it.  He made no compensations for -anything.  He went straight over or straight up or straight down, whatever it happened to be, with apologies to no one and love for all.

Thank you to my marvelous source, LBC  where you can find a wealth of information, far too extensive for me to include in this blog post.  - Leo