[141] Lord Buckley – His Royal Hipness

18 Dec

I am honestly not sure how to approach describing what it is that Lord Buckley does.  The fact that the best I can do is say, “Hear it for yourself” is in the end as strong a recommendation as any I have made to date.


It is an “almost” experience.  It is almost a novelty / comedy record, save that it is too sustained, too serious.  It is almost a jazz record, save the fact that there is only a phrase or two of actual music over the vocals on each spoken word track.  It is almost offensive, save for the earnestness, the obvious lack of intent to offend.  It is almost incomprehensible, until your ear drops in and you start to catch what Buckley is getting at.

It is almost amazing, save that I am just not sure how to fit it into my life.

So much of what it isn’t, but what is it?

Well, it certainly is a truly bizarre choice of recording in the context of the music that has come before.  And it certainly comes with a very healthy pedigree, having been lauded by the biggest names of both music and comedy, from Bob Dylan and George Harrison to Robin Williams and Lenny Bruce.

It is also unique and satisfying and challenging and ultimately enjoyable.

At times the Lord Buckley persona feels like an expanded take on a minor character escaped from the Goon Show which ran at the same time as Buckley was recording.  And I do so love my Goons!

I enjoy the speeches more than the narratives – Gettysburg and Marc Anthony over the Jonah or Gandhi stories – but in either case there is pleasure in catching the old meaning in the new words, almost as when a reader starts to grok Nadsat (to mix literary metaphors . . .)

His Royal Hipness is a performance caught in time, which was not quite of its time when recorded.  Timelessly dated, a paradox and an outlier, as much as anything to date Lord Buckley should be experienced at least once.

To quote an ad campaign which has lingered in my mind far longer than the product it was selling ever did, “Try it – you might like it . . .”

Next Week: Tim Buckley – Dream Letter: Live in London, 1968

Owned before blogging? No.  (12 of 141 = 9%)
Heard before blogging? No.  (20 of 141 = 14%)
Recommend? Yes. (117 of 141 = 83%)

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