An Outstanding Tim Buckley Cover From Beth Orton And The Chemical Brothers

If he is remembered at all these days, Tim Buckley is typically remembered as a Sixties folk singer who happened to be the biological father of Nineties Indie Rock hero Jeff Buckley. But Tim Buckley was a genuine musical vagabond who was constantly searching for new musical templates to serve his extraordinarily versatile voice and his highly personal, sensitive, and often dark-tinged songwriting. His journey led him through Folk Rock, Jazz, Psychedelia, and even Funk and Avant-Garde before he succumbed to a tragic drug overdose in 1975 at age 28.

His son Jeff picked up where the old man left off, dazzling the Indie Rock world with his own amazing voice and musical adventurousness before he too met with a tragic accidental death in 1997 at age 30. But his brief, brilliant career had the side effect of introducing his father’s work to a new generation of fans, and this Tim Buckley cover, recorded in 1998 but just released this week, proves just how timeless and universal his music could be.

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It helps that the artists behind this collaborative cover are musical chameleons in their own right. Beth Orton is a fascinating artist who has made a career out of combining or toggling between folk rock and electronica, one of the more unusual musical doubles but one she pulls off on the strength of her distinctive voice, which is eerily reminiscent of the great Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention. Orton often worked early in her career with The Chemical Brothers, who brought if not a Rock sensibility then certainly Rock drumming to electronic dance music.

Together they recorded this fantastic cover of Tim Buckley’s “I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain” in 1998, but it has never seen the light of day until this week, when Orton released it as the first offering from a new music label she is forming. Together Orton and the Chemicals capture the energy and the passion of the original – a very personal song about leaving Jeff and Jeff’s mother in 1966 – but they crank up the sonic intensity to 21st century levels. Orton can be pitchy sometimes, but so could both Buckleys, it has to do with style and authenticity, and this amazing cover has tons of both to spare. Enjoy!

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