Volume 94, Issue 99
Tuesday, March 27, 2001
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Buckley bio boffo
Dream Brother: The Lives & Music Of Jeff &Tim Buckley
British music monthly Q recently printed a list of the greatest rock and roll books ever written. Although the list was impressive, it already seems outdated because of the release of Dream Brother, music critic David Browne's biography of two of rock's most brilliant and tragic figures, Jeff and Tim Buckley.
Never less than enthralling, Browne manages to draw a portrait of the two Buckleys as restlessly innovative, tortured artists, both of whom were emotionally stunted and unable to sustain lasting relationships with those around them.
Through interviews with the subjects themselves, and conversations with their respective friends and associates, Browne pieces together a convincing representation of what the pair were like. He draws some amazing parallels between the lives of father Tim and son Jeff, despite the fact they never really knew each other.
Incredibly well-researched, Browne also brings to light countless unknown pieces of information about both artists, and his analysis of their music is also extremely enlightening.
Browne is a skillful writer; he ably reconstructs events so well the reader feels at times like they were themselves present. By the book's end, the conclusion one draws is that although he was heavily influenced by his father, Jeff was the greater talent. The younger Buckley was an unhindered conduit from whom music flowed from and who, unlike his father, came off as self-conscious and deliberately obtuse.
Dream Brother progresses in alternating chapters one chapter about Tim, followed by one about Jeff a technique that is mostly effective, but can sometimes result in confusion. At times, it's difficult to grasp the exact chronology of events; indeed, there are long stretches in Jeff's history where no mention is made of the year.
Additionally, there are a few points in the book where a figure from Tim's life is mentioned in a chapter about Jeff before they have been introduced to Tim, leaving the reader wondering who that person is for up to 50 pages.
Despite those flaws, Dream Brother is an excellent work. It's an essential read for die-hard fans of either Buckley or a good primer for those interested in the incredible music and sad lives of two brilliant men.
Aaron St. John
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