Friday, October 9, 2009

Feature: Tim Buck Day 6

Tim offers up one last song for the last day of his feature and more interview questions from Nabina Das. If you've missed any of his feature so far, you'll want to go back and catch up on some good music.

Tim, we have enjoyed having you as a feature very much this week - what a treat! Thank you so much for sharing your fun music and awesome lyrics with us. We look forward to hearing more from you in the future. :-)



Retro Rails

I wish there were a train I could ride,
a locomotive wheeling back in time.
A determined engineer and a stoker of desire
to shovel all my regrets in the furnace fire.

I think that it must have a plush smoking car.
I'll puff on anticipation's long cigar.
A porter to call out each lost town's past.
A loud whistle blowin', steamin' out a passion blast.

Gathering speed, we'll go in reverse many miles.
Gathering speed, the caboose will lead the file.
Gathering speed, we'll hit the station round midnight.
I'll disembark on cobbled streets lit up by dream light.

Retro rails, throwin' bright sparks.
Retro rails, runnin' from my heart.
Retro rails, layin' down tracks,
a-curvin' space-time front-to-back.
Retro rails, a-leadin' to her.
Retro Rails, hear that engine purr.
Retro rails, burnin' fairy coal,
a-takin' me toward my goal.

I will buy my ticket from an agent at the desk.
He will smile at my destination request.
I'll conjure him up so everything will be complete.
Soon, I'll dream of her in my upholstered seat.

On the platform, I'll purchase an enchanted bouquet.
I hope when I present it, the fragrance will amaze.
I hope it will remind her of me from time's Möbius loop.
The pollen of forget-me-nots might prompt her to approve.

Gathering speed, I almost see her face so fair.
Gathering speed, a dark-red rose is in her hair.
Gathering speed, she's reading beatnik poetry.
Gathering speed, I'll ask her to enlighten me.

Retro rails, throwin' bright sparks.
Retro rails, runnin' from my heart.
Retro rails, layin' down tracks,
a-curvin' space-time front-to-back.
Retro rails, a-leadin' to her.
Retro Rails, hear that engine purr.
Retro rails, burnin' fairy coal,
a-takin' me toward my goal.

I won't be too old nor she too young.
Her wild heartstrings will still be unstrung.
I hope my one chance this night won't be for naught.
I hope that she will fall for me in my thoughts.

We will ride the carouseling creatures.
We'll laugh on seahorses with pastel features.
I will reach out shyly to hold her hand.
I hope to be redeemed in midnight-special land.

A strange moon will hover in dark velvet sky.
She'll walk me to the train now geared for forward drive.
One gentle kiss I think she would me allow,
before I board and head back to the here and now.

Retro rails, throwin' bright sparks.
Retro rails, a-woundin' my heart.
Retro rails, everything a blur,
returnin' things to what they were.
Retro rails, leavin' her behind.
Retro rails, a train in my mind.
Retro rails, stretchin' out her kiss,
a-takin' me from the one I miss.

Music & Lyrics © Tim Buck

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10. What are your thoughts on experimenting with or creating music that was absolutely a new discipline for you -- like Australian Aboriginal music, Indian Classical tradition or Tibetan Monastic chants?

It would come out as a garbled monster. I'm too saturated with American and British rock music to ever be able to break into such new creative space. It would end up as a synthesis. Dang, Nabina, you picked some dandies there, didn't you? Aboriginal, Indian, Tibetan. A mad scientist would have to completely rewire my brain before I could enter those subtle musical worlds and make creative use of them. Oh, one type of music I'm drawn to and would like to learn is Hungarian-style gypsy music. Maybe I could play tambourine or something. :)

11. If you had to pick a contemporary poet for setting her/his work to music, who would it be?

Hmm...that's another astonishing question. I think you should replace James Lipton on the Actors Studio, when he retires. :) I don't keep up with and am not familiar with the big-name contemporary poets. A poet I know on Facebook is Connie Stadler, and I think she's on her way to becoming a big-time poet. Her work is so good, so striking. I would pick her. Besides the stunning vocabulary energizing her poems, she has an evocative “voice.” And she doesn't write in a single emotional furrow. She's not monochromatic. One poem will have a certain theme and “coloration,” and the next will be completely different. That opens up a wide field for musical inspiration. My daughter has remarked that so many of my songs are different from one another. So, I feel a natural affinity for that aspect of Connie's poetry. Though you will be assured that every poem of hers is infused with quality, you'll never know what the next one will be like. I think she has a deep heart and a complex, wide-ranging mind. I'm not sure I would be successful in setting her actual words to music. But, yeah, I'd pick her...maybe I could conjure some guitar chords and a melody for one of her poems. Having said that, I still think poems are different creatures than songs. Maybe an instrumental based on one of her poems would be best. And here's how I would do it: I would hum a melody and its variations into a recorder (after patterning out a rhythm guitar background) and then let Robin bounce off my zombie moaning...take it into those special, eccentric worlds he conjures up on lead guitar.

12. Which singer/songwriter/poet is your greatest inspiration? If it is Bob Dylan and Beethoven, you may name another and tell us why they are important.

Dylan and Beethoven are in another dimension. I could never make use of them for creative production. They are both too far beyond me. But they remain personal inspirations. Dylan for his astonishing lyrics and tunes...his not caring what anyone thinks about what he comes up with. Beethoven for his perseverance through emotional injury and for his music, which is the greatest music the world will ever know.

As far as inspirations for making my own music, I have to cite the melodic emphasis of the early Beatles and all those crazy-rockin' garage and roots bands of the sixties. I just can't zero in on a particular person whose style inspires or even energizes my output. I suppose in a way, I'm old enough to be my own inspiration. I was trying to write songs at the same time those early garage bands were emerging. I've been writing songs ever since, creating my own eccentric genre and answering to my own strange muses.

But this reminds me of something. Just the other day, I rediscovered Doug Kershaw, who I really liked 30 or 40 years ago. But I lost track of him. I found on YouTube what appears to be a fairly recent performance of him doing his song “Diggy Liggy Lo.” Blew me away. I posted it on my Facebook page, and I can't stop listening to it. I've heard no new song in well over a year that comes close to that wonderful chestnut. Its primal exuberance, its dancing swing, and its simple melody set it apart from today's too-knowing cool and dark, electronic pretentiousness. So the aesthetic of Kershaw inspires me to keep future songs simple, direct, and toe-tapping.

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Find Tim elsewhere on the net:

The Gothic Rangers
My Dripping Brain


  1. With each day, I am more and more impressed! Really want, no NEED a CD of this!!!

  2. Thanks again, Megan! So much...

  3. Hey, Jen & Chris!

    You two rock, as they say in young-folk parlance. :)