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song to the siren (demo)

Tim Buckley, Larry Beckett


The band were concerned that Someone Somewhere In Summertime had lost its original spark whilst mixing it for Live In The City Of Light. After seeing Lisa Germano on a late-night American TV show, Jim asked her to overdub a violin onto the recording. During these sessions, the group also jammed Tim Buckleky's Song To The Siren.

"After the live album was released in 1987, we tried to do a Tim Buckley song, 'Song To The Siren'. That was in Woodstock and Lisa Germano was there - the first time we worked with her - and so was Garth Hudson, formally of The Band. We re-wrote part of the song and that section started off 'Soul crying out'." - Mick, Street Fighting Years songbook

Two versions were recorded in March 1987 including a vocal and instrumental take. It was considered for a B-side (possibly for Promised You A Miracle Live) but, feeling the song had more potential, they continued jamming and improvising. It was during these sessions that they started developing the ideas which would lead to Soul Crying Out.

Given its similarity with the eventual Soul Crying Out, this recording remains unreleased, although master reels exist in the Universal archive.

It was resurrected during the early Neapolis sessions at Loch Earn in January 1996, but now appeared in a new mysterious and delicate form, almost unrecognisable from its earlier Live In The City Of Light incarnation. Acoustic and delicate, the main melody was picked out on a dulcimer, keyboards and guitar. This version may have featured Alan Stivell who visited Jim and Charlie in early 1996 whilst making a documentary during which this track, and a combination of She Moved Through The Fair and Belfast Child, were featured.

The song quietly dropped again. It may have just been a jam for the documentary with Stivell, or simply repeating old ideas, but it was not progressed.

Woodstock Demo 1987

Long afloat on shipless oceans,
I did all my best to smile.
'Til your loving eyes and fingers,
Drew me loving to your eyes.
And you sang: "Sail to me, sail to me, come back tomorrow.
Here I am, here I am, waiting to hold you."

Did I dream you dreamed about me?
Were you here when I was frightened?
Now my foolish boat is leaning,
Your broken love lies up your rocks.
And you sail, sail to me, come sail to me, come back tomorrow.
"Oh my heart, Oh my heart shines from the sorrow."

Shines from the soul.
Oh my heart.
Oh my heart.
Shines from the soul.

Well, I'm puzzled as the newborn child,
I am troubed at the tide.
Should I stand amid the breakers?
Or should I lie with death my bride?
And you sail, sail to me, come sail to me, come back tomorrow.
Oh hear my heart, my heart, waiting to hold you.

Waiting to hold you.
Here I am, waiting to hold you.

Shine through the darkness.
Shine your light on me.
Shine your light on me.

Loch Earn Demo 1996


Here I am
Swim to me
Won't you come back tomorrow?
Here I am
Here I am
Waiting to hold you.


demo discography
Song To The Siren [Woodstock Demo Instrumental 1987] (5:50)
Producer: Bruce Lampcov

Song To The Siren [Woodstock Demo 1987] (5:50)
Producer: Bruce Lampcov

Song To The Siren [Loch Earn Demo 1996] (2:40)
Producer: -