Lord Buckley - the hipster bebop preacher volume one
Album Title   Lord Buckley - the hipster bebop preacher volume one
Media   Compact Disc
Record Company   Hallmark Music & Entertainment
Catalog #   715842
Year of Issue   2015
1   The Bad Rapping of the Marquis De Sade
2   The Nazz
3   Mark Anthony's Funeral Oration
4   Nero
5   Murder
6   The Train
7   Governor Slugwell
Label Variations  


Misc. Notes   Cover photo by Tom Heffernan



It was Bob Dylan who said ‘Buckley was the hipster bebop preacher who defied all labels’, whilst The New York Times described him as ‘an unlikely persona, part English royalty, part Dizzy Gillespie.’ Initially an MC working numerous Midwest dance marathons under the name Dick Buckley, he also developed something of a comedy routine, enough for notorious gangster Al Capone to bankroll a short lived nightclub called Chez Buckley.

During the course of his early career he picked up enough ‘hep’ or ‘jive’ talk to be able to incorporate it into his act and by the end of the Second World War had begun to adopt the persona of Lord Buckley, a mix between an English peer of the realm and a street corner jive hipster. Whilst Dick Buckley had been successful, Lord Buckley was n a completely different league and was soon commanding fees of $1,000 a week (then a considerable sum). Encouraged by his then wife (supposedly his sixth!), Lord Buckley began rewriting history, giving his audiences stories from history, literature and the Bible, all told in his distinctive jazz dialect. The popularity of his live shows soon led to calls for these works to be recorded, and fortunately numerous albums of his repertoire were released during his lifetime.

This particular collection, the first of hopefully two we plan to release, features all of the material that was originally released as Euphoria Volume 1 in 1955, alongside some bonus material recorded the following year. The album features Lord Buckley’s unique take on Mark Anthon)/3 Funeral Oration, The Nazz (which focuses on Jesus of Nazareth) and the Marquis de Sade, among others. The sessions were particularly memorable, with the Lord able to rattle off a full track recording without referring to notes or repeating himself throughout. That is why there is a spontaneity to his recordings that is lacking in many others of a similar nature. Which is of course something of a contradiction in terms since there was no one else who recorded material in quite the same style or manner as Lord Buckley. What is presented here is unique and way ahead of its time. It is not comedy as we might expect but rather a novel way at looking at historical novels.

If Lord Buckley is considered to some extent a largely overlooked or forgotten character, then the same cannot be said for his influence. The likes of Lenny Bruce, Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters all acknowledged Lord Buckley as an inspiration, whilst Anita O’Day fondly remembered him in her autobiography as someone who took her under his wing early on in her career and helped with her development. With the passage of time, now could well be the ideal opportunity for a Lord Buckley revival.


Each day still better other's happiness; Until the heavens,
envying earth's good hap, Add an immortal title to your crown!
Shakespeare: Richard II

"The flowers, the gorgeous, mystic multi-colored flowers are not the flowers of life, but people, yes people are the true flowers of life: and it has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily strolled in your garden."
Lord Buckley

Sir Richard Buckley - Lord of Flip Manor, Royal Holiness of the Far Out, and Prophet of the Hip - has gone to his reward. It probably won't be as swinging as his life, but Valhalla will have a hard time keeping him down.

I think it is terribly difficult for anyone who really knew Richard Buckley to think of him as dead. It is more like he has been on an extended engagement in Reno and can't get back to town - I still expect a 4 a.m. phone call from him, trying to borrow money, and tendering an invitation to visit the new castle, which is inevitaby on top of a mountain or just inside the gates of Disneyland.

He was that rare breed of quixotic non-conformist who tolerates nothing short of a full-tilt charge at life no shrinking beatnik mumbling poetry in a corner, but a heads-up, belly-in, screaming blaster in a red-faced rage, who never took "no" for an answer. His windmills were all marked "you can't," and he demolished a lot more than the dictators of social behavior would like to admit. He marched sixteen nude people through the lobby of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, organized his own brand of religion (The Church of the Living Swing, America's first Jazz church) starring himself and a pair of belly-dancers on a split bill which had the distinction of being the only church performance ever raided by the vice squad. The bizarre incidents would. (and undoubtedly will) fill a book.

His humble birth by part-Indian parents in Stockton, California, gave no hint of the riotous life to come, or his future influence on American comedy, but his presence is felt strongly in the Mort Sahls and Lenny Bruces of today.

The "blast 'em and insult 'em" school of comedians so popular today was actually started by Buckley when, back in the twenties, he became the pet of one of the big Chicago gangsters, who set him up in a nightclub because he liked the way Dick put on the suckers. Of course, Dick had the protection of this gang-land element during that period, and possibly he never got over it. He carried a bit of it with him always. He never really expected retribution to come or be paid. Dick always figured he would get away with it, and he. usually did. It seemed pre-destined that Dick could never really become successful during his lifetime. He used up all his luck just staying alive.

For a moment, let's turn to Elizabeth, his wife. Here was a woman who very deeply loved the man Lord Buckley, who bore him two children, and of whom I have only one outstanding impression whenever I think of her: she was dead-game. Elizabeth had resigned herself to living with not a man but a royal court, and sometimes it seemed that she met this challenge with more fortitude than Richard himself. She was the extraordinary wife of an extraordinary man.

As for the children, I have seldom seen any who were as wellbehaved and well-disciplined as Richy and Lori. It seemed to me sometimes almost as if Dick wanted to teach them what he himself had never learned. They were not disciplined in a threatened way, but with a very real and obvious love. I remember Dick once asked the children to show me their room, which was downstairs in the Whitley Terrace house; and one of the ways of reaching it was a rickety staircase on the outside of the house. It was around 2 a.m., of course pitch-black, and the children started to go down the less hazardous indoor route, but papa would have none of it. He hustled all of us outside, and as Richy and Lori, who were only five and six at the time, were hurrying down the worn-out staircase, he kept saying, "Faster, children, faster, faster," until little Richy and Lori were just a blur of running arms and legs. Then Buckley turned back to me with his best Maniacal look, and in a stage whisper said, "They are heavily insured."

To go on the road with Lord Buckley was another experience you would never forget, and. I once had this honor bestowed upon me, with the result that Dick and I didn't speak for about a year. But despite his disorganization you would find people in every major city who knew and really loved Lord Buckley, and when he came to town they dropped whatever they were doing and took care of him. He was that type of a person. Dick could not be ignored or put aside. To have him in your company was to yield to whatever happened to pop out of his head, and I was always amazed at the number and types of people who would, for a few days, quite joyously put their whole life aside and jump into the royal court to lead Buckley's existence for the time that he was there.

Dick could never hold on to money, or he never did, anyway. To know him was to have him owe you, but I don't think there is anyone who can really say that Lord Buckley was not worth whatever it was that he borrowed and, of course, never paid back. To have him visit you was to keep him, and his tastes, which sometimes were quite expensive . . . but few complained. Wherever he went, people seemed to pick up the tab, one way or the other, because Richard was always broke. However, if he had money, no matter how large the sum, he would spend it the same way. He did not treat his money any differently than he treated yours, and it seemed that the only thing he was concerned about was to get rid of it as quickly as possible. I have seen him buy dinner for thirty people with money he borrowed from me or anyone who happened to be there. He believed in life more deeply than anyone I have ever known. He extended himself more in that direction than anyone I have ever known, and he got his wife to go along with it. He made no compensations for anything. He went straight over or straight up or straight down, whatever it happened to be, with apologies to no-one and love for all.


"The flowers, the gorgeous, mystic multi-colored flowers are not the flowers of lift, but people, yes people are the true flowers of lift: and it has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily strolled in your garden."

Lord Buckley