Jan 30, 2011

Sweet Surrender: Tim Buckley

Note: I hope I don't offend anyone with this post, cultural conventions being what they are, so different in every country.

When I was a kid we used to watch a TV show called The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.

It was a cool show about a bunch of US Calvary soldiers led by the handsome Leutenant Rip Masters. Naturally the US Calvary Soldiers spent all their time fighting "Red Injuns" with the help of an alsation dog named, yes you guessed it - "Rin-Tin-Tin."

Like all good TV shows of that period (Book Him Dano! or Smith You've Done it Again etc) it had a catchcry. The catch-cry, which came from the show's little boy star (Rusty), was: "Go get him Rinnie!".
At the time Rinnie was usually catching a bank robber - or a "nasty Injun" - cause in those days all Native Americans were called "Injuns", and all "Injuns" seemed to be "bad uns"- and all bank robbers were caught by little boys with dogs.

Of course the big irony is that the Injuns, who had names like "Black Cloud", "Chief Running Horse", "Chief Red Eagle",  were often played by 'white men' - white men with fat paunches, white skin and white stripes painted on their faces. In fact, to be perfectly honest, now I read the names of indigenous Native American characters, they sound like heroes - which of course they were in real life.

You might be interested to know that the boy who played Rusty, was also in the movie Hans Christian Andersen with Danny Kaye. He later went on to be a very good carpenter. (Out of interest, you can see Rusty in the very first image of this post - the nancy boy one one over on the far right, with his left arm docked below the elbow - minor drop saw injury).

Travel forwards in time, to a few years later in 'real life', when I've hung up my pop guns and I'm a bit older, about seventeen, and Rinnie has gone the way of all good children's soaps - and along into the vacuum (along with the Doors, Deep Purple, Stones) drifts a singer named Tim Buckley.

Buckley was rumoured by his record company to have a four octave voice. With this four octave voice, he sang such groovy songs as "Get on Top Of Me Woman" and ... err..... other seedy songs that currently escape what remains of my little grey cells.

Suprisngly Buckley's songs were often about sex and/or  drugs. Suffice it to say, they weren't the kind of songs you wanted your teenage daughter singing. Suffice it to also say that lots of teenage girls did sing the songs.

Not that I was a teenage girl, but I sang them as well - often when under the influence of non alcoholic apple cider. I sang them yes - but sadly for my neighbours not with the same elastic elan as Buckley - because I am unique in the world in that I have a 'no' octave voice.

Anyway, Buckley (like his son Jeff) died young - which is very sad. He was 28. He died from a drug overdose.

Why am I telling you this?

So you know he is a great singer. All great singers, by definition, die young. Of course some really bad singers, or even good singers with bad haircuts (eg I'm leaving on a jet plane John Denver) die young. So it's not a mutually exclusive club - by any means.

In his Album "Greetings from LA"  Buckley had a song called "Sweet Surrender" - which is what I thought of when I saw his weeks Illustration Friday prompt.

I always thought that "Sweet Surrender"  was about surrendering yourself to earthly pleasures - but in retrospect, on a wider scale, now I have studied poetry at uni for a while and can write 2000 word essays about absolutely nothing at all, I can see that "Sweet Surrender" has several  different layers of meaning.

Just like this post.

For example, if you observe the previous picture I have zoomed in on the face. And in the next pic, I have changed the viewpoint. Apparently you have to do that for picture books, to keep the kids interested. Not that this is a kid's book. Far from it. It's not even a kid's post. Though there are kids in the images.

In fact, I was going to give you the lyrics to Sweet Surrender, but on re-reading them nearly 40 years later they seem so trite - especially  when dissassociated from the voice.  I guess it just shows that it's all in the delivery.

Ahh shucks. I can't resist. Here's a few.

So this flim-flam lover boy
Found him a flamingo.
And his flamingo
Showed him how to tango.
And when they tangoed
It'd send their heart's a â˜flutter.
Teased him 'till he'd stutter.
Made him so young and tender.
Sweet to surrender
And so sweet surrender.
In sweet surrender.

Ahh, sweet surrender to love.

So you see, the song isn't just about little boys playing cowboys. It's also about flimflams (whatever they are), flamingoes, spanish dancing, cardiac murmers, speech defects, cooking steak, lolly addiction - and, above all, romance.

So with the word 'romance' I have to leave you... but before I do one l ast picture. I have been practicing my negative space. It's something that I am bad at - like being silent.

thanks so much for reading. :)

If your eyeballs aren't worn out you can read about Tim Buckley here.  There's a pic of him on that web page and you'll see that, as well as being a fine singer, he had cool side levers.

By the way, please click the pictures in this post to m ake them bigger. :)


  1. Je suis contente de vous revoir!!!.... et tout d'abord merci pour ce dernier gentil commentaire.
    Nouveau travail dites-moi! Vous parlez de Rintin... j'ai vu, petite, certains épisodes... avec ce bon chien berger allemand...
    Je pense que vous allez avoir du succès avec ces dernières oeuvres.

  2. Boy oh boy, Andrew did you bring back memories! No offense taken here... and that comment about bad singers made me chuckle. I had never heard this singer so I will go and find him.
    As usual...love the artwork.

  3. Oh. I also saw Rin-tin-tin!
    And in black and white. (remember where I live at that time when we are talking about)
    At that time, there was an invasion of dogs called Rin-tin-tin. The Real Rin Tin Tin was a German shepherd dog, do you remember?
    Well, my neighborhood had bulldogs, pinxcher, Maltese dogs and mongrels. all called Rin-tin-tin!!!!
    Oh I also sing, but I never got to know if I had half an octave or less.
    Thanks for the lyrics!!
    Thanks, I was interested as a kid !!!!!!
    You know how to keep my attention focused!
    I'm not offended, eh
    Another day tell us about Annie Oakley, please!
    Do you remember when she was riding on his horse and fired his gun a few cards, and gave him right in the middle?
    What a time! people did not need glasses to do those things!
    Saludos from the Pampas!!!!

  4. I guess I'm far too young to remember any of this, but nevertheless, it was still interesting to read and I learned a lot, you seem to be very well informed Andrew! Somehow I've heard of Rin-Tin-Tin before.
    Well these pictures are just fantastic, it's interesting to see the same concept in different perspective and with negative space. And hey, you're not bad at negative space at all! I think this works very well here, it's strange how a different composition can change how someone would perceive a picture.

  5. Oh!
    premiering head again!!
    I saw a cloud shaped face !!!!!

  6. Oh, I remember Rin-Tin-Tin, I love the last one with the beams of light. Thanks for the reminder Andrew.

  7. You are dating yourself! But then I remember Rin Tin Tin too. It was a show that my brother, and boys would watch though. I preferred the more effeminate version of a boy and his dog, Lassie.

    Have you heard Jeff Buckley's version of Halleluja? It is hands down the best version of the song. Sad, they should both still be here.

    I love the illustration. I like the name of the saloon and Rusty is adorable. Thanks for the trip down memory lane..

    PS. What is FA?

  8. I come with my hands up. I surrender to the Sweeteness! What a fantastic illustration, Mr. Finnie! As always, I am enamored by the details -- the fading coneflowers and the little squirrel deputy, beautiful moccasins....ohhh, and the last Injun, er Native American, on the right has the sweetest face! They must be ambassadors from Ces's Bald Babies Club. Nice job on the negative space, hehehehe.

    I remember Rin Tin Tin! And I did not know about Tim Buckley, but I've listened to the beautiful voice of his son. Such a tragic loss, both of them. As for having a no-octave voice, surely you are in good company. Lou Reed seems to have done pretty well for himself.

    Now, I'm off to go learn the lyrics to Get on Top of Me Woman and belt it as loud as I can.

  9. terrific illustration and the multi-views are equally wonderful! nicely done!

  10. As always a fun read & I cracked up when I saw the "negative space" version! I'm also a victim of horror vacuii...

    I rather like the bird's-eye view, though I think the close-up is my favorite. Go get 'im, Squirrely!

  11. This is a marvelous illustration! I'm not familiar with your work, but will seek you out in the future! Well done! ( Bye the way, no offense whatsoever taken!! )

  12. Well, I want to be the Indian on the right. The Indians have the best clothes and the roundest heads. I think the worst singer is Barry Manilow singing Copa Cabana but that's our time All current singers especially the younger ones are awful. If I were a kid, I think I'll be scared of the scene, why? because it's dark and kids are supposed to be indoors at dark. These kids must be gamins.

  13. I don't know Rin-Tin-Tin, although it sounds familiar to me. I've watched the film with Lassie. It's not the first time I read here about personages I don't know, but it's only natural! It would be the same with you if you happened to visit Bulgarian blogs, wouldn't it? Still this is not an obstacle for me to see your wonderful illustration in details. I like the "mise-en-scene", the different moods of the boys and their... clothes! You've chosen them so carefully, mingling past and present, that I have the feeling you've created costumes for a movie! I like the girl, too - a light spot in the whole!
    By the way, when I read "sweet surrender", the only thing that came up to my mind was one of my favourite songs - Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing". Here are the words...

    "...I could spend my life in this sweet surrender.
    I could stay lost in this moment forever,
    Where every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure..."

    Have a happy week, Andrew! :0)

  14. Absolutely amazing! As usual!

  15. Wonderful use of light in this dramatic scene. Your figures are getting better with each painting. And I agree, amazing!

  16. UHMMMmm .... I started to read your comment:
    "What's another year
    When a second is a life ?"....

    and I thought Andrew will scold me!
    What did I do wrong? ...
    I do not know, was a compliment?
    Well, I guess so, thank you very much.
    Eh ... never tell an artist:
    'do you mind telling me about the work? "
    Because, the answer must be honest, and maybe you can lose a friend.
    Do you read right of my blog something about
    "Ideas can not be learned?
    Well, creativity is not achieved by writing on a blackboard at the university. (some get it, making friends of the art critic, lol)

    Thank you for your kindness without limits!!!!.

  17. hello there, I have missed seeing your work! I am loving the light and shadows here.....love the zoom in on the face, in the b & w.

  18. Julie Andrews had a 4 octave voice and didn't die in an accident or OD, so maybe it's not the kiss of death if you're female? I'm especially liking the b/w portrait.

  19. I came back to tell you how much I liked your new header and I found out you've changed it again - this one is magical, too! It's preparing us for the art and word illuminations that follow in your blog!) The change is refreshing...:)

  20. Another change !!!!?????
    I still had not finished watching the last!!

  21. The first was a positive change
    the second was more positive than the first
    the third is more positive than the positives that was the second to the first.
    The next, it will be positive + positive + positive++++++++ positive!

  22. Hola! I mean Hello Andrew.... Whenever I post a comment after Roberto... my expert spanish surfaces. Great post! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I love Rin Tin Tin! .... and of course Lassie. Did you know that the kid who played Rusty originally tried out for the part of Timmy on Lassie? He lost out to Tommy something or other. So he tried out for the part of Rusty. He got the part because Tommy was too busy with Lassie ;o) I think Rusty’s real name is Lee Acres or something like that. I love all the different angles... really kept my interest (I must be a child at heart) You really nailed the negative space thing too...hahhahaha. Take care... God Bless and adios!

  23. Oooo... I'm feeling rather intimidated entering your new posh blog. I wonder if my flip flops and tattered jeans will do. You don't have a creepy butler lurking around do you? He might just throw me out! :))

    Anyway, it's nice to know that you've came forward with the ability to write 2000 words essays that lead absolutely nowhere. No wonder I've had some occasional blank moments after reading your post. Heheheeee... But all worth it at the end, thanks to your mind blowing work! These ones are no exceptions.

  24. HI Andrew! How can you made somethings so magic? I wonder this always to myself...

    rin tin tin I can remember... hihihihi

  25. hola :)
    I've heard about Rin tin tin but never had the chance to see it. I guess being a kid in the 80s all I was left was cartoons and crazy nintendo games...I'm gonna look for it. I've read rin tin tin inspired rantanplan in Lucky Luke but while rin tin tin is very intelligent rantanplan is just stupid. It's fun to see it though (stupid dogs can be as fun to see as clever dogs I guess).
    Four octaves you said? Like Yma Sumac? That's very impressive I'm gonna look for his songs too.It's sad he died at 28. 27-28...seems a bad age for many musicians...
    I really love the outfits of the boys in the pictures and that's an interesting name for a sheriff :D

  26. Wow!! Laura is right when she says that your work is magical!!
    I do remember Rin Tin Tin.... vaguely.... it was way before my time...lol!
    I had never heard of Tim Buckley but I am very familiar with Jeff's work. What a tragedy with both of them dying so young!!
    Btw... I love your use of light!!

  27. I'm so struck by your ability to draw us right in, Andrew, through both your words and images. You're outrageously talented..as I kept scrolling through this fun post I just gasped when I saw the top-view perspective. You are amazing..can I ask how you do this? Is it from memory, or sketching, or reference books, or a mirror above your head (just kiddin')..that doesn't even make sense..don't mind me, Andrew. But I'm just saying, your work is really just booming right now (I am so non-versed in interesting adjectives)..but you get what I'm saying, right? And I cracked up at your negative space image. She is striking..and so thank you for sharing that last piece where I could see your fine characters and their stances, expressions, and detail. Gorgeous black and white image by the way - I think I am most partial to your b/w work..such amazing detail, Andrew!

  28. Awsome stuff! love the way you use your lighting. I can learn alot from you!

  29. Hey, Andrew...always provocative, always entertaining...and I like the new look.
    How is everything with you in relation to the cyclone? Could you let us all know, please...

  30. Good to hear you're out of harm's way. Thanks for the link. I'll pass it on to my friend. Keep your powder dry:)

  31. Hi Andrew!
    I watched Rin Tin Tin, every week!
    and as I was very nervous in the actions of danger! but 'he' was always there, so smart and obedient!!
    knew distinguished by which drawer should open
    to take what was asked ... hahahahhhh
    boys here, even had the "uniform" of the cable Rusty ...
    and the Indians seemed to be very bad to us...
    grew up watching Lassie and Rin Tin Tin!
    was cool! :D

    Well, this illustration shows quite a scene!
    great children, indigenous people, the hero on the stairs,the doors of the sheriff, through the misty light, elements placed ...
    in short, perfect!
    is always a pleasure to watch, admire and learn
    with your works!
    Greetings from our summer!

    ps: I was a bit 'tired', early this year ...
    but who took a vacation, it was my PC
    and let me see the ships ...
    or rather, the clouds ...
    in São Paulo, is not coast!

    for now I'm training my patience,
    an outdated PC...


  32. As always, my head is spinning. Those cargo shorts are popular, no? Get me a pair! Love the autographed portrait!

  33. This is over the top fantastic!!! I mean really dude, you are simply amazing! I remember the adventures of Rin Tin Tin! I was a Lassie girl though he he he he! Such wonderful information to know. I am always left in totally awe after looking at your work. It's like going to movie or something. This is awesome.

  34. Andrew,!!!!
    I dreamed again last night!
    I was walking along a road, long, dark, and straight. and fell way behind me like bricks in a vacuum (as in my previous dream, you know)
    But in this dream, I heard voices coming from below, shouting Ay, Ay!. Hey up there! be more careful with bricks!
    Do you think? Would this be a premonition?

    Test this weekend with the window of the car, on Monday, tell me!

  35. oh crap.
    i missed everything here, didnt i?
    excuse my pc...

    i remember rintintin a bit... not a fan though :D oh well whatever i miss being here so im enjoying reading this post yaaayyy i thank you very much andrew for sharing the song!!!!

  36. oh bytheway, im liking the rustyhead.

  37. noticed the new header too!
    (i dunno, is that new??? where the heck have i been...)
    it's great andrew i can see some bokeh which i like! but where are the cosmonauts going? oh yea okay down there, hahaha :D

    have a good weekend andrew!

    -OldMita (you know, im officially old)

  38. Reading your posts is like going through a whirlwind of someone else's mind, and what a fascinating trip--always. I teach creative writing to high school students, and they do free-writes, where they write whatever's in their head, wherever it takes them, without worrying about it being "right" or "making sense" and sometimes I get to read them, and sometimes the result is something similar (though obviously not as crafted, since it's coming straight off the tops of their heads). Thank you for the tour, and the wonderful pictures to look at.


Hya! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I appreciate your time and thoughts.