Dig Infinity:
The Life and Art of Lord Buckley
by Oliver Trager
(May 2002)
Book & CD

Billboard May 28, 1955, page 44
Reviews and Ratings of New Popular Albums

Lord Buckley (1-10")
RCA Victor LPM 3266
This could be a sleeper. Buckley, a notorious man-about-the-jazz-joints and intime nitery comic, has committed to disk some of his frequently hilarious parodies on great literary passages, all done in various shades of bop lingo. In some he is the pompous Shakespearean; in others he is the hipster-raconteur. Material includes his versions of "Friends, Romans, Countrymen," and soliloquys from "Hamlet" and "Macbeth," plus "Boston Tea Party" and "Hiawatha." It's appeal may prove broader than that of the earlier bop nursery tales. Fine, off-beat party stuff--and perfectly okay for the family trade."

The Gettysburg-Address
(Abraham Lincoln)
"HIP" Translation by
45 RPM Extended Play
H-301-1 / H-301-2
Produced and Directed by
Lyle Griffin
Stratophonic Sound by
hip records Copy. Reg. 1956
Van Nuys, Calif.

Variety Wednesday, November 16, 1960
Dick Buckley, 54, billed as Lord Buckley, died of a stroke Nov. 12 in New York. The stroke was said to have been brought on by the picking up of his police permit to work in New York by the N.Y. Police Dept. on an old charge (see separate story, p. 2). He was working at the Jazz Gallery, N.Y., when the police lifted his cabaret card several weeks ago.
Buckley was known as the Hip Messiah because of his recounting of Biblical yarns in jargon identified with the beats. He had previously worked cafes for years with an act wherein he would mouth the words for volunteers selected from the audience.
Survived by wife and two sons.

Lord Buckley
a most immaculately hip aristocrat
Straight LP STS-1054, January 1970
Reprise LP RS-6389
Enigma Retro/ Straight CD 7 73398-2, 1989 (38:53)
Rhino / [Planet 3] CD 70363

3. "THE RAVEN" 7:36
4. THE TRAIN 2:24
5. THE HIP EINIE 10:07

Produced & Engineered by Lyle Griffin, 1956
Edited by Frank Zappa
Liner Notes by Richard Selinkoff

Lord Buckley LIVE
The Tales Of Lord Buckley

Shambhala Lion Editions
Audio Cassette SLE-20 (Z020), 1991

Side 1:
2. THE HIP GAHN (HIP Unreleased) 9:22
4. GOD'S OWN DRUNK (World Pacific) 6:19
6. THE NAZZ (World Pacific) 9:59
Side 2:
7. TROUBLE (HIP Unreleased) 2:53
8. MURDER (HIP Unreleased) 5:15
9. BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP (RCA Unreleased) 2:35
9. SCROOGE (World Pacific) 10:00
10. JAMES DEAN (HIP) 5:40
11. THE GASSER (World Pacific) 8:38

No Credits
Brief, Uncredited Liner Notes

Shambhala Publications, Inc.
300 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115

Sounds True
PO Box 8010
Boulder, CO 8036

His Royal Hipness, Lord Buckley
Discovery Records CD 71001, 1992 (51:28)

1. The Nazz 9:51
2. Gettysburg Address 5:11
3. The Hip Gahn 6:09
4. Cabenza de Gasca, The Gasser 7:36
5. Jonah And The Whale 7:11
6. Marc Antony's Funeral Oration 3:59
7. Nero 10:40
8. People (Epilogue) 00:25

Tracks 1, 6 & 7 from

(Vaya Records 10" LP VLP 101/102, released 1955)

Tracks 3, 4 & 5 from

Euphoria Volume II
(Vaya Records 12" LP LVP 107/108, released 1956)
Track 2 from
Track 8 from

CD does not include Murder from Euphoria or The Dog And The Wolf, The Grasshopper And The Ant, The Mouse And The Lion or The Lion's Breath from Euphoria Volume II.

Recorded Los Angeles, CA 1951
Produced by Jim Dickson
Engineered by Charles Tacot
Mastering by Joe Gastwirt
Liner Notes by Charles Tacot (ca. 1969)

The hip humorist whose outrage ignited Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor

Discovery Records, a unit of FirstMedia Music, 2052 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Tracks 1-8 also released on
The Best Of Lord Buckley
Crestview 12" LP CRV-801 Mono & CRV7-801 Stereo, 1963 and
The Best Of Lord Buckley
Elektra 12" LP EKS-74047 Stereo, 1969

World Pacific CD CDP 7243 8 52676 2 8 (63:10)
Released Tuesday, October 16, 1996

1. Bad Rapping Of The Marquis De Sade 16:12
2. H-Bomb 7:07
3. Chastity Belt 8:31
4. The Ballad Of Dan Magroo 10:10
5. His Majesty The Policeman 2:08
6. Maharajah 9:02
7. Scrooge 9:41

Produced by Richard Bock
Reissue Produced by Michael Cuscuna
Mastered by Dave McHowen
Liner Notes by Oliver Trager

Live Tracks 1-5 from
World Pacific 12" LP WPS-21889, 1969
Studio Tracks 6 & 7 from
Lord Buckley BLOWING HIS MIND (and yours too),
World Pacific 12" LP WP-1849, 1966

Introduction- Joseph Jablonsky
The All-Hip Mahatma
The Naz
Gettysburg Address
Hipsters, Flipsters, and Finger-Poppin' Daddies
The Religious History Of Alvar Nunez Cabaza de Vaca
The Bad Rapping Of the Marquis de Sade

40 page book
No Bar-Code or ISSN
Copyright 1960 by Richard Lord Buckley
Copyright 1980 by the Estate of Lord Buckley

City Lights Books
261 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, USA 94133


                     SHOW: Morning Edition (NPR 6:00 am ET)

                                 April 11, 1996

                              Transcript # 1844-15

TYPE: Package

SECTION: News; Domestic

HEADLINE: Sixties Jazzman ' Lord Buckley'  to Be Honored at Event




Friends, fans and artists plan to gather in New York City and Portland,

Oregon, over the weekend to pay tribute to jazz musician " Lord Buckley, " a

self-styled jazz storyteller who died in 1960.

   BOB EDWARDS, Host: He called himself ' Lord Buckley' - that's 'Lord' in the

royal sense - and he referred to his audience as his 'court.' That's typical of 

how Richard Buckley played with words.  Buckley was a kind of jazz storyteller, 

an improviser with language.  He was born 90 years ago on Good Friday, and he

became a legendary figure.  During his lifetime he was a friend of musicians and

celebrities, and an inspiration to countless performers and fans, among them

reporter David C. Barnett of member station WCPN in Cleveland.


DAVID C. BARNETT, Reporter:  Lord Buckley's  dynamic delivery and sheer physical

presence enthralled audiences.  Standing six-foot-three and weighing more than

200 pounds, Buckley looked like a cross between Paul Bunyan and Salvador Dali, a

Lucky Strike in his hand, a carnation in the lapel of his tuxedo, and a pith

helmet on his head.


 LORD BUCKLEY,  Jazz Musician: [to audience] Lords and ladies of the royal

court, we should like to salute William Shakespeare, and this language is called

Willie the Shake.  You know why they called him Willie the Shake?  Because he

shook everybody.  They give him a nickel's worth of ink and five cents worth

of paper, he sat down, wrote up such a breeze, [mimics a bugle blast with his

mouth] that's all there was, Jack, there was no more.


DAVID C. BARNETT: Buckley left his native California to become a performer in

the late 1920s, working his way through tent shows, dance marathons, vaudeville 

and big-band tours.  He landed in Chicago where he became a favorite of Al

Capone.  Years later, he made a lasting impression on another prominent

Chicagoan, author and radio personality Studs Terkel.


STUDS TERKEL, Author: Many people though  Lord Buckley  was black, you know,

hearing his voice.  Of course, he's a middle-age white guy with a flowing

well-trimmed mustache, kind of elegant looking, and he always referred to people

as 'your highness.' Yes, your highness.  And he referred to his accompanist, a

young kid, called him the prince.  The prince is playing here.


 LORD BUCKLEY:  Play me some beautiful, dreamy music, there, prince. [piano



DAVID C. BARNETT: It was in Chicago that Buckley began to experiment with what

he called 'the zig-zag talk' he had picked up from black jazz musicians.  He

explained why in a 1960 interview with Studs Terkel.

 LORD BUCKLEY:  [from interview] I found many times it's impossible for me to

explain or project myself in my normal sense of projection, so I would slip out 

of that into the hip and say, well, Jack, the hip, to tell you the truth, you

know, I'm not that, I'm not very cool today, and I'm a little on the down, and

would like to get right and tight, but I think I need a little more sleep, dig? 

So, I would fall back to that particular type and kind of expression, and it

seemed to refresh me, and then parlaying it, it finally came to me that perhaps 

I could apply it to the classics.


DAVID C. BARNETT: Buckley applied his hip semantic to literary classics such as 

Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, and to biblical parables.  His most famous

translation was a riff on the miracles of Jesus of Nazareth, whom Buckley called

'the Naz.'


 LORD BUCKLEY:  So, the Naz and his buddies was goofin' off down the boulevard

one day, and he run into a little cat with a bent frame.  So, the Naz look at

this little cat with the bent frame and he say, 'What's the matter with you,

baby?' And the little cat with the bent frame, he say, 'Well, my frame is bent, 

Naz, it's been bent for me in front.' So, the Naz look at the little cat with

the bent frame and he put the golden oz of love on this here little kitty, and

he looked right down into the windows of his soul, and he said to the little

cat, he say, 'Strike!' [drums, organ blast] The cat got up straighter than an

arrow and everybody jumpin' up and down say, 'Look what the Naz put on that boy.

You dug him before - dig him now.'


DAVID C. BARNETT: Buckley's use of the black musician's slang angered some young

civil rights activists, but the musicians themselves, many of whom were his

friends, didn't seem to have a problem with it.  In a 1991 interview, Dizzy

Gillespie said if Buckley could pull it off, more power to him.


DIZZY GILLESPIE, Musician: Mostly what I liked about him is the way he could

recite.  He'd say- [Dizzy begins to scat here].


 LORD BUCKLEY:  And my lords and my ladies, I'm going to hip you.  You may have 

heard a lot of jam sessions blown on.  You may have heard a New Orleans fifth.

You may have heard of Chicago style.  You may have heard of all kinds of jazz

jumpin', the wildest and the most insane.  You may have heard of many musical

insane flips, but you studs and stallions and cats and kitties never dug any

session like these cats blew!


DAVID C. BARNETT:  Lord Buckley's  performing career came to an abrupt end in

1960 when police forced him from the stage at the Jazz Gallery in New York

because of a dispute over his cabaret card, a permit required of all performers 

in the city's nightclubs.  Buckley's bust generated a storm of controversy.

Well-known friends and celebrities, such as Ed Sullivan, came to his defense,

and Buckley earned himself a place in the history books as the catalyst that led

to the eventual elimination of the cabaret card.


But it came a little late for the high-strung performer.  Buckley suffered a

stroke on November 12th, 1960.  His freewheeling lifestyle certainly

contributed, as did the stress of his last few weeks.  The coroner's report

cited natural causes, but his friends said he died of a broken heart.  To deny

Richard Buckley the ability to perform was to deny him the reason to live.  He

told Studs Terkel that for him performing was a spiritual experience.


 LORD BUCKLEY:  [in Terkel interview] The theater is in itself a church because 

it presents life itself in all its beauty and in all its rhythm, and it gives

the people an opportunity to analyze life and to look at life and see it flowing

before their very eyes.  And it's a very, very profound and very, very religious

work.  And when you walk into a theater, right away you feel, you have a

feeling- You have a feeling it's the meeting of the people.  It's the meeting of

the people to receive a great reflection of the warm love of life through the

talents and the arts of the individual.


DAVID C. BARNETT: Bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, and avant-garde saxophonist

Ornette Coleman played at Buckley's wake.  It was the only time the two ever

performed together.  Such was Buckley's power to unite a diverse legion of



Some disciples of the late  Lord Buckley  will gather at the West Beth Theater

Center [sp] in New York City tomorrow evening to remember his lordship and to

commemorate what would have been Buckley's 90th birthday.  A similar gathering

will take place on Saturday night in Portland, Oregon.


For National Public Radio, I'm David C. Barnett in Cleveland.