Timbuk 3 introduced the idea of programmed music in live performance a decade before the use of samples, beats and mash-ups became commonplace. It must have been a trip to be in the Austin City Limits audience on Jan. 27, 1989, and gaze down at pat mAcdonald, freshly arrived from Madison, his partner Barbara K, and a boom box. But there they were, and this lovely account of remastered program audio is proof.
The CD isn't just worthwhile as a cool archive. The songs stand up, as modern-sounding now as they were groundbreaking then. This is due to the music but also because of mAcdonald's lyrical power.
mAcdonald told me that his father, Bob, was in the audience that night, down from Door County. Pat sat him next to an Austin legend, a dumpster-diving music savant named Blaze Foley. They all went out for drinks afterward. I would like to have seen that, too.