Blue Afternoon, released in 1969, was Tim Buckley's first self-produced record and his debut for Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa's Straight record label. This was Buckley's fourth album after Tim Buckley, Goodbye and Hello, and Happy Sad. Blue Afternoon used the same group of musicians as Happy Sad, with the inclusion of drummer Jimmy Madison. Several tracks on Blue Afternoon are songs Buckley had intended to record on earlier albums but had not completed. "Chase the Blues Away" and "Happy Time" are numbers he had worked on in the summer of 1968 for possible inclusion on Happy Sad and demos can be heard on the Rhino label's Works in Progress album. On Blue Afternoon, Buckley takes the folk song as his starting point and expands it, drawing on jazz influences to create new dynamics and to emphasize atmosphere and mood. This approach can perhaps be best appreciated on the mournful track "The River". During the same four weeks in which he recorded Blue Afternoon, he also recorded its follow-up, Lorca, and material for Starsailor.