Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Jeff Buckley 5: You And I

In the first ten years after his death, the estate issued what they could by Jeff Buckley, but were limited to one posthumous studio collection, two expanded reissues, a couple of live releases, and reshufflings of the usual B-sides and CD single tracks. While 2013 brought a pointless “very best of” in Sony’s redundant Playlist series, his survivors have shown restraint.
His rabid fans have also had two decades already to scrape up whatever bootlegs are out there, so the announcement of any “recently discovered” recordings will have to pass their muster first. As it turns out, most of You And I has indeed been unheard, in this format anyway. Here are ten tracks, mostly covers, recorded at his first rehearsal session for the label that signed him. Performed solo with just his electric or acoustic guitar, it’s basically Live At Sin-é without an audience. (In fact, while recorded first, this album shares four tracks we’ve already heard from those appearances.)
As ever, the real enticement is the songs heretofore unavailable in any form. That would be covers of “Everyday People”, “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” (the Ray Charles hit, not the Gerry & The Pacemakers one, and ending with the riff from “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress”), the old blues standard “Poor Boy Long Way From Home”, and The Smiths’ “Boy With The Thorn In His Side” (who also close the set via “I Know It’s Over”).
This would all suggest that he didn’t have any original material at this point. Only two songs written by him are here—“Grace”, which would of course be the title of debut album, and “Dream Of You And I”, a lovely acoustic sketch without words, save his spoken description over the chords of what he wanted the song to be. It bears only the slightest resemblance to the track of the similar title he would reject for his second album.
You And I is not a lost album, nor will it change the fact that we’ll never have a chance to know what would have become of Jeff Buckley. But it’s a nice way to spend an hour with an old friend.

Jeff Buckley You And I (2016)—3

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