Excellent! Whatever your ideas of Jeff Buckley's radio hit, this live double disc makes it clear that he comes from the tradition of harrowing, intense, too-intimate singer-songwriters like _Sister Lovers_-era Alex Chilton, _Astral Weeks_y Van Morrison, Nina Simone, and, of course, his father, Tim Buckley. The fact that he can pull this off live and with nothing more than a sparely-played guitar makes this collection even more remarkable.|
Buckley plays a number of original songs but also some great covers of songs by Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen and Led Zeppelin. It's really fun to hear Buckley just being a fan and sad to think of what he could have done.
This album sounds fantastic for a live concert. The guitar is clean, and sometimes reverberant which gives an overall spooky effect (think the acoustic guitar underneath the noise in Big Star's "Kanga-roo"). I love this kind of playing. Buckley's tendency to use his powerful voice and his love of scatting may turn off some listeners, but there's enough to like on just about any track.
One should note that a lot of these tracks are _very_ long with Buckley playing with the tempo and improvising. Also, many of Buckley's interpretations of disparate songs tend to sound a little too alike, so it's best to pick what you like best from this album.
J did a fantastic show highlighting this album. If you want to know what to play with it, look at his playlist.
disc 1: 3, 2, 9, 16, 18
disc 2: 14, 4, 16
1. stomping, bluesy, a capella, story of love/being whipped
2. Buckley original, dramatic, downer, romantic defeat, simple guitar part
3. Buckley original, intense love song, fascinating phrasing
5. Buckley original, slow section with deep vocals alternates with a little more cheery upbeat part, dramatic climax
7. famous anti-lynching song, bluesy guitar accompaniment, moaning towards end, incredible tension
8. Zeppelin cover, fun to hear it was played off as singer-songwriter tune, bluesy soulful reading, a little more upbeat
9. beautiful Nina Simone love song with Simone's minuet-flavored piano part playing on guitar, most tasteful vocals
10. parody of Van Morrison's "Moondance"
11. original, straight-forward song of romantic departure. very Tim Buckley
12. jazzy song of devotion, nice spare jazz guitar, works well. a little amp hum on the recording.
15. bombastic folky original, philosophical lyrics of questionable insight
16. lovely Dylan cover, slow, soulful, works well with spare guitar
18. subdued, wailing soulful vocals, full of despair
2. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan cover, audience claps along towards end
3. Jeff Buckley being weird, fake Indan singing over Smells Like Teen Spirit
4. Dylan song, false start, tense beginning, straight-forward heartfelt reading
5. silly in-between song banter where he plays a bit of "Long Cool Woman," play with in-between song banter on Mekons' _New York_ where they do the same.
6. traditional folk song, soulful somewhat histrionic vocals over would probably be a stomping Zeppelinesque groove if it wasn't played on acoustic guitar
7. cute, but FCC
8. dramatic, bluesy, jazz tune. unfortunately, a little too conventionally white-boy doing blues
10. jazzier version of Van Morrison classic. bouncey, scatting, reminiscent of Tim Buckley at his weirdest.
12. cabaretish, carousel music, with lyrics in French and English
13. Dylan song made famous by the Band, acoustic guitar, rendition may be too bombastic for the song
14. unnerving (in a good way) Van Morrison cover, very spare guitar, scatting towards end
16. great Leonard Cohen cover, sad, gospelly, restrained