Jeff Buckley's You & I: A Guide
Anyone familiar with Jeff Buckley's music with also probably be familiar with his story; the son of folk legend Tim Buckley, his stunning 1994 debut album Grace had marked the singer out for greatness and was once named by David Bowie as the one record he would take with him to a desert island, but just three years later, before his second album was complete, Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River at the age of just 30.
Since his death, although there have been numerous posthumous releases including live albums, outtakes from the Grace sessions and a compilation of recordings from the incomplete second album, My Sweetheart the Drunk, many fans thought that would be it for the work of an artist whose life and career was cut so tragically short. But then in November it was announced that a new collection of never-before-released recordings from his early career would be packaged into an album and this week the resulting collection, entitled You & I, arrives in stores. Here's everything you need to know about it...
When and where were these tracks recorded?
The songs on You & I are all recordings made circa 1993, before sessions for Grace had begun in earnest and Buckley was still experimenting and refining his sound. Most of the recordings were done at New York's Shelter Island Studio and recorded by Buckley and producer Steve Abbaddo, so they're quite as scratchy as, say, some of the recordings on the recent Kurt Cobain release, but these are mostly demos and as such some of the songs on the album are a little rough around the edges.
Who has collated the songs?
The recordings were reportedly discovered in the archives at Sony Music while the label was gearing up for a 20th Anniversary version of Grace, but the track list has largely been compiled by Abbado and overseen by Buckley's mother, Mary Guibert.
What exactly is on the album?
Most of the album is cover versions, but these do reveal a little about the breadth of styles and artists that influenced Buckley's music and include songs by Led Zeppelin, Sly & The Family Stone, The Smiths and Bob Dylan, as well as tracks originally performed by jazz musician Louis Jordan, blues guitarist Bukka White and gospel singer Jevetta Steele. Particular highlights among these include versions of The Smiths' 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side' and Bob Dylan's 'Just Like A Woman'.
Is there any new original material?
Perhaps 'new 'isn't the right word under the circumstances, but in terms of songs written by Buckley that haven't been released before, the only previously unheard original composition is an unfinished track called 'Dream Of You & I', which features Buckley softly describing a dream in which he is watching a psychedelic band at an AIDS benefit concert over a finger-picked a guitar. There is however an early demo version of the title track from Grace which is believed to be the song's first ever recording and has not featured on any of the other posthumous Jeff Buckley albums.
Can I hear something from the album?
Sure, check out the version of 'Just Like A Woman' below...