61. Jeff Buckley – Grace (1994)
1. Mojo Pin
3. Last Goodbye
4. Lilac Wine
5. So Real
7. Lover, You Should’ve Come Over
8. Corpus Christi Carol
9. Eternal Life
10. Dream Brother
11. Forget Her
Who is/are Jeff Buckley?
According to his website, jeffbuckley.com; “Jeff Buckley was born in California’s Orange County in 1966 and died in a tragic drowning accident in Memphis on May 29, 1997. He had emerged in New York City’s avant-garde club scene in the 1990’s as one of the most remarkable musical artists of his generation, acclaimed by audiences, critics, and fellow musicians alike.”
Hard to argue with that.
Why did you buy this album?
I first bought this album on impulse during my first year at university. I was walking through the centre of Manchester, heading for Piccadilly station and a train home to London, when I stopped in the big HMV on Market Street. I had, at that time, a brand-new portable MiniDisc recorder in my pocket, and a handful of MiniDiscs I’d recorded from CD stashed elsewhere about my person. HMV had some albums actually released on MiniDisc, with artwork and plastic cases and everything, and I browsed those whilst keeping an eye on the time.
Noting a 2-for-1 offer on selected MiniDiscs, I grabbed two that had artists that a) I’d heard of, and b) I actually wanted to listen to; Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Greatest Hits‘, and Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace‘. Simon and Garfunkel was a safe bet, looking at the track listing, and tutors, flat-mates, and other fellow students had raved about Buckley, so I went over to the nearest counter and paid for them, getting a look I assumed was reserved for those using the trendiest of niche recording technology. Either that, or he knew mp3 was on its way…
Some years later, with my trusty MiniDisc player now gathering dust in a box somewhere, I realised I owned ‘Live at Sin-é‘ and ‘Mystery White Boy‘ on CD, but not the landmark album I’d enjoyed on MiniDisc. I bought the CD version of ‘Grace‘ to complete the collection, and the rest is history…
What’s it like?
After the occasionally self-indulgent and sprawling ‘Live at Sin-é‘, this is Buckley focused and doing what he was clearly born to do. With a full band behind him, and with only 10 /11 songs* to showcase himself, this is a superbly slick and wonderfully varied rock album, mixing originals with covers, including that version of ‘Hallelujah‘. You may have heard it…
It’s been widely acclaimed as one of the best albums ever made, and I am not going to dispute that.
After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?
It’s been a while since I last listened to this album, and I’ve really missed it! There’s no song on there that doesn’t belong, and although the additional posthumous song ‘Forget Her‘ threw me for a while, having been used to the original release ending with ‘Dream Brother‘, it now feels as much a part of the album as everything else.
Any stand-out tracks?
All of them stand-out for different reasons, but for the sake of this blog, I’ll pick ‘Corpus Christi Carol‘, because when was the last time you heard a rock singer doing Benjamin Britten, ‘Eternal Life‘, ‘Last Goodbye‘, and ‘Dream Brother‘.
There’s also ‘Mojo Pin‘, ‘Grace‘, ‘So Real‘, and ‘Lilac Wine‘. Oh, and ‘Lover, You Should Have Come Over‘. And ‘Forget Her‘.
Rating out of 10?
Next up: Jeff Buckley – Mystery White Boy
*’Forget Her‘ was added on posthumous releases, so wasn’t on my mini-disc version.