Sunday, August 24, 2014


Jeff Buckley waited in the fire and found redemption and release in the portentous prayers of this ecstatic elemental effusion.  Buckley was the son of the folk jazz poet Tim Buckley, who died of a drug overdose in 1975:   "There are all of these expectations that come with this "'60s offspring" bullshit, but I can't tell you how little he had to do with my music. I met him one time when I was eight; other than that, there was nothing. The people who raised me musically are my mother [Mary Guibert], who is a classically trained pianist, and my stepfather [Ron Moorhead]...I just always sang. My mom and I would always listen to the radio while driving to school. "Summer Breeze" would come on, and she would sing the second harmony, and I would sing the third harmony. Music was like my first real toy. I was an only child for a while, and I was alone a lot of the time—and I liked it. I still like being alone ... I’m your basic average white boy, basically (laughs). Southern California, was born in Martin Luther King hospital in LA in ’66. Lived every place in Southern California ... Mmm…things happened. With marriages and relationships and jobs and stuff we had to do. One time we got evicted – all kinds of cool travails. But I finally left when I was 17. I let my mom move on and then I finished high school and went to LA. I lived there for about six years and by the end of that I was completely depressed and then I moved to New York ... I started writing when I was 13. I got my first electric guitar when I was 13, but I’d always been singing. I had my first little acoustic when I was six. But I started being in bands when I was 13. Crappy rock bands, avant-garde things where we’d like ‘wanna go against the norm, man’. A lot of crazy shit, Musically it sounded like, I dunno, Captain Beefheart and David Bowie. One of the guys was way into Genesis, like the old Genesis. Remember we were kids, man. We were just fucking around. But by the time I was 14 or 15 I finally landed back in Anaheim, which is where Disneyland is: that place is such a wellspring of hatred for me. Because of its straightness, and because of the conservatism and debilitating that is to any artistic soul – just anybody that’s different. Every time I came to a new school I was always the new kid and I could stare out over the classroom and know exactly who wanted to kick my ass and who was gonna be my friend, like where the misfits were." 

Buckley spent years in the Los Angeles area as a studio musician before relocating to New York City, where he honed his craft playing covers at clubs in the East Village.  He eventually signed with Colombia Records, who released an EP 'Live at Sin-é'.  Buckley would reveal:   "I enjoy being ecstatic. I like visiting all the emotions directly. Every emotion has a sound. My human identity forms my music ... [inspiration] comes directly from my dreams … People. That I meet. Sometimes I’ll have an indefinable feeling about them that translates into a sound in my head. Or the music of my childhood, or the music of the times when I really needed it. And I really need it now. There’s the holy trinity of Beatles, Hendrix and Zeppelin, but they have an incredible range. Anything with soul. I fall in love with all kinds of music and still have disgusting amount of hero worship ... Erm, Billie Holiday…Erm… Judy Garland, Edith Piaf, Bob Dylan, the Pistols, PiL, Duke Ellington; that’s one of the rare cases where amazing, incredible. Crazy music comes out of joy. The Velvets, the Pixies – I miss them. It pisses me off the Kurt Cobain’ll write a good song and it’ll just get fucking run into the ground by MTV. Oh… if you wanna talk about older stuff, I adore Patti Smith. And I carry Allen Ginsberg with me everywhere. Sun Ra. Oh God, we could go on for hours. Critically acclaimed, being on TV doesn’t mean shit. I’d like for people just to turn away from those things and go out by themselves and really get surrounded by the music, loving it or hating it. ‘Cos it really doesn’t matter unless you taste it. unless you taste it you don’t know it, not even from your CD player ... [Being a freak magnet] is my fault really because I welcome it. Apart from the music, my identity – my soul – welcomes extraordinary, extracurricular experience: possibly dangerous, possibly stupid; I’ve done a couple of those. Like getting stranded in Chicago in the ghetto, having a great time for four or five hours then getting picked up by the cops and the adventures that ensued therein. Things that would totally make my friends worry about me all the time. And they do. Like talking to people you’re not supposed to. The fringes are where life is happening. There’s the conventional world, and then there’s the eccentric world way out on the fringes and that’s usually what speaks to me most ... There are two kinds of beauty: there’s people that are born with a melodious soul, those that make music; and then there’s those who can appreciate it. And neither one is more important. One can’t happen without the other. The musician makes the music with the audience if he or she is doing the right thing ... Words are limited, actually. It’s a heightened way, but then sometimes if I say into the microphone as part of the music, ‘I know that you’re afraid to love me’ at the right time, it’s a balance between both. Music is for all the broken homes that’ve ever existed, ‘cos for once it’s the perfect marriage between a male and a female, the language is very structured and very male and the voice is wide open and chaotic and very female. I mean, the energies. It’s like blood is this flowing thing and it needs the structure of the vein to take it to the right places. And without it there’s internal bleeding and death. And that’s why it’s so powerful. And that’s what I see. But it’s basically just songs about my life and little things ... It has helped me, but I don’t… Last night it cured a headache. I had a huge headache in my shoulders and by the end of ‘Grace’ it was gone. It’s like storytelling, all songs and stories take you through this journey, this path, through your psyche, like a dream. And it can take you anywhere. So sometimes it even heals.”

'Grace' was recorded at Bearsville Recording Studio in Woodstock, New York with Jeff Buckley on vocals, guitar, organ, appalachian dulcimer, harmonium, and tabla;   Mick Grøndahl on bass;  Loris Holland on organ;  Matt Johnson on percussion, drums, and vibraphone;  Gary Lucas providing "Magical Guitarness";  Misha Masud adding tabla;  and Michael Tighe adding guitar.  String arrangements were done by Karl Berger.  Buckley produced the sessions with Andy Wallace:   "[Working with Andy Wallace] was good. But I don’t know, I think just by judging at the way the last two songs we’ve recorded sound – we can get the sound ourselves. I can produce it myself. All we need is an engineer. Bearsville was beautiful, we stayed in cabins. The town itself is sleepy, friendly. A lot of reggae shows and young white hippies – all Birkenstock quasi-dread noseringed collegiate potcuppers. It’s a friendly community, but me being a New Yorker – I went insane having nothing to do in my little cabin. The axe murderer cabin I was staying in. The “writer’s cabin” which for some reason had cable TV. Wrong thing to put in a writer’s cabin. But the studios themselves are really good and easy to work in and beautiful. But next time? When and where – I won’t tell a soul. I’ll just show up with the master tapes and say “yup. It’s done, we made it. It’s great.” I’d really love to sneak away and do it that way ... It’s strange how all this is happening because I never, ever gave a demo anyone. I never shopped a deal and I never brought my work to anyone “official”. It would have been wrong somehow, wrong for the music. It needs to have a real sacred setting for people to understand it. You’ve got to start things off with friends who are like-minded or even strangers that are like-minded. Sending your music to established artists or labels or magazine, I mean there is something to be said for tenacity, for trying to pursue recognition that way, but it just doesn’t make sense for the best work. And if you do make an amazing work, it’s sometimes not the best way to be heard. You have to get on a sacred space, like a stage, and do your testifying that way."

'Grace' found its way to number one hundred and forty-nine in the US, eighty-four in the Netherlands, sixty-seven in Canada, forty-seven in France, thirty-nine in Belgium, thirty-eight in Norway, thirty-one in the UK, fourteen in Ireland, nine in Australia, and five on the US heat seekers chart.  In the years since Buckley's tragic drowning in the Wolf River in 1997 during the recording of his posthumous 'Sketches (For My Sweetheart The Drunk)''Grace' has gone on to chart again at number forty-four in both in Australia and the UK.   It has sold over two million copies worldwide.

The single for 'Grace'  hit number eighty-nine in Australia.

There's the moon asking to stay
Long enough for the clouds to fly me away
Well it's my time coming, I'm not afraid, afraid to die

My fading voice sings of love,
But she cries to the clicking of time, oh, time.
Wait in the fire, wait in the fire
Wait in the fire, wait in the fire

And she weeps on my arm
Walking to the bright lights in sorrow
Oh drink a bit of wine we both might go tomorrow
Oh my love

And the rain is falling and I believe my time has come
It reminds me of the pain I might leave, leave behind,
Wait in the fire, wait in the fire
Wait in the fire, wait in the fire

And I feel them drown my name
So easy to know and forget with this kiss
I'm not afraid to go but it goes so slow
Wait in the fire, wait in the fire, oh oh yea oh oh oh yeah unh
Wait, wait, wait in the fire, wait in the fire
Wait in the fire, wait ah uh unh ah

'Last Goodbye' went to eighty-eight in Australia, fifty-four in the UK, and number nineteen on the US modern rock tracks chart.

'So Real' never charted.

'Eternal Life' edged its way up to number forty-four in Australia.

His cover of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' became his biggest success after his death, going to number seventy in Australia, thirty-eight in Austria and Switzerland, twenty-two in New Zealand, fourteen in Finland, ten in Europe, eight in Ireland, seven in Norway, five in Sweden, three in the Netherlands, two on the Canadian digital download chart and in the UK, and number one on the US digital download chart.

full album:

Original track listing
1. "Mojo Pin"   Jeff Buckley, Gary Lucas 5:42
2. "Grace"   Jeff Buckley, Gary Lucas 5:22
3. "Last Goodbye"   Jeff Buckley 4:35
4. "Lilac Wine"   James Shelton 4:32
5. "So Real"   Jeff Buckley, Michael Tighe 4:43
6. "Hallelujah"   Leonard Cohen 6:53
7. "Lover, You Should've Come Over"   Jeff Buckley 6:43
8. "Corpus Christi Carol"   Traditional, Benjamin Britten 2:56
9. "Eternal Life"   Jeff Buckley 4:52
10. "Dream Brother"   Jeff Buckley, Mick Grøndahl, Matt Johnson 5:26

1 Mojo Pin 
2 Grace 05:42
3 Last Goodbye 11:03
4 Lilac Wine 15:40 
5 So Real 20:12
6 Hallelujah 24:53
7 Lover, You Should've Come Over 31:49
8 Corpus Christi Carol 38:32
9 Eternal Life 41:30
10 Dream Brother 46:22

Jeff Buckley on 'Grace'

Australian bonus disc:
"So Real" – live and acoustic in Japan, January 1995
"Dream Brother" – live in Hamburg at Club Logo, February 22, 1995
"Grace" – live at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, March 4, 1995 (exclusive to this release)
"Mojo Pin" – live at Wetlands, New York City, November 1994

'Grace' Legacy Edition
bonus tracks
"Forget Her" (Jeff Buckley)  – 5:12
"Dream Brother" (Alternate Take)  – 4:56
"Lost Highway" (Leon Payne)  – 4:24
"Alligator Wine" (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)  – 3:21
"Mama, You Been on My Mind" (Bob Dylan)  – 3:26
"Parchman Farm Blues/Preachin' Blues" (Bukka White/Robert Johnson)  – 6:20
"The Other Woman" (Jessie Mae Robinson)  – 3:05
"Kanga-Roo" (Alex Chilton)  – 14:14
"I Want Someone Badly" (with Shudder to Think) (Nathan Larson)  – 2:36
"Eternal Life" (Road Version)  – 4:50
"Kick Out the Jams" (Live) (MC5)  – 3:06
"Dream Brother" (Nag Champa Mix)  – 5:24

'Goodbye and Hello' documentary

'Amazing Grace' documentary

'Everybody Here Wants You'   documentary

Live at Sin-é

Live at Sin-é
original EP

"Mojo Pin" (Jeff Buckley, Gary Lucas) – 5:52
"Eternal Life" (Jeff Buckley) – 5:43
"Je n'en connais pas la fin (I Don't Know the End of It)" (Raymond Asso, Marguerite Monnot) – 5:00
"The Way Young Lovers Do" (Van Morrison) – 10:02

Live at Sin-é (Legacy Edition)

Disc one
"Be Your Husband" (Andy Stroud) – 4:55
"Lover, You Should've Come Over" (Jeff Buckley) – 9:25
"Mojo Pin" (Jeff Buckley, Gary Lucas) – 5:37
Monologue - Duane Eddy, Songs for Lovers – 1:18
"Grace" (Jeff Buckley, Gary Lucas) – 6:49
Monologue - Reverb, The Doors – 1:40
"Strange Fruit" (Lewis Allan) – 7:43
"Night Flight" (John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) – 6:40
"If You Knew" (Nina Simone) – 4:28
Monologue - Fabulous Time for a Guinness – 0:40
"Unforgiven (Last Goodbye)" (Jeff Buckley) – 5:36
"Twelfth of Never" (Jerry Livingston, Paul Francis Webster) – 3:35
Monologue – Café Days – 0:15
Monologue – Eternal Life – 0:36
"Eternal Life" (Jeff Buckley) – 5:50
"Just Like a Woman" (Bob Dylan) – 7:26
Monologue - False Start, Apology, Miles Davis – 1:03
"Calling You" (Bob Telson) – 5:49

Disc two
Monologue - Nusrat, He's My Elvis – 3:13
"Yeh Jo Halka Halka Saroor Hai" (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) – 6:09
Monologue - I'm a Ridiculous Person – 0:39
"If You See Her, Say Hello" (Bob Dylan) – 8:18
Monologue - Matt Dillon, Hollies, Classic Rock Radio – 1:33
"Dink's Song" (trad., John/Alan Lomax) – 11:14
Monologue - Musical Chairs – 1:09
"Drown in My Own Tears" (Henry Glover) – 4:11
Monologue - The Suckiest Water – 0:08
"The Way Young Lovers Do" (Van Morrison) – 10:06
Monologue - Walk Through Walls – 0:26
"Je n'en connais pas la fin" (Raymond Asso, Marguerite Monnot) – 5:02
"I Shall Be Released" (Bob Dylan) – 5:20
"Sweet Thing" (Van Morrison) – 10:36
Monologue - Good Night Bill – 0:16
"Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen) – 9:15

Bonus DVD
Interview with Jeff Buckley
"The Way Young Lovers Do" (Van Morrison)
"Kick out the Jams" (MC5)
"New Year's Eve Prayer" (A poem written by Jeff Buckley)

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