|2 X LP
|Alternative Rock , Folk Rock , Indie Rock , Pop , Rock N
Brand new sealed 180 gram double album housed in a gatefold cover.
|Just Like A Woman
|Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'
|Dream Of You And I
|The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
|Poor Boy Long Way From Home
|I Know It's Over
Here we are again. It’s been nearly 20 years since Jeff Buckley’s untimely death by drowning, a timespan in which posthumous releases of various sorts has come to outnumber his solo work more than ten to – literally – one: live albums, compilations, EP sets, and now demos. Nevertheless, the musical gravedigging will continue until the vaults are barren, which for Jeff Buckley is probably pretty soon.
It’s hard to amass much of a vault off one album and tour cycle, and perhaps inevitably, a good 80% of You and I, the latest album of the lot, consists of covers, many already released in some format. "Just Like a Woman," "Calling You" and "Night Flight" were on Live at Sin-E. Buckley’s de-stylized version of The Smiths’ "I Know It’s Over" appeared in part on Mystery White Boy and in full on Buckley’s 2007 compilation So Real. "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side" was circulating online several years prior. The new material includes a version of "Grace" that is basically a fully formed demo, while "Dream of You and I" is barely even that; the title is literal, Buckley thinking aloud about a dream he had about a band’s "space jam," which inspired him to write what’d eventually become "You and I." It’s not even a skeleton of a song so much as the first few bones, dug up before anyone knows what they belong to and before the excavation was suddenly called off.
Unlike the haphazardly curated collections of the past, You and I is an artifact with a history: part of the set of demos, recently discovered, that Buckley recorded in producer Steve Addabbo’s studio for Sony shortly after signing with the label. The covers, standards in Buckley’s numerous New York sets, form the blueprint for what would eventually become Grace, and each represents some touchstone: an influence on his style, a demonstration of his interpretive skill. It’s likely no coincidence the collection has two Smiths songs – not only are they the sort of songs a musician might hang onto from adolescence waiting for a chance to record, but if you’re out to demonstrate your singular music identity, there are far worse ways to do it than to take a track and eliminate all trace and inflection of Morrissey. Sly and The Family Stone’s "Everyday People" and Louis Jordan's "Don’t Let the Sun See You Cryin’" undergo similar transformations, from sunshine-pop to something more aloof or tortured. It’s a transformation, though, with definite limits; the version of Dylan here holds little surprises even if it’s one’s first time hearing Buckley’s take, and "Poor Boy Long Way From Home" begins as a promising demonstration of form – whether in emulating Bukka White’s slide guitar or retrofitting his voice into the genre’s confines – but the novelty gives way over the six-minute runtime to blues pastiche.
The one truly "new" bit of material here is as frustrating as it’s enlightening. "Dream of You and I" begins as an intricately woven guitar instrumental that, given the right conditions, might be spellbinding live, and the beginnings of a chorus. The bulk of the track, however, is Buckley telling a rambling story about a dream of a "spacey Deadhead band" playing something or another – "not like what I’m playing here on guitar" – in 7/4 time about a possessive lover or AIDS ("or something like that"), which may or may not resemble what’s on the record. There’s no way of knowing, and there never will be, and therein lies both the draw of such a collection as You and I and its inherent limitations.