Since I'm an admirer more than a fan, I figured I'd have a guest review the new Jeff Buckley compilation. As you'll see, Sylvia wasn't too happy with it. Buckley's label is no different than the others. I've seen the same thing done with Tupac (perhaps most blatantly), the Sex Pistols and so many others. At least these releases bring awareness and generate discourse for artists that deserve your attention. So many vocalists today are compared to Buckley, but very few have the range. With such a powerful voice, it's all the more tragic he wasn't able to leave behind a broader legacy. Some of the arrangements on his recordings feel very much like the product of the time they were released. I would have loved to hear some more timeless arrangements.
Today is the 10 year anniversary of Jeff Buckley’s passing.
Today is also the day Mary Guibert and his record label decided to release So Real, a “greatest hits” collection from the late singer. Actually Jeff Buckley had no hits and just a handful of recordings he himself released. Still, that has not stopped mom and label from releasing several efforts in the last 10 years. One could argue that Jeff Buckley was not entirely happy with many of the recordings that have been released after his death, and would have preferred that they never be released (see Sketches For My Sweetheart the Drunk). One could also argue that many of the tracks released since his untimely death merely detract from his legacy. So Real is no exception, giving us alternate and live recordings of tracks that would be more fun to own if your best friend found them on the internet and burned a disc for you. For true Buckley fans, finding a Smiths cover on a fan site is far more rewarding than having to buy a CD with the same Grace and Sin-e songs yet again.
As a pretty serious Jeff Buckley fan, it is hard for me not to recommend anything associated with him; but as a collector, this record is waste of time and money. In fact, I feel a bit insulted that the label is trying to pawn off this useless product on unsuspecting fans who deserve much better. If you don’t own Grace, Live at Sin-e, Mystery White Boy, Sketches (For My Sweetheart the Drunk), Maximum Jeff Buckley, Live From The Bataclan and so on and so on, then this record is not right for you. If you do own any those records, you will be pretty disappointed. Shame on the label for placing a man unable to defend himself in this no win situation.
If you find yourself headed to the record store and gravitating toward the Jeff Buckley bin card, look for and buy Grace or Mystery White Boy. I assure you that this is all the Jeff Buckley you will ever need and it will keep you happy for a lifetime.