Jeff Buckley - You and I - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Jeff Buckley - You and I

by James Weiskittel Rating:3 Release Date:2016-03-15

Jeff Buckley was the very definition of a rising star. On the heels of his critically renowned debut (1994’s Grace), Buckley was hard at work on his second album (posthumously released as Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk) when his untimely death shocked fans and undoubtably robbed us all of one of his generation’s most dynamic voices. Providing a glimpse into his formative years, You and I, comprised of ‘recently discovered’ recordings (essentially a ‘live in the studio’ release) from one of Buckley’s first major sessions, gives a glimpse (at times) into his raw talent and ability.

Now, posthumous releases, in and of themselves, are not always the ‘cash-grab’ that they may appear to be.  After all, Buckley’s Sketches… was an admirable attempt to give both fans and Buckley’s artistic vision a proper sendoff.  But in the nearly twenty years since that pivotal release, his catalog has predictably become flooded with live albums and compilations, some more valuable than others, but none as essential as either of his ‘proper’ studio albums.

The recordings here are a bit loose (most feel like ‘rehearsal’ takes) in terms of performance, but they at least benefit from the studio environment in which they were recorded.  While Buckley was blessed with an effortlessly impressive range, the choices here (Dylan, The Smiths, Zeppelin, etc) are sadly ‘in the pocket’ and do little to showcase his unrivaled voice. 

Some of You and I works (his seven minute take on ‘I Know It’s Over’ is just plain ballsy), and some of it doesn’t (case in point: ‘Everyday People’).  And so, with one ‘previously unheard’ original, eight covers, and a working version of “Grace” (this really could have just as easily been the third disc of the Grace ‘Deluxe Edition’), it’s important to note that while You and I very much falls into the ‘unessential’ category, there is at least something here for hardcore fans to sink their teeth into; although it may only be a single track.

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