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Friday, May 28th, 2004

Eternal Life

It seems like stating the obvious now, but Jeff Buckley had barely scratched the surface of his monsterous talent when he died far too young in May of 1997, seven years ago tomorrow. I remember when I heard he’d gone missing – I was sitting in the cafeteria of a summer co-op job in Ajax, Ontario (way out in the boonies of Toronto) where they made aircraft landing gear. The newspaper was the Toronto Sun, our local mostly-crap tabloid rag, and the Jeff Buckley piece was just a short blurb in a sidebar. At this point, he was just ‘missing’ after going for a swim in the Mississippi, and while deep down I knew better, I held out hope that he’d be alright. I didn’t have internet access of any sort at the time, so I checked the newspaper every day for the next week hoping that there’d be some good news. Obviously there wasn’t, and when I read they recovered his body, I was immensely saddened by the news. Even more so since I was the only person I knew who cared at all.

The many posthumous releases didn’t have the same magic as his debut album Grace, and I didn’t care for the stench of opportunism by his estate. While I do own the originally-discarded second album Sketches: For My Sweetheart The Drunk and the live Mystery White Boy, I’ve done my best to avoid supporting the cash-in on his legacy. That said, I will admit that the Legacy Edition of Grace out August 24 has my interest. Consisting of the original album digitally remastered (is that really necessary for something barely ten years old?), a second disc of bonus material (which has some stuff I’ve wanted to hear and it’ll save me from having to shell out for a silly box set of EPs) and a DVD (the specific contents of which are still being hashed out, but will surely have some stuff worth seeing). I don’t listen to it all that much anymore, but every once in a while, I still put on Grace and just marvel at it – so much potential lost. Who knows what amazing music he might have gone on to make? Grace was just the tip of the iceberg. Too late, too soon. News of the Legacy release from Burned By The Sun.

Rilo Kiley’s More Adventurous will be out July 27. Write it down.

The Onion A.V. Club interviews Stephin Merritt. I’ve linked so damn many of these Magnetic Fields interviews, I’m done trying to come up with clever ways to present them. So there. From the Global Pop Conspiracy.

Stylus loves Nellie McKay, having compiled the Top Ten lines on Get Away From Me. Much of the peanut gallery commenters disagree. Nellie is in town June 30 at Lee’s Palace and could have a new album out as early as October.

Almost as good as a Lonely Planet guide to Springfield USA.

np – Jeff Buckley / Mystery White Boy

By : Frank Yang at 8:57 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. solace says:

    huh, i guess Sketches isn’t for everyone.

    jeff is my fave artist of all time, and i actually think i prefer the first disc of it to Grace for the most part. call it blasphemy, that’s fine, i don’t mind :)

    as for his "estate cashing in", there really is little to cash in on, when releasing albums, most people should know that. hell Grace has only gone Gold in the US. while i’ve had my issues w/ a few things Mary (jeff’s mom) has done sine his death (mostly the overdubs on Songs To No One), i definitely support her effort to give Jeff’s fans more of his music. even if she was doing it for $, as long as we get a good product, i couldn’t really care less.

    the Sine expanded edition that came out last year is worth putting up with anything else that Mary may or may not do.

    hell, even before the expanded version came out, the 4 track EP was my fave Jeff releaes, and the new one just totally blew the doors off that one.

    will be cool to have all of that stuff from the 2nd disc in good quality and in one place. i think there’s maybe only one thing i haven’t heard from it (that version of Dream Brother, but not sure).

    also, the Live In Chicago DVD is just fucking brilliant, another posthumous release well worthy of being put out.

  2. solace says:

    btw, i thought Mystery White Boy was a pretty terrible compilation as well.

    i’ve got so many better live shows than that (quality and performance wise).

    but the Live A’Olympia release shortly thereafter made up for that a bit.

  3. david says:

    You can never have enough Stephin Merritt (or Morrissey or Charles Barkley)interviews. These men are the poets of our generation.

  4. Frank says:

    reviewing Buckley’s discography, I guess there’s not that much that’s been released posthumously. It seemed for a while there that everything that was in the vaults was being packaged and sold off in dubious medium… like the Grace EPs box set. Surely a single-disc compiling the b-sides would have been sufficient? I dunno. I think I was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that was put out and didn’t necessarily trust that the quality control was in place. I think I will be seeking out the Sin-E legacy edition, though.

  5. mike says:

    Knowing practically nothing about Jeff Buckley or his music [although thorougly interested in delving into his catalogue], the posthumous release of his unreleased/live material is at least better than, say, The Pixies releasing a new best-of CD (which to my recollection contains nothing[except maybe for ‘Winterlong’] which most Pixies fans don’t already have. [I still love ’em anyway.])

  6. Frank says:

    talk about coincidence – on my way home this afternoon I found a used copy of the deluxe Live at Sin-e for $20. Fate? Maybe so. Listening to it now.

  7. solace says:

    yeah, that EP’s was mostly because those other EP’s were out of print or hard to find (i already had all but the Peyote Radio Theater one). it was a collectors piece, nothing more. hardly a money maker, i’d bet it sold less than 10-20,000 copies.

    even tho i had all those EP’s minus the one, i was able to get the box set for $21 at my local independent record store, so i couldn’t pass that up. i’m not much of a collector, but the booklet that comes with it is really nice.

  8. solace says:

    agreed about the Pixies best of, but that has been in the works long before they decided to re-unite, along w/ the DVD, just label shit pushed it back, and they figured what better time than now.

    when you have stuff like all the shitty Hendrix releases that were put out before his family regained control over his estate, i don’t really mind what Mary (jeff’s mom) has done. She’s very passionate about Jeff’s music, and keepin his memory/legacy alive. and if by her doing stuff like this for his fans, helps in the process, that’s great. i know right after his death it was an outlet for her grieving, to dig through the archives and try and find stuff people would be interested in.

    i’ve def had my issues w/ Mary, and we’ve went back and forth via email on a few things, but her heart is def in the right place.

  9. Frank says:

    perhaps I’m a little too cynical when it comes to reissues… particularly when I’m old enough that records I bought new the first time around are being revisited and repackaged. I’m glad to hear that the Buckley catalog is in the hands of someone who genuinely cares about them.

  10. mishie says:

    jeff buckley has touched my life more than any other artist…heck, my blog is even inspired by him.

    i will definitely be out the first day to pick up the re-release of ‘grace’.