Jeff Buckley is, among those old enough to remember him, a revered musical talent. His album, Grace, contains some of the most amazing emotional outpouring I have ever had the privilege to clap my ears upon. His tragic death by drowning was a great loss to the musical community at large. On the aforementioned Grace, his version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah remains one of my all time favourite tracks and still gives me goosebumps 15 years after first hearing it.
Like all those artists who’s death was untimely, there is a great deal of material in the vaults of the record companies. Every so often they see fit to release some more tantalising titbits for the die hard fans and You and I is precisely that. This particular release is in the lion’s share, a covers album with a couple of originals snuck in. These originals are demo version of Grace and Dream of You and I from which the album takes its title. It’s a nice little collection that includes covers of a great deal of Buckley’s influences such as Dylan & The Smiths as well as a little smattering of traditional blues numbers such as Poor Boy a Long Way from Home.
But, that’s all it really is, there’s nothing really special about it and it feels a bit like the label is really scraping the barrel with Buckley’s material. The unfortunate truth of it is that, had it not been a posthumous release I doubt this little lot would have seen the light of day. The best example of what I mean lies with the title track, which disappointingly, is quite simply four and a bit minutes of Buckley talking. He explains that this track will be called You and I and is based on music he heard in a dream then explores the guitar part he intends to lay down for it. Interesting enough the first time around but the second, third and fourth not so much.
The overall highlights of the album are the raw and gruelling demo version of Grace and Smiths cover, The Boy With the Thorn in His Side which are perfectly good, but far from final versions as I expect Buckley would have wanted.
You and I is definitely one for the die hards but for the rest of us, I believe we should stick with Grace and relive Buckley the way he intended.