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'Grace' is not the first word that comes to mind when considering the CD cover art (if you can call it that) for the original release of Jeff Buckley's one and only studio album. One could mistaken Columbia to be the album, or artist, it being that bad.
But there are good songs on this album aplenty. My favourites include opener 'Mojo Pin', which, might seem to ease listeners into Grace, but before not too long the instruments build up for a blistering attack with Jeff Buckley letting loose some soulful wails. Another favourite is 'Lilac Wine'. A song with a simple, slow, but sure rhythm, about an unsteady love. It's difficult not to tempted in another drink/sip as Jeff Buckley pours his soul into this cover.
And also a favourite off this album, 'So Real' is the first of only a few songs with an obvious chorus, although clever arrangement leaves listener in anticipation. Then there's the guitar solo, which sounds like a pneumatic drill at work.
In 'Grace' and 'Last Goodbye' is a show of string sections and some strong singing from Jeff Buckley, whilst 'Lover, You Should've Come Over' and 'Dream Brother' feature respectively, a warm organ intro and tabla. All good songs, and the covers, 'Corpus Christi Carol' and 'Hallelujah', with just Jeff and his guitar(s), are just as good. 'Eternal Life' is the weakest track on this album. By Jeff Buckley's admission, it's an angry song. It's slow, but it's not heavy by any means, and the melodies are not memorable.
There are no lyrics in the inlay, although the songs are not simple to sing! I'm not a fan of Jeff Buckley's singing - he had a tendency to overdo the vocals live however, this is not the case with Grace (and I'm guessing his studio recordings in general). Jeff Buckley doesn't go for straightforward chords and chord progressions, and some of the song structures are complex, at least for my attention span! I guess there are not that many memorable moments in Grace for me.
What an absolute tragedy that Jeff Buckley died at the tender age of just 30. His accidental death just goes to show the good die young. He drowned when swimming in the mississippi river, and his body was recovered a week later.
The day Jeff Buckley passed away, this world lost a fantastically talented musician. 'Grace' was the only album he produced and released before his premature death. He had been signed by Columbia for 3 albums, and sadly only got to release this one. 'What may have been?' we can only speculate about.
His immense talent shines through this album; from the first track 'mojo pin' right through. That first track starts of strangely slowly, and builds up, changing pace as the song develops. Fantastic guitar work throughout the album is definitely something to note.
Listen to this album once and you'll be hooked. Laid back acoustic entertainment isn't usually my cup of tea, but Buckley's haunting voice rising over the fantastic guitar work is enough to steal anyones attention for the 51 minute duration of this album.
My favourite track on this album is probably the most famous of his song. No more is Buckley's talented expressed than in 'Hallelujah'. Nearly 7 minutes of pure musical genius will have you enthralled. Only a selected few could pull this song off in the softly spoken way he does; his rendition will send shivers down your spine.
Although 'hallelujah' is one of his only songs that the larger masses will be aware of, it's certainly not the only reason you should have for buying this fantastic album. 'Last goodbye' and 'lilac wine' are amazing pieces of work from Buckley. He doesn't just sing the words, he really makes you believe them, as though he were in the room acting the scenarios out. A mention also for the track that the album is named after; 'Grace' is a superbly refined piece of music. This carries his voice in an unbelievable way once again.
A shame then, that we were not able to see Buckley stay alive to produce albums 2 + 3, and most likely even more. I can only imagine what genius is would have took for him to build on this first entry to the music recording industry. A shame also, that he found far more fans of this album in his death than he did in life. It's often seen that artists who die young get over the top recognition for their work. That can't be said of Buckley; the world is still only discovering his fantastic talent now, and the praise this album gets is completely deserved. If only he were still with us.
As a person who finds enjoyment in many kinds of music, from indie, to folk and even some dance and 70's disco, finding Jeff Buckley's album Grace was a true pleasure, and I will state it as possibly my favourite album out of the hundreds I've purchased over the years.
I hadn't heard of Jeff at all before his untimely death. Nor of his father Tim Buckley, but the latter is perhaps unsurprising as I'm only 27. I first heard him on a channel four documentary in 2000. I was mindlessly watching this show which was about all different artists, and this song came on which was named 'last goodbye.' I was floored to say the least.
It was a live performance of the song, and I was taken aback firstly by how absolutely beautiful his voice was, such clarity and tremendous control in the high ranges he could reach with his vocals, and secondly by the wonderfully poetic lyrics. I had not long gone through a painful break-up, and anyone in that position could listen to last goodbye with the same heart wrenching acknowledgement of his skill at portraying those feelings.
Of course afterwards I sought out the album Grace, which was talked about on this show. The majority of the songs on the album are written at least in part by Jeff, save for his covers of Hallelujah (probably the best known track on the album),Corpus christi carol and Lilac wine. He also plays no less than five instruments on the album throughout the songs.
My favourite track on the album is called Lover you should've come over. It's a supreme depiction of bleakness and uncertainty about a relationship, that builds up subtly and expresses a vast amount of emotion. Another track that uses gorgeous imagery and shows the brilliance of his ability to sing in high ranges is So real. The guitar on this one is almost hypnotising, and the lyrics have a mystic, superstitious almost, quality to them.
There is a variety to the style and tempo of each track, and it is nice that the covers are not obvious ones per say, like a pop artist may have done. He obviously came from a background with a musical heritage, so whether you could say his talent was inherited or not is up for the individual to ponder. Unquestionably though, he had a very rare and exceptional gift for music in all aspects. Not only his stunning voice and ability to write the music, but also his skilled ability to produce interesting, deep lyrics intwined in rich imagery using powerfully emotive language.
I think anyone who could get through this album without shedding a tear, or raising a smile at the sheer talent of this man would have to be very hard hearted indeed. Unfortunately he passed away perhaps before sharing his creativity even further, but Grace is a wonderful testiment to his ability. His other album 'sketches for My sweetheart the drunk' is also well worth a listen, but as a more raw sound as it was still in production when he died.
Grace - Jeff Buckley (1994)
I always think it is somewhat sad that many great musical artists die young, and it is only after they have gone that we truly appreciate what a talent we have lost. Buckley is no exception, he died at 30 in spooky echoes of the fact his dad died at a similar age, though his dads death was due to heroin, Jeff's death was due to swimming in the dark.
I would like to say that I was aware of Buckley before his death, and in truth I had heard his rendition of lilac wine, but that was all. Since I heard Hallelujah though, about 5 years ago I have come to the conclusion that this man was really something quite special and we see this in his only completed album before his death.
What we get is many of his influence on one album, this guy was a musician first and foremost and he uses his musical talent, his knowledge of; theory, harmony and melody to great effect, his voice used as an instrument, not simply a carrier of a tale, wonderful stuff. Not to mention the fact that most of the songs are either written or co written by him and those that are not are certainly arranged intelligently by him.
1. Mojo Pin
If this is the first track you hear then you could be forgiven for not 'getting it'. This is a mixture of trancy, dreamy lyrics with an almost lounge jazz backing. The beginning of the track has vocals reminiscent of Asian singers, very possibly a tribute to Nasrat Fateh Ali Khan who he was a fan of. The lyrics are dark and yet at the same time quite uplifting. His style is effortless, his guitar playing at the very least competent. Genre defying, a mix of styles, great opener. 9/10.
Quite an interesting track with clear 70's rock influences, very interesting to watch on youtube, he was such an arrogant so and so, and this comes through in this song. It is not my favourite, but it is good no doubt about that....reminds me a bit of Led Zeppelin, only a little more melodic. 7/10.
3. Last Goodbye
More rock, well, at least the intro....more Led Zepp' certainly the backing riff , that is where we start to see a difference, we get almost Nirvana like vocals, not for me this one, never a Nirvana fan, let alone someone trying to sing like Cobain. Good, but not my cuppa. 5/10.
4. Lilac Wine
Now this is the 2nd best track on the album. Buckley acoustic and angst ridden is a joy to the ears. One of the most covered songs surely and yet he brings something very new to the song, edginess. Many of the covers of this song are beautiful and sweet yet somehow, even though he sings this beautifully, there is an edge of menace that creeps in, when he sings 'listen to me, I cannot see clearly' it is a command, not a plea, and I have to say, his voice is very, very sexy in this song. The passion he has for the song comes through in bucket loads, fantastic and a 10/10 without a doubt!
5. So Real
Gorgeous acoustic start that builds up to wait for his vocals, he makes us wait, he is a master of this, watch his videos and you will understand. This song is full of melodic wailing note ends that are almost hypnotic. For the tecchies amongst us he uses minor keys that make the song sound dark and haunting, with, if I'm not mistaken, minor pentatonics which give it a slight Oriental flavour. He mixes this with a rock riff about halfway through the song which gives the impression of organised chaos, this is a masterpiece of music that many people will see as a marmite track, love it or hate it, it is special. 9/10.
Probably the best know track and with good reason. In some ways darker than Cohen himself, in many ways so uplifting it is hymn like. Apparently Buckley nicknamed this track the 'Homage to orgasm' and we can see why. I have rarely, if ever heard so much of one person put into one song. When I heard this the first time it brought tears to my eyes, and on occasion it still does. The guitar playing is sublime, the vocals perfect, even the gaps between the vocals are idyllic. We get the odd sigh and gasp of breath that are truly, truly amazing.
He tells the story through the song in a way that no one, absolutely no one could do as well. This is a piece of music history and mark my words, will still be talked about 20, 30, 40 years from now.
For me, the acoustic break, just over a minute from the end of this song which marks the key change and his angst ridden end of song is just perfect. He screams part of the end that show why he called this homage to orgasm, perfect. It is pure sex in a song, he emphasises the lyrics that are raw, sultry and dirty and makes you feel like it is just you getting a private audience. 10/10 and some.
7. Lover, You Should've Come Over
A mixture of Pink Floyd, Cream, Nirvana, get what I mean? Truth is, nothing would be worthy of following the last track, but this is a good, stand alone song, great lyrics, very dreamy backing. 7/10.
8. Corpus Christi Carol
A cover of a hymn no less. The arrogance of this man is only matched by his talent. Many people I have spoken to about this believe that this song has no place on this album, nonsense, it is brilliant. Emotionally charged and uplifting. We hear him sing probably half an octave higher than is his norm and he is perfectly controlled. This is a song to listen to in a quiet room with a glass of wine, truly beautiful. 9/10.
9. Eternal Life
How poignant a song title. Greta guitar and drums start, along with Michael Tighe. In truth I find the vocals a bit harsh for me on this track, much more grunge like, remember though this was mid 90's America so very 'now' at the time. Yet there is a 70's rock backing that is reminiscent of Hawkwind. Interesting, good, but not my fave. 6/10.
10. Dream Brother
As the title suggests, a dreamy, trippy start that mixes Asian and Native American influences and then gets louder and more rock like. He does like his instrumental intro's, and so do I. I am never quite sure about this track, it's good, it's different, and at times I love it, and at times I can't be bothered with it as it feels a little pretentious. 7/10.
11. Forget Her
Great end track to a great album. The lyrics are really nice and angsty. This is more 'standard' in terms of a soft rock track yet he manages to give us some of those vocals that wander off into the darker regions. This could easily be a Prince song or believe it or not, Genesis. This is almost refreshing at the end of this album. 9/10.
A classic album and I do not say that lightly. There are no 'fillers' there is a range of styles and there are one or two tracks that stand amongst the all time greats. I make no apologies for this being one of my longer reviews, it is warranted. I bow down in absolute homage to the man.
In a time long ago, pre-X Factor finals and 'download' only charts - Jeff Buckley released 'Grace', a sparkling, writhing flyer of an album. Released in the middle of the grunge explosion, Grace had enough meat on the bone to be placed in the same category as Pearl Jam, Nirvana etc - but the real jewel in the crown on this particular work was Buckleys voice.
Never still, constantly wavering, reaching for notes that others would not attempt to (And hitting them every time) it was his voice that encaptured peoples hearts - 'Last Goodbye' is probably the most recognised Buckley song from this, displaying his full range as he hits falsetto halfway through.
I have to mention ''Hallelujah" i suppose. I'm pretty sure you've heard it already, this is a cover of the Leonard Cohen classic, and one of the few covers that betters the original. Don't let the horrors of reality TV destroy the beauty of this particular gem.
Not long after this , Jeff Buckley went walking into the Mississippi River, never to return - We lost a very great talent that day, but the music will live on forever.
I must admit that it's only through the travesty that is X-Factor covering such a beautiful, powerful, compelling song that I decided to purchase this album today. There is a group on Facebook that brought Jeff to my attention and reminded me of the beautiful song I once listened to regularly. I dusted off my single and listened to the exceptional voice of Jeff Buckley. The album is admittedly the best I have heard in months. The lyrical genius of the song (written by Cohen) is sung beautifully by Buckley.
Jeff Buckley was born on 17th November 1966 in Anaheim, California and was raised by his mother Mary Guibert and step father Ron Moorhead, Jeff was the son of singer/songwriter Tim Buckley who died in 1975 of a drug overdose. Jeff only once met his father when he was eight years old just a couple of months before his dad died. Jeff released his album 'Grace' in August 1994 and at the time it received some harsh reviews from music critics. In 1997 Jeff died tragically when he drowned in the Wolf River, his album soon became very popular. Grace to this date is Buckley's only complete album. An incomplete album - was released in 1998 after his death.
(Jeff Buckley, Gary Lucas)
This song is simply beautiful. Mojo Pin was jointly written by Buckley and Lucas. The song starts out softly with a gentle guitar tune in the background towards the end it reaches a powerful climax. Buckley's excellent vocals contribute to a successfully, compelling song.
(Jeff Buckley, Gary Lucas)
Grace starts with a great little guitar intro, it's interesting, and then Buckley's beautiful, almost haunting voice kicks in. The poetic lyrics are very compelling and easy to listen to. The guitar tune plays throughout the song and picks up towards the end; Buckley's strong, powerful voice reaches a climax at the end to make this one of my favourites on the album.
The lyrics on this song are quite interesting and echo that of a sorry love story. The almost chilling but beautiful vocals of Buckley add greatly to this song. The guitar throughout adds another element to a great song.
One of the excellent cover versions by Buckley, the lyrics start very soft and gentle and continue throughout. The almost chilling voice is very strong and almost mesmirising. A beautiful song sung beautifully throughout.
(Jeff Buckley, Michael Tighe)
The lyrics in this song are amazingly complex but very compelling; the vocals are gentle however during the chorus Buckley breaks into a falsetto. This is a beautiful song to listen to as it is a very easy going track.
There is only one word for this cover of Cohen's Hallelujah and that is WOW! Six minutes go so quick during this song. It is easy to get lost in the complexity of the beautiful though provoking, compelling lyrics. This perfect version of a very sexual but sensational song is what attracted me to this amazing artist. I think this is one of the only songs that truly gives me goosebumps when I hear it, no other artist can portray it in the same was as Buckley.
"Lover, You Should've Come Over"
The beginning reminds me somewhat of a church organ and when the guitar kicks in the song is an easy going tune with powerful vocals, mesmirising background music and strong lyrics.
"Corpus Christi Carol"
Corpus Christi Carol, although a short song is absolutely stunning. The level Buckley reaches with his voice is spectacular. A beautiful song, I just cannot stop listening to Buckley's stunningly amazing falsetto. What a talent this guy had - a beautiful song, sung with a beautifully powerful voice.
This is a bit of a 'rocky' tune and I feel this is excellently placed on the album. It shows that Buckley can perform a more fast-paced song successfully. I wouldn't say it's his best song and does feel a little bit out of place I must admit however that it's a welcome difference on the album I actually started tapping my feet part way through the song and I quite enjoyed.
(Jeff Buckley, Mick Grondahl, Matt Johnson)
A beautiful, almost eastern influenced song, with mesmirising vocals. This song although not the strongest on the album is easy to listen to and with the gently background music it is a perfect song to chill out to after a long hard day's work.
"Forget Her" - BONUS TRACK
A beautiful song with compelling, powerful lyrics. The almost poetic lyrics are amazing as demonstrated below.
her love is a rose pale and dying
dropping her petals and men unknown
all full of wine the world before her
was sober with no place to go
although the song does not demonstrate Buckley's strongest vocal genius until the end. The guitar tune in the background is powerful throughout. A lovely song.
I never thought when I purchased this album this morning that I would enjoy it so much. I knew I could expect some excellent lyrics and a varied but talented mix of songs. I never expected so much from this album and I have loved listening to the powerful, compelling lyrics today. It really is one of those albums to be listened to a few times. I first needed to listen to it to get a feel for Buckley's awesome talent, and twice to listen and take in the powerful, though-provoking lyrics. Overall this is a fantastic album and I am sure the songs will soon make it onto my favourites list on my MP3 player.
The world of pop music is filled with good singers capable of holding a decent tune but truly great singers are a very rare phenomenon. However, every now and then, you hear a singer who has the type of voice that reaches deep inside you and seems to speak directly to your soul. For me, Jeff Buckley is just this type of exceptional singer. He possesses a staggering seven-octave range, a falsetto to make Thom Yorke green with envy, and the ability to sweep from rich depths of sound to soaring heights. But great singing isn't necessarily about having a great voice (though there's no denying that Buckley does), it's about truly conveying unflinching emotion through your voice and this is something that Buckley does superbly.
This immense talent makes Jeff's death in 1997 all the more heartbreaking. After his band had just landed at Memphis airport to record his second album following a long spell of writer's block, Jeff went swimming in the Mississippi and sadly drowned. Grace is his only completed studio album, but what an album it is! Its influences are incredibly diverse, combining elements of Radiohead (circa The Bends, OK Computer), Led Zeppelin, and Van Morrison, fusing rock, jazz, gospel and folk into an intense musical experience.
Every track on this album is truly amazing, and from the haunting opening of the very first track, Mojo Pin, it's obvious that this is something special. Buckley's voice floats, half singing, half whispering, over a gentle guitar before flowing seamlessly through elaborate chord progressions, building to a frustrated and tortured chorus.
While Buckley may be known now principally for his voice, he was originally a guitarist - skills which are reflected superbly here with intricate guitar work. On every track, Buckley's voice and the guitar take centre stage, a sincere combination that proves equally effective on the rockier tracks like Eternal Life or So Real, and the more introspective tracks like Lilac Wine, Last Godbye, and Hallelujah. In terms of production, Grace has thankfully been kept raw enough to retain the genuine feel of the music but not so untouched that it shows its age.
The album as a whole is very melodically driven: Buckley is capable of weaving extraordinarily beautiful melodies seemingly from nowhere and nowhere is this more apparent than on the 7 minute epic, Lover You Should've Come Over. The gentle opening reveals a soulful, soft, pained, vulnerability that truly made my spine tingle. It has the kind of stunning openness that is so beautiful but somehow heartbreakingly sad at the same time. This is far and away the highlight of the album for me, and I'd go as far as to say that no song I've ever heard has touched me in the same way as this.
However, while the album is awesome melodically, lyrically it displays a luminous beauty and a sincerity that is rare. It's hard when listening to the title track, Grace, not to find the lyrics prophetic:
There's the moon asking me to stay,
Long enough for the clouds to fly me away,
Well it's my time coming, I'm not afraid, afraid to die,
My fading voice sings of love,
But she cries to the clicking of time, of time.
The combination of such poetic lyrics with such hauntingly beautiful music is utterly devastating in its emotional effect.
While Buckley's own song-writing is superb, the album's three covers are equally exciting, allowing him the opportunity to really make his own individual stamp on the songs. Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is a fantastic song, but was always marred by Cohen's rather monotone voice. Jeff Buckley's recording really brings out the melancholy feel of the song, adding two extra, far darker, verses. The simplistic accompaniment of an acoustic guitar allowing Buckley to really invest emotionally in the song and I have to admit that the first time I heard this, I was reduced to tears. The cover of Elkie Brooks' Lilac Wine may have been a surprising choice, but is given a gorgeous and intoxicating beauty. I was slightly more doubtful about the recording of Benjamin Britten's Corpus Christi Carol, suspecting that it was chosen simply as a vehicle to showcase Buckley's falsetto. However, the effect of Buckley's voice accompanied by only an acoustic guitar proves devastatingly effective and he transforms the song into a powerful emotional climax.
The album closes with Dream Brother, an Indian infused track which has a similar feel to the opener, Mojo Pin, bringing us full circle. An insistent, throbbing drum beat drives the album to a dreamy, swirling close.
You've probably realised by now that I absolutely adore this album. It's certainly not one that's got instant appeal; like most great albums it takes time for your appreciation of it to really grow, but it has a beautiful and haunting appeal. It's not an album to be put on as background music, it demands your full and focused attention, taking you on an emotional journey and leaving you feeling utterly breathtaken. Every track is truly exceptional and it's easy to see why so many regard this as a modern masterpiece. Although it was released in 1994, it shows no signs of ageing, maintaining a really timeless feel. In fact, I can't think of an album released since that I would rate more highly. It would be impossible for me not to recommend this album: any self-respecting music fan should have it in their collection (and at around £5 in most shops, it's the bargain of the year).
Grace was released in 1994 and is the only studio album Jeff Buckley made before his tragic death in May of 1997 when he drowned in a river in Memphis, Tennessee, Grace is one of the most highly regarded albums of all time and is regularly featured highly on various top 100 albums of all time lists. Here is my review of one of my most loved albums of all time.
1 Mojo Pin
This track gets the album off to a superb start and is a great indication of why he is held in such acclaim. This gentle ballad shows real pain in Jeff's voice and shows off his natural sounding falsetto with great effect. This starts slowly then builds up to a sound with more than a hint of rock to it.
This opens with some nice guitar work from Buckley and then the guitar carries the track all the way to it's glorious end. the intricate guitar parts hint at Buckley's talent as a guitarist. This is another track that develops with a blast of Buckley's voice. A really superb title track.
3 Last Goodbye
This starts with an interesting guitar part and when the drums kick in you know you are in for something special and when you hear the bass guitar it is confirmed even more. A really beatiful song that is one of the most catchy tracks he ever recorded. Jeff is Also in fine voice here.
4 Lilac Wine
A really hauntingly beautiful slow ballad which shows off his amazing voice. One of his best tracks and hints at what he could have been capable of had he not have died so young aged 30. One of his most suited live tracks.
5 So Real
This midtempo ballad is one of the least known on the album but don't let that fool you. This is still a very fine track. His soaring falsetto is superb on this track and sounds so easy.
This is one of the most iconic covers of all time, This version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelhujah has been featured in the likes of The West Wing, The O.C., Scrubs, One Tree Hill. This is a staggeringly good version and sends shivers down my spine. An awesome version.
7 Lover, You Should've Come Over
This is a great ballad of longing for someone. His voice is a key feature of this song and it is one of his best tracks on Grace. Not quite the best but still superb.
8 Corpus Christi Carol
Probably the least highly regarded of the tracks on Grace this is still a great track but at 2.56 it isnt as full as the other tracks and feels a little uncool against the rest.
9 Eternal Life
This just shows the diversity in his music, this is an immense rock out track with huge energy and vigour. His voice shows a different side to the slow tracks on Grace and shows his overall talent to great effect as he moves through this song with aplomb.
10. Dream brother
This brings the pace down again with a wonderfully emotive ballad which features some of the best use of the drums I have heard on this album. A wonderful track that is so beautifully done showing off his vocals superbly well.
11 Forget her
This track doesnt appear on the original album but is included on the rereleaes of the album and it is well worthy of inclusion. This just has an incredible emotive feel to it and features some superb guitar work and is a truly staggeringly good track.
This is one of the greatest albums of all time, With such a wide range of talents it is amazing to think how good he could have been. Save yourself the bother and just listen to this album, One of the true what ifs? of music history.
Jeff Buckley drowned in 1997 swimming in the Mississippi River near Memphis. His only studio album Grace was critically lauded on its release in 1994 but only found a wide audience after his death. Buckley left a prodigious array of live recordings of his original interpretations of other artists' work as well as demos of his own and so there has been a steady trickle of posthumous songs in the past decade but nothing to match Grace. The record has been strongly praised by Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Thom Yorke, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Jeff was the son of the respected jazz and folk singer Tim Buckley with whom he shares a remarkable voice and a tragic early death. Music critics have characterised his style as a hybrid of Van Morrison and Led Zeppelin although this feels like a poor approximation of the record to me now as it did the year it came out.
Jeff Buckley: Grace
Mojo Pin defies easy categorisation. Every instrumental sound is perfectly chosen. Buckley soothes the start of the song softly before slowly penetrating the ethereal music with a controlled wail as the drums and guitars swell. The words are figurative and poetic. The band is spiritual but uncoils a harder edge that could be at home playing tight and clean heavy metal. The voice has a wonderful timbre and the arrangement breathes magic.
Grace begins with two short but truly memorable guitar passages before falling into a pattern of bass and drums as Buckley sandbags the first verse. Then the guitars come back and start to rise as Buckley's voice swoops and it becomes apparent if it wasn't already that this is an unusually rare talent in full flow. Orchestral flourishes enter the frame and the band builds up dense but spacious layers as the guitar riffs sparkle like wet fire. The song has considerable structural ambition. Buckley sometimes hushes the chorus but then adopts jazz and church influences before by the end of the track he is screaming.
Last Goodbye opens with more mysterious guitar noise and then briefly fixes on a soft but distinctive riff which itself gives way to a crescendo of cymbals and then a sustained one note burst of bright electronic guitar, before the riff re-establishes itself with a more bass heavy sound. The tone is open and warm and the rhythm bounces with space. After one minute Buckley begins to tell his story of failed love as his voice gradually starts to soar. There are eastern elements to some of the instrumentation and rhythms and eventually classical music as well. The song is filled with breathtaking moments.
Lilac Wine is a cover version of Nina Simone's interpretation of a James Shelton song. The music is stripped back but full of feeling and this simple but emotional arrangement gives Buckley room to place emphasis on the lyrics about seduction and enchantment; lust and longing; loss and altered perception; doubt and reluctance. It is quite a dramatic performance as the song was originally a piece of musical theatre and Buckley's voice alternates between a soft high throaty hymn and a harder more robust force which can feel a little abrasive in a couple of places. The purity of the sound at the most poignant moments would be unusual for a male rock and roll singer except Buckley is clearly something else.
So Real affects a more contemporary fashion musically and lyrically except it trends towards the avant-garde so there are some sonically unusual passages of textural noise. The song is dreamlike and bass propelled and again displays a fusion of hard rock structures with a more transcendental aesthetic.
Hallelujah was written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen but Buckley takes inspiration Welshman John Cale's version and transforms it into something new. Playing solo with just an acoustic guitar Buckley delivers his most famous performance. The range of his voice finds full expression and the lyrics have real sexual depth. He's a good guitar player too. At nearly seven minutes long the song never outstays its welcome and has become a modern classic. The dynamics are especially effective and Buckley's final vocal runs and fretwork are beautiful.
Lover You Should Have Come Over is Buckley's most ambitious original narrative and finds him reflecting on plenty of vivid images as he plays the harmonium. His voice sounds wise for his years as the reverie seeks to regain the hope of a love lost. The lyrics are literate and the scale of the emotional connection to them in the performance by the end is extraordinary. This rivals Last Goodbye and Grace as the best song on the record and probably wins by virtue of its clarity. It's the one that discloses the magnitude of the talent yet to blossom that got swept away by the tide of the Mississippi that day, and confirms that Buckley was potentially as good of a songwriter as he was a singer. There's something of Joni Mitchell about it in the honesty I think. It's a mournful performance full of grace and loss and funerals and rain and empty beds and it sounds like it should be sung in a church.
Corpus Christi Carol actually is a hymn, written in the early sixteenth century, but updated by Benjamin Britten as a requiem in the 1930s, and Buckley saw it as a fairytale. This inclusion would feel completely incongruous on just about any other contemporary record but Buckley wanted to sing the song for a friend and has got the empyrean voice to do it.
Eternal Life is a perverse way to follow the preceding hymn. It's a hard rock track, pitched somewhere between Metallica and Pearl Jam, perhaps as performed by Radiohead. This track is all spiky rubber bass and stiff drums and reverb as Jeff gruffly growls and shrieks his way into Valhalla. Oddly enough for a song that borders on heavy metal it might constitute the most commercially mainstream piece of music on the whole record.
Dream Brother is a more mystical affair with structural problems and it comes to life only intermittently making for an unsatisfying finish to the record. As an album Grace could afford to lose Dream Brother and So Real and still come in at just over forty minutes and it might have been stronger for the elision except that people tend to expect at least ten songs these days. Frustratingly Buckley was probably wise not to include more of the many exceptional cover versions he had up his sleeve - even if they were frequently radical re-workings of the source material - because three is already quite a lot of those for an original solo album.
Matt Johnson plays drums and Mick Grondahl plays bass and Andy Wallace produces. As noted, Hallelujah, Lilac Wine and Corpus Christi Carol are not original compositions. Furthermore, Buckley had assistance on the guitar parts for the songs Mojo Pin and Grace from former Captain Beefheart collaborator Gary Lucas. So Real was built around a guitar part played by new addition to the band Michael Tighe, and was originally intended only as a B-side, whilst Dream Brother is credited to the whole band and was another late addition. Buckley receives sole credit on just three songs. However, he was such a strong natural interpreter of classic songs when he performed live, and Last Goodbye, Lover You Should Have Come Over and Eternal Life show such real fulfilment of tremendous promise, that it seems churlish and moot to question whether Buckley had it within him to be a more prolific writer in the future.
Two of the best examples of Buckley's live cover versions are his rhythmically hypnotic rendition of That's All I Ask by Nina Simone, and his beautifully soulful take on the traditional folk song A Satisfied Mind, written by Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes, and covered by just about everybody from Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash.
There are also original songs from the Grace era that missed the cut for the final track listing that aren't bad either, most notably Forget Her, a remarkably powerful and remorseful ballad which was supposedly only removed for personal reasons, although it possibly sounds a bit too modern by comparison to the rest of Grace. This would have made a vastly superior final track than Dream Brother, which to be honest feels unfinished in the composition.
What Will You Say, about his father, would have made a good Aerosmith single around this time - remember they were riding high in the charts with songs like Crazy, Crying, and Living on the Edge, which are cut from a similar cloth to this one, and I could imagine Steven Tyler singing it and Joe Perry playing the big guitar riffs. I Woke Up In A Strange Place is a decent indie-rock song that foreshadows Buckley's explorations for the follow up to Grace. However it's debatable whether either of these two tracks is potentially stronger than So Real, and Dream Brother does have lucid moments where everything coheres.
The unfinished songs Jeff Buckley was working on at the time of his death do indicate there was plenty more to come, particularly Everybody Here Wants You, which would sit well on any of the good Prince albums. Other rough cuts such as Witches' Rave, Vancouver, I Know We Could Be So Happy, Gunshot Glitter, Morning Theft and Nightmares by the Sea backed up the likelihood of his ability to write mainstream "alternative" hits suitable for heavy rotation on MTV in the late 1990s if he wished.
These and others were eventually made available on the record (Sketches For) My Sweetheart The Drunk, although Buckley was said to have put this material on hold, being dissatisfied with the results of the recording sessions conducted by Tom Verlaine in New York. He believed he had better songs within him, and was favouring working again with Grace producer Andy Wallace, when he left New York to go to Memphis, where he died.
Because Grace draws on rich and diverse musical traditions, and because Grace has itself found wide-ranging influence over a generation of musicians after its release, the record has aged outstandingly well.
This is without a doubt my favourite album of all time. It is beautiful music with such an emotional and deep message. Jeff Buckley sings about love, heartbreak, times of trouble and time of joy. The album as a whole consists of 10 tracks, 10 of which would most deffinely be in my top 100 tracks of all time. Buckley is a musical genius and his lyrics fill me with such powerful emotions. Last Goodbye will never fail to make me feel slightly overwhelmed, its a beautiful piece of music. There are songs with are slow and gentle such as lilac wine, and then it ranges to the powerful and dramatic Chorpus Christi. This is an album to sit down and listen to. When I listen to it I can do nothing else but soak in the music. That I suppose is the only downside, you can't put this album on in the background, you will be drawn into listening to every single word. Pure Genius at work.
This review is for the expanded version of Grace has all the original Grace tracks and "Forget her". It was released 10 years after the original Grace was released, and is veiwed in negative light by Buckley fan's as it was basically put out after the far superiour legacy edition.
The opening track is Mojo pin a track co-written by Gary Lucas and Jeff Buckley from there "Songs to no-one 1991-1992" album (which I've reviewed on here). A song with only a lil change in the time from which it was originally written, and it keeps Buckleys' impressive vocals that go from slow soothingly amazing to chasing like a panther through the opening line of the chorus:
"Precious, precious silver and gold and pearls in oyster's flesh"
The song keeps the original lyrics that shoot images into your head right through, a great opening track to a very memorable album. 10/10
Grace is the second track and is also on the album Buckley did with Lucas. The songs opening lines give images that surpass most song entirity:
"There's the moon asking to stay
Long enough for the clouds to fly me away"
The song ecaptualtes "the feeling of your own mortality when you're in love", and hits home with the guitar sounds that made the original demo sound so wonderful (the demo is on the Lucas album), and is almost the same song (bar the mising harmonica part). 10/10
Last goodbye, The song starts with a "Hawian" guitar style intro before the song seemingly erupts into a sonic heaven with the rums and guitars hittin everythin just perfectly and allows Buckley's vocals to sing of a heart-breaking final words:
"This is our last goodbye
I hate to feel the love between us die
But it's over
Just hear this and then i'll go
You gave me more to live for
More than you'll ever know"
A wonderfully touching song that did somewhat sum up his own relationship with Rebecca Moore (who heard him perform an unfinished demo of this called "Unforgiven" and thought it was about her). 9/10
Lilac wine, A cover of a Nina Simone song, and a somewhat enchantinly tender version of it, Buckley's vocals seem to call you into listening as the song starts almost accappello style (a very soft low guitar accompaniment). The drums beging to kick in with a bit more of the guitar as he hits the chorus and his vocals again take charge or your ear canals.
"Lilac wine, I feel unsteady, like my love
Listen to me... I cannot see clearly
Isn't that she coming to me nearly here?
Lilac wine is sweet and heady where's my love?"
So real, This replaced "Forget her" on the original release of the album 10 years previous, and was one of the videos that was made for the album. Jeffs Favourite video (accoring to David Browne's "Dream Brother"). A soft haunting guitar and vocal combination open the song before the simple riffs catch you in it's swaying sounds and has you tapping your toes and singing the chorus. A brilliant song and well place in the album (though imo "Foret her" is a far superiour song:
"Love, let me sleep tonight on you couch
And remember the smell of the fabric
Of your simple city dress"
Hallelujah, This classic Leonard Cohen cover, that we've all probably heard at least once in our life time (whether it's from a Buckley CD, or TV programmes such as "Scrubs" or "The O.C.") Jeff's sigh at the beginning is just a sliht show at the overall emotion he shows throughout the song. A modern day classic that mixes verses from Cohens original and John Cale's cover. A song that cannot really be described in words.
"Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
And she tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah"
Lover, You should have come over, A soft start with an oddity for lyrics, the opening suggests a funeral and is song in the thir person where as the rest is song in the first person. One of the best songs on the album, with Buckley's voice telling us a story so mind-blowingly well and allow his ocal range to show it's self. The soft simple guitar and drums keep your ears ready to listen to every word." A song about love thats gone wrong for one reason or another".
"Looking out the door i see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners
Parading in a wake of sad relations as their shoes fill up with water
And maybe i'm too young to keep good love from going wrong
But tonight you're on my mind so you never know"
Corpus Christi Carol, The shortest song on the album, and personally I'm some what happy about it, my least favourite song on the album, and another cover (sorry I don't know who did the original). Buckley's voice sounds haunting but yet also somewhat "hollow" and off putting. The lyrics read like something his father would have loved to have played with.
"And on this bed there lyeth a knight
His wound is bleeding day and night
By his bedside kneeleth a maid
And she weepeth both night and day"
Eternal life, This song has everything. An indie sounding guitar opening before turning into a haevy punk rock song, and the lyrics to match:
"Eternal Life is now on my trail
Got my red glitter coffin, man, just need one last nail
While all these ugly gentlemen play out their foolish games
there's a flaming red horizon that screams our names"
Buckley's vocals bleed emotion and anger in what I consider the best track on the original "Grace" release. Eerything fits wonderfully well together to make this a rock classic. Theres again very little anyone can say to truly sum up the song.
Dream brother, The final sng on the original "Grace" release, was written about his friend, and speaks of his relationship with his father. Te opening guitar sounds are very "loose" strings sounding, giving it a dreamy feel, before Buckley's voice puts an arm around you and carries you through the dream. The lyrics as always show Buckley's amazing talent to write what he wanted, and put images and ideas into peoples minds.
"There is a child sleeping near his twin
The pictures go wild in a rush of wind
That dark angel he is shuffling in
Watching over them with his black feather wings unfurled"
The song is seen as a warning to his friend not to walk out on his pregnant girlfriend, like Jeff's dad (The singer Tim Buckley) did to Jeff's mother.
The albums closing track is the previously unreleased song entitled "Forget her", this song was pulled from the original release on Buckley's call due to a multitude of rumours. These rumours including his then split with Rebecca Moore to prefering "So real". The song is a soft slow peace of heartache (as the title would lead you to believe). The song features heart wrenching lyris of a broken man from a broken relationship, as he tries to forget it all (every guy who's been in love knows this feeling far to well). Buckley as always performs to a very high standard vocall with the music adding more to the idea of a man walking down the street with tears in eyes. A song that for whatever reason was pulled from the original "Grace" CD has a place in a great CD, and was the major selling point. The song it's self has a 10/10 for me (despite my belief that had Jeff wanted the song to be released it would have been)...
However when reviewing this album we must note a few things, yes it's "Grace" with "Forget her" added, but, more to the point, it's another £10 or so for 1 song if you have the original. Mary Guilbert (Jeff's mum) has received a lot of criticism due to this, which was released only months after the far better and much more complete Anniversary pack, which is a far better purchase. If you have Grace avoid this album, if your a new Buckley fan, get the anniversary set for a similar price. Despite this the album is very good.
To me, 'Grace' is one of those albums that can stand the test of time. There is something to love in almost every single song on the album. Jeff Buckley had an amazing voice, ranging easily over 5 octaves, and he put his heart and soul into every song.
One of his most famous songs - Hallelujah, deserves a whole review on its own really. The lyrics of this song have been wildly debated, yes, there has even been sites started up, dedicated to talking about the meaning of this song alone! I wish I could put the lyrics of the full song on here for you to see for yourself. Although, the credit for the lyrics can not go to Jeff Buckley, as this song was originally written by Leonard Cohen. What Buckley did though, was bring the song to life, sing it with passion and meaning, with only a simple guitar tune to go with it, something Cohen never managed to do in my opinion. The raw emotion that you get from this song is due to the fact that Buckley sings with such pain and bitterness....the lyrics are full of meaning, whatever way you choose to look at them. Is it about love, lust, or religion? Like his music, it is hard to pin it down to just one thing.....but amazing all the same!
" Baby I've been here before, i've seen this room and I've walked this floor, i used to live alone before I knew ya
And I've seen your flag on the marble arch, and love is not a victory march, it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah"
The first time I ever heard this song it sent shivers down my spine, and I had to know who it was by. Jeff sings the words so softly, yet with so much power. Hallelujah is one of the best songs on the album, and the one that a few people may already know, even if they have never heard any other songs by Buckley, but this is not all he has to offer....
'Mojo Pin', co-written by Buckley and former Captain Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas. This song starts out ever so softly, it then picks up into an emotional heartfelt story, with light guitar playing in the backround, and ends with a powerful climax of guitar mixed with Buckley's strong vocals. 'Grace', has a great little guitar tune the whole way through it, and it's damn catchy! 'Last goodbye' is a beautiful song filled with emotion, and apparently when Jeff sang this live one time, he introduced it as "another twisted love song". 'Lilac Wine' and 'Copus Christi Carol' would be my two least favourite songs on the album, but either one of them could end up being your favourite, it's all a matter of personal taste. 'So real', has such simple lyrics, but still packed full of meaning "I love you, but I'm afraid to love you", simple, but how many people can relate to that?
'Lover, you should have come over' is another favourite of mine. It is another beautiful, intense, and meaningful song, the lyrics are nothing short of perfect, and again you will find yourself being hooked into the song by Jeff's beautiful voice, you can feel the pain and longing from his mournful 'moaning' towards the end, I get the same emotional feeling from this as I do from 'Forget her'...yes, Buckley really knew how to do a "bitter twisted love song" to perfection. 'Eternal Life' is more of a fast paced rock song, filled with anger and bitterness as he sings "Racist everyman, what have you done, man, you've made a killer of your unborn son, crown my fear your king at the point of a gun, all I want to do is love everyone" (you can't fail to get the message that is sent in this one), oh, and the guiter tune is amazing! It is another personal favourite of mine. 'Dream Brother' has a kind of dark vibe to it, it has been said that this song was a plea from Jeff to his friend, not to leave his girlfriend and baby, but who knows? Another great song. Many people have said, that if like the sound of Radiohead or Muse, then there is a strong chance you will like Jeff Buckley also. Although, to be perfectly honest, I've never been a huge fan of either of them....yet I love this album, and worship Jeff Buckley. This album is a must have for any music fans, and I have seen it around for as little as £4.99, what a small price to pay for such pleasure.
Jeff Buckley, singer, songwriter, and guitarist, drowned on May 29, aged 30, while swimming fully clothed in a marina on the Mississippi River. His body was found a week later, his death was ruled as an accident. This album shows him in all his glory, the death of such a talented man is a tragedy, and makes this album of his finest work special, and something to be treasured. His death did not enhance his music, no-one is giving credit where it is not due here, it only makes me sad that he did not leave us with more.
Thanks for reading.
For years, my former flatmate kept telling me I should listen to Grace, the one studio album Jeff Buckley released before his premature demise. For years, I resisted, in much the same way as I have stubbornly resisted her calls to listen to Radiohead and Beck. After all, what I had heard of those I hadnt enjoyed and if they were symptomatic of her musical tastes, then I could quite happily survive without ever hearing Jeff Buckley.
Another reason for my reluctance to listen to Jeff Buckley was Kurt Cobain. Cobain is another musician who dies too young and his music has been revered ever since, despite not actually deserving it. Would we still be talking about Nirvana with such regularity had he still been alive and the band had just split up? Somehow, I doubt it. Knowing that Jeff Buckley had also been taken from us too soon made me wonder if the album really was as good as my flatmate used to tell me or if she was speaking too well of the dead.
To be fair, however, for every musician who died too young and is remembered more fondly than the music they left behind truly deserves, there is another who truly is a loss to the world, as youll never know how good they could have been as they grew older. Would Buckley turn out to be a Buddy Holly or a Kurt Cobain? The one thing in Buckleys favour going in is that, like Buddy Holly, he doesnt have a Courtney Love style person making their own fame from his legacy.
Its a gentle start to the album with Mojo Pin beginning quietly and slowly before building into something lush and well rounded. Although its beautifully done musically and lyrically, its Buckleys voice that really catches your attention, soaring over and above the music, and giving the song the feel of something Ryan Adams might come out with if he could sing better. Its not all good, though, as there are some parts towards the end where it gets a little like free form jazz and all seems a little messy.
Grace starts with a decent guitar hook that could be almost anyone until the vocals come in. Its quite a jaunty intro although Buckleys vocal seems quite downbeat and the song tones down to match it. Again, its the vocal that leads the song, with his delivery making what would ordinarily be quite a humdrum pop-rock song into something a little more special.
Theres a slide guitar start to Last Goodbye that makes me think of the Quireboys, although when the song starts properly, its a little less interesting than that, being a mid-tempo pop tune, with a slight folk-country sound. The vocal is a little more restrained to start, and the song sounds a little like Ryan Adams, although when Buckley stretches his range, he sounds unnervingly like Robert Smith from the Cure and when the tempo picks up a little, it could almost be a Counting Crows track. Its not a bad tune, but really nothing special.
Its another low key start to Lilac Wine, although the vocals break loose again at a couple of points and take control. But with Buckleys voice, this is no bad thing at all. Fortunately, however, he keeps it calm for the most part and its a mellow pop ballad that drifts over you and away.
So Real seems like another fairly mellow one, musically at least. Its only when you listen closely to the lyrics that it takes on a darker edge, almost feeling like the confessions of a tortured soul. If you merely listen to the music, the chorus sounds like an excellent falsetto, but combined with the lyrics, it becomes a scream for help. Its amazingly well done, how the lyrics and music can contrast and yet compliment each other.
After the previous track, it seems strange to have something as traditional as Hallelujah up next, even if the lyrics have been reworked. Its suddenly no longer a song of praise, but one of yearning. As with some of the earlier tracks, the simplicity of the music is overlaid with Buckleys soaring vocals and this is a work of beauty. However, much as with So Real, this is a little less true if you listen carefully to the lyrics. Otherwise, its a simple ballad that drifts over and around you once more, as with Lilac Wine.
Musical simplicity is something Buckley does well, and Lover, You Should Have Come Over starts in much the same fashion, with the vocals again taking the lead. Its a folk/country tinged ballad for the most part and again reminds me of a more accomplished version of Ryan Adams, until it builds into a grand finish that showcases Buckleys falsetto admirably, yet is so restrained you feel Justin Hawkins of the Darkness is crying into his spandex.
If this is true of the previous track, Corpus Christi Carol (For Roy) is going to make him want to jack it in completely. If you didnt know this was a Jeff Buckley album, youd be thinking of Aled Jones when he was still in his Walking in the Air days. Id never been into choral style music, but this is truly beautiful. Its a song that almost demands you sit back and listen with your eyes closed and let it wash over you for the three minutes it lasts.
For a complete change of pace, Eternal Life sees Buckley letting rip and rocking out. Its a guitar led indie rock track that for the first time has the vocals a little more in the background. Unfortunately, theres really nothing special happening here. Its a fairly standard up tempo indie rock track which isnt necessarily a bad thing, but not in keeping with the quality of what has gone before.
The guitar refrain on Dream Brother sounds exactly like something Ive heard elsewhere previously, but I cant put a finger on where exactly. It doesnt really matter, as what you get here is fairly standard mid-tempo pop-rock fare with the music largely covering over Buckleys greatest asset except for a few parts towards the end. Again, not bad, but a disappointing ending to what has proved to be a good album.
Despite my original reluctance, this is an amazing album. Musically, its really not all that special, but the simplicity of the music combined with Buckleys frequently soaring voice adds up to something sublime. Its really an album for music lovers.
The variations from the pop-rock of Eternal Life through to the simple beauty of Corpus Christie Carol make it difficult to know who to recommend this album to, as theres no one genre to whose fans it can be recommended. There are a few country-rock-pop moments that fans of Ryan Adams will appreciate, but not enough for that to be considered a recommendation.
Its not an album youd play at a party, as its generally a little too laid back for entertainment. Certainly many of the songs will drift around you, thanks to Buckleys voice, but there are moments where that voice can interrupt your consciousness and means its not something you can put on in the background and concentrate on something else.
Really all I can say is that if you enjoy music, and especially so if youre someone who enjoys listening out for the lyrical nuances, this is an album you need a copy of. Its music that deserves your full attention and has a go at grabbing it if it doesnt. Its an album to be put on in the evening, with a drink beside you and no-one else around.
The 51 minutes of the album pass by surprisingly quickly, considering its not really an up tempo album. But its 51 minutes well spent and the relative cheapness of the album, at £7.99 from Amazon, £6.99 from play.com and CD-Wow, or even from £4.98 at the Amazon Marketplace and from 99p on eBay makes any investment in it money well spent.
Truly music for music lovers. Rest in Peace Jeff Buckley, you left us far too soon.
'Grace' Label - Columbia. Released - 1994. I was reading a magazine article recently about Mark Greaney the lead singer of 'JJ72' who was doing an interview. He was asked who his musical influences were to which he replied Jeff Buckley. Now believe it or not I had never heard of Jeff Buckley until this point but made a mental note and thought no more about it. A few days later I noticed Jeff Buckley again in the sale section of my local record shop with this album 'Grace'. Remembering that he was in the magazine article I had read, I decided to buy it not knowing what to expect, parting with a fiver in the process. Was it a fiver well spent or not ?? Before I review the album I ought to give you a little background on the artist himself. Not knowing much about him personally I have been doing a little research and was more than a little surprised at what I found ! Jeff Buckley was the son of Tim Buckley, a legendary sixties folk singer who was notorious for dying of a heroin overdose at the premature age of 28. Jeff followed in his father's footsteps in more way's than one. Firstly he inherited his father's musical talents and voice - he performed in New York's clubs and coffee houses quickly becoming noticed in the early nineties. It wasn't long after that Jeff was given his big break and was snapped up by Columbia who signed him up on a million pound, three album contract. 'Grace' was the first of those three albums and sadly it was the last - Jeff was swimming in the Mississippi river in 1997 and sadly drowned in an accident. When he died his legacy was this album which is the only evidence we have of his undoubted talent. The album is made up of ten songs, seven written or co-written by Buckley himself and the other three covers. The opening track 'Mojo Pin' has an unusual, haunting opening which floats along at a slow pace before the vocals cut
in after about a minute. It's a very quiet opening and I wasn't sure what to think at the time. What was apparent though was Jeff's voice which could reach a range of notes - the song changes pace and his voice reacted with ease. I liked this song most for it's lyrics; "Don't wanna weep for you, I dont wanna know, I'm blind and tortured, The white horses flow, The memories fire, The rhythms fall slow, Black beauty I love you so" I should also mention the good quality guitar work on this track and both this and the quality lyrics are a continuing feature of the album. 'Grace' the title track has a quicker tempo and a shorter intro. It had much the same style as the first track however which is difficult to compare to something else because it's like nothing I've heard of before. What hit me about this song was the lyrics again; "There's the moon asking me to stay, Long enough for the clouds to fly me away, Well it's my time coming, I'm not afraid to die, My fading voice sings of love, But she cries to the clicking of time, of time" A song about dying which when you listen to carefully makes you wonder if his death was an accident! Amazing lyrics considering what happened to him, sad really, emotional and very eerie. 'Last Goodbye' is personally my favourite song on the album. What is most impressive about it is Jeff's voice which lights it up. He had an exceptional voice and you can really tell on this track because of the vocal range needed to carry it off. As the title suggest the song is about the ending of a relationship and the 'Last Goodbye' - there are highs and lows and the lyric's are terrific. On first play of the album this song hit me most and it still does now. "This is our last goodbye, I hate to feel the love between us die, But it's over, Just
hear this then I'll go, You gave me more to live for, More than you'll ever know" 'Lilac Wine' is the first cover on the album and is about a man drinking Lilac Wine, waiting for his love who never arrives. Jeff sings this song which is lyrically beautiful throughout with vocal perfection. With every listen you can tell just how much effort he is putting into capturing the mood of the lyrics of the songwriter (James Shelton). It's quite a sad, delicate, sombre tune but the lyrics and melodic feel to it make it a must listen. "Lilac wine is sweet and heady, Where's my love? Lilac wine, I feel unsteady, Where's my love? " 'So Real' is in complete contrast to the very sombre 'Lilac Wine' pacewise and it needs outstanding vocals to carry off it's demanding chorus and climactic finale. Jeff delivers and in the process let's a rockier more animalistic side to his talent off the leash a little! ' Hallelujah' was written by the Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. A little surprising that this song with a religious feel to it should appear on the album but it's certainly worth a mention because it could have been an achilles heel and it certainly is not. The vocals are distinct and powerful here because they are accompanied by only an acoustic guitar. I would imagine that the original would have to be pretty damn good to match this version. "I've seen your flag on the marble arch, But love is not a victory march, It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah" 'Lover, You Should've Come Over' has what sounds like an Organ on it which makes it a little different sounding. Again it's beautifully written - a man waiting in vain for his lover to visit, the lyrics once again capture the mood, Jeff Buckley is very good at this, he doesn't overdo it either and he could eas
ily do so, given his voice. 'Corpus Christi Carol' made me furrow my eyebrows! Corpus Christi is a College I frequented at Cambridge and this work by Benjamin Britten looked well out of place and although it's far from my favourite, Jeff still manages to do what he set out to do. His choirboy like vocal range enable him to hit the notes needed to carry it off. 'Eternal Life' is like nothing else on the album. It has a rocky, pacy feel to it and really goes well with the vocals. I would have liked to see more of Jeff doing this style if he had lived, I think it suited him. I don't know why but this sort of reminds me of 'Reef' that unmemorable West Country band, stylewise. "Eternal life is now on my trail, Got my red glitter coffin man, Just need one last nail, While all these ugly gentlemen play out their foolish games, There's a flaming red horizon that screams our names" 'Dream Brother' ends the album in much the same vein as 'Mojo Pin' started it with a very haunting, melodic tone. Some of the best drumwork of the album also appears on this, the final track. So as you may have already guessed, I really love this album and what a bargain I got for that fiver! I cannot help but feel a little sadness every time I listen to it though, this man Jeff Buckley had all the talent in the world - he had the voice and had the musical abilities to enable him to capture any mood he wished to meet. His voice could be solemn and sad one minute and upbeat and happy the next. He engages quite a few styles in this album and could have gone in many directions had he lived. Another thing that is outstanding about the album is the lyrics which are very emotional, clever and imaginative. I think had he lived he would have become a great songwriter in the 'Bob Dylan' mould but I guess we will never know. I find this album has to be listened to in m
oments of peace or reflection as you learn something new from the lyrics with every listen. What if ?? ========================= WormVision2003
Jeff Buckley led a tragically short life. Yet, in that short life he managed to produce an album that would usually take a lifetime. “Grace” is full of sweet vocals, fantastically imaginative guitar playing and beautiful lyrics making one of the greatest albums of all time. The album opens with “Mojo Pin” – a song about a dream as Buckley himself has said. The song opens softly, and sounds like a hymn almost – a prelude to the dreamy aspect of most of the album. However, the title track which follows blasts all serenity out of the water, being a glorious rocker and formerly a live favourite (formerly, that is, before his untimely drowning). “Is my time coming, I’m not afraid to die” Jeff sings on Grace, one of many references to death, that some say were premonitions to his demise. Of course this is rubbish, but it makes for a great rock ‘n’ roll story doesn’t it? (Like Marc Bolan of T-Rex’s constant references to his eventual death in a car crash, or Kurt Cobain’s cries for help that are so obvious in retrospect!). But, the album isn’t rife with death. “Last Goodbye” is a soothing song about the pain of parting. Despite the highly emotive lyrics, this song actually makes you feel better about any break-up you’ve ever gone through! Listening to this song you can hear how much Buckley enjoyed playing – it strikes me as a highly enjoyable song to play along to, a song that makes you want to pick up the nearest guitar and start jamming along, while singing about last embraces, parting kisses and hating to see love die, to paraphrase the song. Buckley’s voice is simply perfect on “Lilac Wine”, a song of longing – the sparse instrumentation highlights his voice all that more. His voice is delicate and breathy on this one, echoing the sweet nature of the lyrics. My least favourite song “So Real” c
ontinues and includes the bizarre line “I never stepped on the cracks because I thought it would hurt my mother”! I’ve been thinking about that line, and my only explanation is that it’s about the crazy ideas that children can get into their heads. For example, if you walk on the wrong side of the footpath, the banana monster might eat your socks or something. (No, I never used to think that!) The album’s highlight has to be “Hallelujah”, the old Leonard Cohen song. Cohen himself was rumoured to be highly put out that Jeff’s version is simply far superior! Bono has said that he wishes he could sing it that way. It’s hard to say exactly what it is about the way Buckley sings this song that makes it so spine-chillingly brilliant. I’ve put this song on in the background at parties, and people always stop talking when it comes on. It’s absolutely captivating. It’s just Jeff singing and his guitar – an absolute masterpiece. This vocal flight of fancy is in my top three greatest songs of all time (I haven’t thought of what the other three are just yet, mind you!). It climaxes with an incredibly high and incredibly long sustained note that just drifts off into oblivion. Respect! “Lover, you should have come over” is a song that I’ve seen girls cry to (I don’t know why, but they were drunk at the time). “I see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners” is another death reference of course, and if you really want to stretch it, he makes reference to shoes filling up with water – a chilling reminder that he drowned while wearing his boots. It also has one of my favourite lines ever written – “My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder”, how poignant! And again “All my blood for the sweetness of her laughter”. “Corpus Christi Carol” is one of the more bizarre songs, being a Benjamin Brit
ten song. It’s sounds very medieval, talking about falcon, maidens, knights and all that kind of stuff but is achingly beautiful. Jeff sets new ground in falsetto here! The loudest rocker on the album is “Eternal Life”. If you’re interested in more Jeff Buckley stuff, get “Live at Sin-É” a live E.P., which features a superior acoustic version of this song. I’d love to know exactly what the lyrics are about though, as it suddenly becomes very philosophical partway through – “What is love” etc. The mystical “Dream Brother” rounds off the set. It opens sounding like an Eastern meditation, but mixes in some great rock rhythms and a glorious finale. Everybody should own a copy of this album. It’s available quite cheap in most record stores, so you’ve absolutely no excuse for running out buying. It’s contemplative and ingenious content will pay for itself a hundred time over. “Grace” is possibly my greatest investment ever in terms of enjoyment out of a C.D. so take it from me (with 350 albums under my belt) that this album is a must.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Mojo Pin
3 Last Goodbye
4 Lilac Wine
5 So Real
7 Lover, You Should've Come Over
8 Corpus Christi Carol
9 Eternal Life
10 Dream Brother
11 Forget He