Jeff Buckley - Mystery White Boy (2000, Sony)
- Guitar and Vocals
- Bass Guitar
This album is the second posthoumous release, coming 3 years after Buckley's death, the first being his unfinished 2nd studio album "Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk". "Mystery White Boy" is collection of live recordings taken during Buckley's "Mystery White Boy" tour, from venues across the world.
7 of the 12 tracks on offer here can be found on Buckley's classic album, "Grace". The other 5 comprise of 3 Buckley originals, "I Woke Up In A Strange Place" , "Moodswing Whiskey" (which was co-written with Michael Tighe) and "What Will You Say" (which was co-written with his friend Chris Dowd and Carla Azar, two friends of his from when Jeff lived in Los Angeles). There are also 2 covers here, "The Man That Got Away" originally written by Harold Arlen and "Kangaroo" by Big Star.
- a complete reworking of the final track on "Grace", and all the better for it. Some great ad-libbing from Jeff in the middle section of the song and the way the instruments keep building, dropping out and rebuilding is great. 4.5/5
I Woke Up In A Strange Place
- this new Buckley track isn't on a par with some of his other work but it's likeable enough. It's got a nice riff and some decent lyrics. 3/5
- pretty much the same as the "Grace" version. The only difference is that he sings some of the lyrics in an annoying voice, which spoils the track a bit for me. Apart from that, though, it's a good track. 3.5/5
- the cover of Nina Simone's song loses none of it's fragile beauty when played live. Here, though, the small instrumental section they put in doesn't really work and causes the song to lose it's way a bit, before recovering for the end. 3.5/5
What Will You Say
- the best new Buckley song on here, the lyrics were written by Chris Dowd about his father, but translate to Jeff's own situation regarding his father. A very passionately sung song that is very moving, especially after the guitar solo. However, I don't like the way Jeff sings some of his ad-libs. They seem a bit off key. Still an excellent song, though. 4/5
- the song follows the same structure as on "Grace", but here the bass, which is prominant in the "Grace" version, just bubbles underneath the song. There's also some neat guitar work from Jeff to make up for the loss of strings. This is probably my favourite track on the album. 5/5
- this version is completely changed from the weak "Grace" version. Here, there's a stomping riff laden with distortion. Jeff shows off the diversity of his voice with some screamy, shouty vocals. There's also some brilliant bass playing from Grondahl. A great track. 5/5
- my favourite track on "Grace". Here, it's a pretty faithful rendition of it until the end. Then they introduce a new riff and Jeff does some random ad-libbing to the end of the track. 5/5
- this was written after "Grace" but left off "Sketches...". It's quite a quiet song until about 4 minutes into the song. Then it really picks up. Not one of my favourites, but an OK song. 3/5
The Man That Got Away
- in my opinion, the worst track on the album. The song is just Jeff playing guitar (which you can barely hear) and singing. The lyrics are quite good, but I don't like the rendition. 1.5/5
- Jeff's favourite song to play live, and you can feel the energy in the performance. Whilst Jeff's singing, the instrumenation is once again quiet, but once the lyrics end, the band builds up to a big kick in the song and the "Kangaroo Hop" as Mick Grondahl referred to it. There's some great drumming and a fantastic riff. 4.5/5
Hallelujah/I Know It's Over
- the song that seems to be synonymous with Jeff Buckley's name. Here, he segues it with a Smiths' song, and they go very well together. The best version of Hallelujah I've heard from him. 5/5
One of the remarkable things about this album is just how tight the band is. There are few, if any, instrumental mistakes during the songs. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that there was no pre-determined set list at any of their shows, and that Jeff didn't tell the band members when he was changing the songs, he expected them to follow his lead.
If you own "Grace" you should seriously consider getting this album. The standard of instrumentation is very high, as is the quality of the singing. I don't think it's quite as good as "Grace" but it's a worthy purchase. If you don't own "Grace", you're probably better off getting that before this. One word of warning though - if you don't like vocal ad-libs, then don't get this.
Any spelling mistakes or wrong facts, please tell me so I can edit them.