The tragedy of Jeff Buckley's untimely passing in 1997 meant that one of music's most talented and naturally gifted performers left behind only one completed studio album, (1994's Grace). The last few years have seen a number of posthumous Jeff releases, some noticeably better than others. Now comes this box set that collects together five EP's issued around the world to promote Grace.
Whilst it would be easy to view this release as another attempted cash-in on the Buckley legacy, the EP set is certainly worthy of your attention. Although there are no 'new' songs here, (Kanga-Roo, Lost Highway and Tongue will already be familiar to Buckley devotees), the real find lies in the live performances.
With so little studio output available, fans of Jeff Buckley have inevitably been drawn back time and time again to the masterpiece that is Grace, becoming familiar with every detail of every song. This is arguably exactly what Jeff would not have wanted, for his passion was for live music where his talent could find its fullest expression, unhindered by the requirements of a studio and its producers. So whilst you might ask if anyone really needs three recordings of the tracks Grace and Dream Brother, it would be true to say that Jeff never performed songs the same way twice. The studio releases were never meant to be definitive takes, and that is the beauty of these live renditions.
The only downside with the music here is the 'Live at the Bataclan' EP, which Jeff reportedly detested. Listening again to this CD it is not hard to hear why, with the crowd wildly cheering throughout the performances and detracting somewhat from otherwise great renditions of Hallelujah and The Way Young Lovers Do. Don't let that minor quibble put you off however. These CD's and their accompanying notes are a worthy addition to the Buckley back catalogue and will please fans both old and new who want to be reminded as to why Jeff is so mourned.