Jeff Buckley – Grace Around The World: Deluxe Edition

January 01, 1970

(Columbia/Legacy)

 

www.legacyrecordings.com

 

A few hard truths adjoin the experience of being a Jeff
Buckley devotee, and those realities are irrefutably illustrated throughout
this two-DVD/CD set. For all the late bandleader’s (he was, as he explains
during the Amazing Grace documentary,
loathe to view himself as a solo artist) virtuoso talent and authentic spirit,
he was still developing as a songwriter and figuring out how to engage the
media without sounding precious. The other tragically unavoidable aspect of
Buckley’s too-brief career is the aspiring star only recorded and performed so
much material, and it’s been nearly exhausted over the course of several
official and semi-official releases, reissues, live albums and imports.

 

Around
The World
‘s titular DVD, and its accompanying soundtrack, offer little-to-never
seen/heard live renditions of Grace stand-bys
(“Mojo Pin,” “Lilac Wine” et al), culled from awkwardly dated-looking promotional
TV appearances circa 1994-95. But for all Buckley’s improvisational
curiosities, his voice is so precise that the unearthed footage will sound a
bit redundant to owners of Mystery White
Boy
and Live At L’Olympia. The
equally time-capsule-ish Qs and As offer the most intimate glimpse into an
artist who often feels like a ghost. The aforementioned Amazing Grace doc has long been circulated, and suffers from
unfortunate editing choices (entire tribute
performances from Sebastian Bach and Duncan 
Sheik), plus a less-than-probing reverential tone. But the bonus
features do include some long-buried 120
Minutes
sessions that round out the overall collector’s value.  

 

Buckley was a phenomenal talent, and there is much to be
gained from preserving every frame and outtake of his legacy. But his loss is
most palpable when considered against what could have been, and Around The World falls short of offering
solace for that unsolvable absence.

 

Standout
Tracks:
“So Real” (120 Minutes,
1995), “Mojo Pin” (Frankfurt, 1995) KENNY
HERZOG

 

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