Volume 94, Issue 2
Friday, May 19, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Buckley rises from dead
Mystery White Boy Live '95-'96
The world suffered a tragic loss May 29, 1997. On that day, musician Jeff Buckley went for a swim in the Mississippi River and never returned.
Although he recorded only one album before his death, it is obvious he was a remarkably gifted songwriter and musician, filled with the promise of a long and brilliant career. Fate decided otherwise and he was taken from us before he could progress any further.
Although a collection of demos was released in 1998, the unfinished feel of most of the material meant it could not live up to the standard set by Buckley's first album, Grace. For that reason, the live recordings compiled on this record are a welcome addition to the artist's catalogue.
Mystery White Boy does an excellent job of capturing the feeling of one of Buckley's performances. Compiled from various shows on his 1995 and 1996 tours, each track captures him at his peak. Vocally, Buckley is in fine form throughout, screaming on "Mojo Pin", letting loose on "Moodswing Whiskey" and growling with remarkable passion on "Eternal Life." Diehard fans will also delight in hearing some of the banter that transpires between songs.
Listening to this album, one gets the impression the live arena was the best place to get a full appreciation of Buckley's music. The rendition of "Last Goodbye" makes a case for it being the greatest break-up song ever written, while "Eternal Life," is an abrassive musical catharsis. Most startling however, is the way that the opening track, "Dream Brother," perhaps Grace's one weak point, is recast as a majestic epic.
Mystery White Boy cannot take the place of actually experiencing a Jeff Buckley concert in person. Yet it does a wonderful job of capturing the feeling, more than merely serving to extend Buckley's legacy. It is the finest example of his genius that we will ever receive.
-Aaron St. John
Copyright © The Gazette 2000