Mystery White Boy
Jeff Buckley only released one full-length album, Grace, before his untimely drowning in 1997 at the age of 30. Sketches (For My Sweetheart the Drunk), a two-disc collection of newly recorded material, was posthumously released approximately one year later. Mystery White Boy is a compilation of soundboard recordings taken from the supporting tour for Grace during 1995-96. His mother, Mary Guibert, chose the compilation instead of a single live show because it showcases Buckley’s best moments. As a result, the album does not fit together like a typical live show, but the selected tracks are, nonetheless, individually powerful. Consisting mostly of material from Grace, Buckley and his band travel the musical spectrum from quiet, instrumental atmospherics with whispered vocals to hard-edged, Zeppelin-esque rock, often within the same song. Buckley is unique in that he writes and sings with the mentality of a folk artist but isn’t afraid to let loose and scream and play with the mentality of a rock star. He gets so emotionally wrapped up in his performances that it’s easy to get goosebumps while listening to this or even his studio recordings. Highlights here include the beautiful “Lilac Wine,” his radio breakthrough “Last Goodbye,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which completes the album perfectly.