Jeff Buckley

Live at Sin-é

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Jeff Buckley resented being called a folk singer, but he made his name playing solo sets like this one on the New York coffee circuit. Sony released this live EP before his first fully produced rock album, Grace, perhaps to attract attention to the raw power of Buckley's greatest gift, his voice. These four songs certainly accomplished that end. Buckley hurdles seemingly unreachable octaves, suspends notes for what seems like minutes, and belts out his falsetto without a scintilla of restraint. That's a positive inasmuch as it allowed him to show off his considerable talent; it's a negative when it sounded like he was showing off. But his ten-minute cover of Van Morrison's "The Way Young Lovers Do" is a tour de force of strumming and scatting, and his acoustic "Eternal Life" has an electricity that is paradoxically lacking on the plugged-in album version. [A deluxe edition released after his death added dozens of additional live tracks.]

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