Previously unreleased 1968 sessions (with the exception of an instrumental track from 1967) that, for the most part, are a missing link between his second and third albums, Goodbye and Hello and Happy Sad. The process through which Happy Sad evolved was not a smooth one, entailing a few tracks in New York in March 1968 and more unused sessions in the summer of 1968 in L.A., producing a good deal of material that lay in vaults until it was accidentally discovered in the '90s. The four tracks from the New York sessions are a bit demo-ish, featuring just Buckley and his acoustic guitar, Lee Underwood's electric guitar, and an unidentified acoustic bassist (probably Jimmy Bond). Nevertheless, these have a lovely sincerity, particularly the lilting "Danang," which would later form a part of "Love from Room 109 at the Islander" on Happy Sad. There were also different takes of Happy Sad's "Sing a Song for You" and "Buzzin' Fly," and a sparse version of "Song to the Siren," recorded in a more strained, elaborate manner on Starsailor. On most of the L.A. tracks, Buckley is joined by the Happy Sad band on a mixture of alternate versions and songs that would surface on post-Happy Sad releases. With most of the other alternates, the feel is somewhat more tentative than on the versions listeners are used to. It's interesting to hear the two unfinished tunes titled "Ashbury Park Version 2," which would be the foundation of the first movement of "Love from Room 109 at the Islander," especially as some of them are graced by delicate harp that didn't get used in the final arrangement. This complex assortment of material, it must be noted, is not collector ephemera: it's gorgeously melodic music that is both historically important and emotionally powerful on its own terms.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger