Richard Buckner first pressed up this low-frills, self-titled item for sale at his concerts following the 2000 release of The Hill; the self-titled disc consists of Buckner performing 11 songs armed only with his acoustic guitar in a San Francisco studio in 1996. All these songs were later re-recorded on the albums Devotion + Doubt and Since, and while listening one gets the feeling that these were really just demos cleaned up for release. That said, that's not to say these performances don't offer some surprises for fans; this version of "Boys, the Night Will Bury You" has a very different arrangement and melodic sense than the one which would appear on Since, while the more straightforward take of "Pull" gives the song a very different spin than it had on Devotion + Doubt. And anyone who has ever seen one of Buckner's solo acoustic shows knows he's a compelling and charismatic performer, and this disc manages to capture a bit of that presence on a piece of aluminum and plastic. However, none of the performances on Richard Buckner can honestly be said to be better than the studio recordings which followed. In 2003, Buckner reissued this disc in a widely available edition, which seems fitting -- while this is music worth hearing, it's too slight to merit the three-figure prices it was fetching among collectors.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming