Most are aware that Jeff Buckley died in 1997 during recording his second album. While he had recorded a number of songs and demos in 1996, he was unhappy with their sound and essentially started from scratch in 1997. What would be released as Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk contained both complete recordings and unfinished demos from both sessions, on two discs. The first 10 songs of the discs were essentially a complete album that he scrapped, while the last 10 songs (or 11, if you have the non-U.S. version) are mostly demos and home recordings of what we can only assume were to take shape as Buckley’s final product.
What we are left with is something that is most certainly Jeff Buckley, but a departure from Grace. Something that is not better or worse, but different. In the first 10 tracks, again he has made something brilliant. I imagine trying to pick one favorite is akin to choosing a favorite child. But I do know that I love the cover “Yard of Blonde Girls”, the very sexy “Everybody Here Wants You”, and the biting “Nightmares by the Sea”. One of the things I love about Jeff Buckley’s work is that there was absolutely no filler on either of the discs (nor was there any on Grace, either). All of the songs are distinct and each one of them great for their own reason.
As for the last 10 tracks, they feel disappointingly incomplete, but you can definitely get a sense of the direction in which he might have wanted go, and diehard fans won’t be bothered by their sound.
Tomorrow I am hoping to do an Hour by Hour post. Ideally, writing this will serve as enough of a reminder.