Sunday, 7 January 2018
Jeff Buckley - Grace
There were a number of years when my record collection was spread across two houses - mine and my parents'. I was moving every year (into increasingly small rooms in London) and it wasn't practical to have them all with me. One trip back home, I was flicking through the LPs I'd left there and stumbled across Grace by Jeff Buckley, a record I had no memory of buying. It didn't take long to realise I bought it during the Tuesday-record-from-Spillers year, but I was pretty shocked that I'd forgotten that I owned a copy of it.
My relationship with Grace goes far further back, back to my first year of college. My local record shop had just started stocking vinyl for the first time, in the form of 180-gram reissues of "classic" albums. I was browsing them with my friend Guy, who got very excited over a copy of Jeff Buckley's Grace, an album and artist I'd never even heard of (my musical education at that point came from Kerrang!, so I'd never heard of Tim Buckley either). He told me it was a classic and insisted on lending me his copy. I played it and really didn't get the fuss. Whilst I thought I was open to many types of rock music at the time, it was very different to most of what I listening to and I remember being distinctly under-whelmed.
A short while later, Guy and I were at our friend Tom's house playing poker and Jeff came up again. Tom insisted on playing the album whilst we played (people like to insist on listening to Jeff Buckley it seems) and it sounded better. In particular, Eternal Life sounded excellent and I enjoyed the whole album more than I had the first time. Sometimes you just need the right time and place. In the second year of university I eventually bought a copy on cd, having spent two years hearing my housemate Matt routinely tell me how great it was. Very slowly realising that the album was indeed a "classic", I bought the LP three years later, on a Tuesday with few other records I fancied in Spillers.
So I'm not an evangelical Jeff Buckley fan (like so many of my friends), but I am a fan. A lot of the songs have heavier moments than I remember and build to some real highs. Of course, everyone knows and loves Hallelujah, which is a highlight. The slower moments like Lilac Wine and Corpus Christi Carol still do less for me, but I can still appreciate them for Jeff's great voice. At times, I'd be tempted to say it's a bit over-produced - there are just these moments every now and again that don't add much to the song and the album could easily live without - but it's a very small criticism. The other small complaint is that the LP doesn't include the bonus track on the cd that I have come to love, Forget Her - it's a great song, far better than you'd usually expect for a song tacked onto the end of an album.
Format: 12", picture sleeve
Cost: £8 new
Bought: Spillers Records, Kingston