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Thursday, September 11, 2003

Review - Legacy Edition

Artist: Jeff Buckley Live at Sin-e

Posted on Thu, Sep 11, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Legacy Edition
Label: Epic/Legacy
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Legacy Edition

The posthumous Jeff Buckley enterprise turns around to eat its own tail on this extremely generous revisit. Grace was originally released as a four-song EP in 1993 as a means to quell the hot-sheet expectations of New York insiders while Jeff readied his big, career-defining statement. "Legacy" lays it on thick in 2003 with a full 157-minute board recording (plus an 11-minute DVD of interview and performance footage) of the infamous show that started it all. Pomp aside -- and Buckley's mother's pocket book duly tossed out the window -- Sin-? is as phenomenal as you would expect. Buckley's genius was always in his spontaneity, a fact even reflected in the high studio sheen of his actual debut, so there are few mistakes to be heard from the unlikely troubadour whose sloppy heart was his only sleeve. Here, Nina Simone is gender-bended into "Be Your Husband," while similarly sepia-toned croons are pushed through "Strange Fruit" and "Calling You." Grace is previewed substantially -- and faithfully -- along with unexpected homages to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Dylan's "Just Like a Woman." Intermittent monologues ensure a sense of intimacy, but 10 years down the line the revolution feels oddly muted. The timelessness, however, remains intact -- a cold and broken Hallelujah.

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