Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas Songs To No One 1991-1992

For an artist who only released one full-length album in his lifetime, the number of posthumous releases compiling Jeff Buckley material is unbelievable. This might have to do with how this exceptional artist was perceived during his all-too-brief lifetime, but it is also the result of the magnitude of Buckley's musical activity. Two of the best tracks on Buckley's first full-length album, Grace, "Mojo Pin" and "Grace," which also kick-off the record, were co-written by avant-rock guitarist Gary Lucas. And although Lucas is probably best known as Captain Beefheart's guitarist in the '80s, his solo recordings and performances continue to be as varied in style as they are musically innovative. The pairing of Lucas and Buckley might seem an unlikely one, seeing as they are both technically dexterous players (on guitar and voice, respectively) and musically adventurous to the extreme; the checks and balances needed for an effective collaborative effort might seem to be missing. This collection of recordings from the pair's brief tenure together proves that the songs from Grace were no fluke and that Buckley's work with Lucas might have been his most successful. Although these tracks are taken from rehearsal tapes and live recordings, they show Buckley at his best. Along with three covers and live recordings of the aforementioned "Mojo Pin" and "Grace," there are five unreleased Buckley/Lucas compositions, which are exceptional and imperative for any Buckley fan. The songs range from folk to punk in style and find Buckley in a relaxed and exploratory mode. It helps that both Lucas and Buckley shine the brightest in live performance, which is captured here in all its intense beauty and low fidelity. Much of Buckley's studio work suffered from over-production, while here we experience the purity of his impassioned vocals, most often backed by no more than Lucas's sweet guitar melodies and atmospherics. Check the power of rock-out "Cruel," the sublime jazz-folk number "Song For No One" and the wild psychedelic blues of "Harem Man" and ponder how it took so long for these songs to get an official release. (Knitting Factory)