Several previously unreleased Jeff Buckley songs will appear on a live album to be released in the spring, the late singer/songwriter's family, friends and label said in a statement released online Friday (Jan. 21).
"The as-yet-untitled album features a number of Buckley originals and cover versions not included on any of his studio releases," the statement at www.jeffbuckley.com said. The album is due May 9.
The LP compiles songs from soundboard recordings of several concerts, said a Columbia Records spokesperson who requested anonymity. Mary Guibert, Buckley's mother, discovered the recordings last year.
Guibert publishes a fan newsletter on the Buckley Web site. She first announced last year in the newsletter that she and Buckley's bandmates guitarist Michael Tighe, bassist Mick Grondhal and drummer Parker Kindred were assembling the album, which will be the second posthumous Buckley release.
Buckley drowned while swimming in the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tenn., in May 1997. Buckley, who was 30, was in Memphis to record his second album, with Television guitarist Tom Verlaine producing.
Buckley's father, folk singer Tim Buckley, died of a heroin overdose in 1975, at age 28.
Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, a two-CD set featuring remnants of the Memphis sessions and unreleased demos, was released in 1998.
The live album will include covers of '70s power-pop group Big Star's "Kanga Roo"; Judy Garland's "The Man That Got Away"; the jazz standard "Lilac Wine," made famous by singer Nina Simone; and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Buckley recorded studio versions of the latter two for his 1994 debut album, Grace, which won critical raves for its lush melodies and introspective lyrics.
Versions of five other songs from Grace, including the modest hit "Last Goodbye" (RealAudio excerpt), appear on the live album, as do the unreleased originals "I Woke Up in a Strange Place," "What Will You Say" and "Mood Swing Whiskey."
Buckley toured Europe, the U.S. and Australia extensively in the early and mid-1990s, playing nearly 300 shows over a two-year span in 19941995.
Chris Zahn, the booking agent for three Buckley appearances at the New York club Wetlands Preserve in 1993 and 1994, said he remembers the singer as an intense but focused performer. "He came in the club the night he headlined [in August 1994] with his little boombox," Zahn said. "It was like a batter digging his feet into the batter's box to get a good stance."
During a previous appearance at Wetlands, earlier in 1994, Buckley opened for Counting Crows, who had just broken into the pop mainstream. Following the sound check, according to Zahn, members of Counting Crows refused to move their equipment from the back of the stage, leaving a fuming Buckley without much room to play. Zahn said the show was still great.
Philip Prender, a Buckley fan from Dublin, Ireland, wrote in an e-mail that he hopes the live album gives him a taste of something he missed out on while the singer was alive.
"I'm not very big on sentimentality for the sake of it," Prender wrote. "But if I do have any ounce of it I would gladly spend it on Jeff Buckley. We never got to see what he could have become, and yet we experienced more than a glimpse of his talent."
The Columbia spokesperson had no information on which producers worked on the live album or on its running time.
The album's track listing is: "Dream Brother," "I Woke Up in a Strange Place," "Mojo Pin," "Lilac Wine," "What Will You Say," "Last Goodbye," "Eternal Life," "Grace," "Mood Swing Whiskey," "The Man That Got Away," "Kanga Roo" and "Hallelujah/I Know It's Over."