Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk

Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk

4.5 6
by Jeff Buckley
     
 

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Jeff Buckley was a mess of contradictions: a perfectionist who believed in spontaneity, a man who was at once humble and vain, a musician who shunned his father's tumultuous legacy while creating one of his own. These are some of the reasons why he took his time writing and recording the material for his second album, laboring over many songs for months at a time.…  See more details below

Overview

Jeff Buckley was a mess of contradictions: a perfectionist who believed in spontaneity, a man who was at once humble and vain, a musician who shunned his father's tumultuous legacy while creating one of his own. These are some of the reasons why he took his time writing and recording the material for his second album, laboring over many songs for months at a time. Given such painstaking methods, it shouldn't have been a surprise that recording was an equally fastidious process. Buckley recorded enough material for an album with producer Tom Verlaine, but deciding that the results weren't quite right, he scrapped them and moved to Memphis to record the album again. He reworked a few songs as home demos as he prepared to cut the album, but it was never made -- Buckley died in a tragic drowning accident before entering the studio. As a way to enlarge his legacy, his mother and record label rounded up the majority of the existing unreleased recordings, releasing them as the double-disc set Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk. Excepting a few awkward moments and middle-eights, it's hard to see why Buckley rejected the Verlaine productions that make up disc one. The material isn't necessarily a progression from Grace; it's more like a stripped-down, edgier take on the sweeping, jazz-tinged goth folk-rock that made the first album so distinctive. Neither the nearly finished first disc nor the homemade demos and re-recordings on the second disc offer any revelations, but that's not necessarily a disappointment. Sketches adds several wonderful songs to his catalog, offering further proof of his immense talent. And that, of course, is what makes the album as sad as it is exciting.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/26/1998
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074646722824
catalogNumber:
67228
Rank:
53713

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jeff Buckley   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Mick Grondahl   Bass
Michael Tighe   Guitar
Parker Kindred   Drums
Eric Eidel   Drums

Technical Credits

Tom Verlaine   Producer
Ray Martin   Engineer
Jeff Buckley   Engineer
Tony Banks   Composer
Nicholas Hill   Producer
Andy Wallace   Engineer
Bill Flanagan   Liner Notes
Gail Marowitz   Art Direction
Nicky Lindeman   Art Direction
Chris Theodore   Contributor
Mary Guibert   Liner Notes
Michael J. Clouse   Engineer
Benjamin Goldstein   Contributor
Irene Trudel   Engineer

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Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the wake of his accidental death by drowning at the age of 30 on May 29, 1997, it is all-but impossible to hear Jeff Buckley¿s Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk with objective ears. Factor in the equally-untimely demise of Buckley¿s father ¿ the uncompromising jazz-folk fusionist Tim Buckley ¿ at age 28, and the Musical Fates suddenly seem not so much innocently hit-or-miss in their dismissiveness as coldly calculating and actively vindictive. Fortunately, Jeff Buckley left us Sketches ¿ a 2-CD, 20-song collection of new studio and four-track recordings released nearly a year to the day after his body was recovered from the Mississippi. With lyrics freely invoking oceans, seas, rivers, and reservoirs, it is a most ominous epitaph, an unintended requiem that eerily mirrors the man¿s impending death. Here, as with his 1994 debut Grace (worth the price of admission for its haunting pseudo-acoustic cover of Leonard Cohen¿s ¿Hallelujah¿ alone), Buckley proves himself less a master of effective songcraft than of evocative soundscapes. The strongest songs, as such, are the first disc¿s ¿Everybody Here Wants You¿ and ¿Nightmares By The Sea,¿ ¿ the former scoring with its smoky, soulful groove, the latter with its driving sense of dread and spookily prescient poetry: ¿I¿ve loved so many times/And I¿ve drowned them all/From the coral graves they rise up/When darkness falls¿ and ¿Stay with me/Under these waves tonight/And be free/For once in your life tonight.¿ Conversely, Sketches¿ soundscapes are best represented by the pitch-black pairing of ¿New Year¿s Prayer¿ ¿ its sinister metronomical meter and multi-tracked incantations suggesting a full-moon-illumined Druid sacrificial ceremony ¿ and ¿You & I¿ ¿ sounding like nothing so much as Romeo bidding adieu to Juliet within the resounding bowels of the Capulet tomb. Elsewhere, Buckley¿s expressive, falsetto-friendly tenor (Thom Yorke-esque, with a dash of Robert Plant) swings nimbly from a whisper to a wail, from the sweetest coos and come-ons to the lustiest blood-engorged growls. Whether the songs are subtly soaring (¿Morning Theft¿) or just puckishly rutting in the muck (¿Your Flesh Is So Nice¿), Buckley proves himself all-but-incapable of committing anything less than his deepest feelings to disc. The album¿s second disc is the decidedly ¿sketchier¿ effort here, though repeated listenings eventually yield rich rewards. These are far from pretty pieces, rife with fuzzy feedback and cling-clanging industrial percussion. But what they lack in studio sophistication and shellac, these four-track testaments more than make up for in intimacy, affording the listener the unique opportunity to eavesdrop on an oft-times violent game of hide-and-seek between a man and his muse. Once the four-track tempest crests, Buckley graces us with a glimpse of spring with the spare, sparkling ¿Jewel Box¿ and the bluesy, swan-song strum of Porter Wagoner¿s much-covered ¿Satisfied Mind.¿ The change in weather is a welcome one, though these late-ascending suns also serve to illuminate that most sad and pointless of postulations: What might have been? If only history could be shifted ¿ Fates made less angry; rivers more forgiving ¿ oh, what might have been¿.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I discovered Jeff's music after learning that Christ Cornell's song Wave Goodbye was a tribute to Jeff. I bought Grace just for the hell of it, and it was only $8. Since then, I have listened to every Jeff Buckley song, studio and live and unreleased, many times. After all of these listening experiences, it is the 4-track demos on Disc 2 of this set that inspire me the most as a musician. The spirituality he found in music jumps off of these recordings. Disc 1 has some incredible moments, notably Vancouver, Witches Rave, Opened Once and And You & I. Obviously anyone who liked Grace should get this, but definitely any new listener should get Grace first, one of the top five albums, ever. Sketches is a haunting and beautiful album, but the feeling after Disc 1 is that Jeff was still presenting himself, still working towards his great epic, and still setting the stage for what could have been perhaps a concept album or grand epic masterpiece. Often Disc 1 seems more mainstream than I would have liked, but Disc 2 assures me of Jeff's originality. It doesn't get a 5th star for me, because I would reserve that for a completed Sweetheart. Questions? Comments?
Guest More than 1 year ago
i'm gonna put 5 even though on average you hear of 4 cuz the project wasnt realised. but there's so much here, subtle or upfront-- lyrically or musically-- the 2nd disc being obvious drafts are a bit more difficult and slower to access-- but they are accesible. after a few listens to disk 2, you can hear implied structures for other arranging and i find it pretty damn inspiring-- also along a darker vain than the 1st disc's studio cuts. and the 1st speaks for itself-- perhaps the most ritualistic in rhythm, New Year's Prayer is one with such subtle nuance and the notes he painted with his voice are chilling-- i wonder if something was meant to fill the trancing drum interlude, but then it seems all the more raw and real with the pulsating rhythm alone.// jeff aranges-- and the guitar is a utility for that. there's care in the songs. i'll leave it at that though i wish to say more. listen-- take a break-- listen again-- there's not much like it-- jus the same as his Grace.
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