Bright Eyes – every so often, and far too often, the music press decides on the next big thing. And Bright Eyes was one of these. They re actully a band, or to be honest a one man band; Conor Oberst. They sort of ignored his first few albums, but raved about Digital Ash In A Digital Urn – which I bought. I sort of wish I hadn’t; it is okay, pleasant voice, okay songs, etc; etc; But not a favourite by a long way. A couple of years back I also bought Letting Off The Happiness in a charity shop. The name was familiar and I thought I’d give him another listen. This was an earlier (1995) record. And it is even worse…in fact, having re-listened I may just take them both to the nearest charity shop, where they belong – or, I may not.
Jackson Brown was around form the early Seventies, and his name was bandied about – but my ears were too full of James Taylor and Neil young and Joni and Leonard, and of course Bob – that I had no time for him. But of late I bought his greatest hits The Next Voice You Hear. Well it is okay, the songs are competent, the singing is good – but somehow it just doesn’t do it for me. Nothing to complain about really, just doesn’t excite me at all. A pity really, but there you go. I also have a live double album Love Is Strange, from quite late in his career. Quite Latin tinged. Again, perfectly pleasant, but not special in any way at all.
Jeff Buckley – a very interesting character. He was the son of Tim Buckley, a Sixties singer-songwriter who infamously took his own life. Jeff only made one record in his life Grace, before he too died far too young. Co-incidence, who knows? But Grace (1994) is a remarkable, record; some self-penned songs and some covers -most notably ‘Hallelujah´by Leonard Cohen. He had a remarkable voice; high and clear and very emotional, it almost feels as if he is on the point of crying at times. Well, he died, before fame cold reel him in. Only one album recorded too, even if it was brilliant. But a live record soon came out – Mystery White Boy. Excellent live versions of many of the songs from Grace, and a few others too. As live albums go it is pretty good, but a bit overlong. Also demo’s and half finished songs for a proposed second album emerged – Sketches for my girlfriend, the drunk. Well I find this all a bit tedious. These are mostly unfinished songs and very samey. I imagine that even more junk will be exhumed and presented for sale – but I won’t be buying them. Grace was brilliant – but we will never know what else could have been…
He died while swimming in a river in 1997, and his reputation has only grown since then. His version of ‘Hallelujah’ is hailed by m any as the best of all time – but I still prefer Leonard’s….He died while swimming in a river in 1997, and his reputation has only grown since then.