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Jeff Buckley

The late Jeff Buckley (1966-1997) had a singularly amazing voice -- a trait shared with his father, avant-folk troubadour Tim Buckley (1947-1975). Like his dad, Buckley could purr like a jungle cat, sigh like a Delta bluesman, improvise like a jazz singer, and shriek like a half-mad banshee from some mythic Scottish moor. Originally released in 1993, Live at Sin-é was the world's introduction to Jeff; it was named for a now-defunct New York club where he had a regular solo gig. This two-CD re-release expands the program from 26 minutes to two and a half illuminating scintillating hours.

Aside from being a songwriter, Jeff Buckley was an article rare in post-Dylan generations: an interpretive singer, one who drew from unfashionably diverse sources. His sensitive pleading version of Johnny Mathis' romantic ballad "The Twelfth of Never" flickers like the flame of a candle blown by a gentle ocean breeze, and Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" gets an extremely spare bluesy treatment further accenting the song's already harrowing narrative. Paying tribute to his more direct vocal influences, he covers Van Morrison ("The Way Young Lovers Do," given a sensuous, surreal, extended jazz-scat workout) and Led Zeppelin ("Night Flight").

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