Mystery White Boy, was originally released on May 9, 2000, three years since Jeff Buckley's untimely death by drowning. It marks the second posthumous release from the immensely talented singer-songwriter in that three-year span. Mystery White Boy is a live collection, featuring mostly previously available songs from Buckley's 1994-1996 tours. Because those did turn out to be the only tours for Buckley on an international scope, it's hard to separate the tragedy from these 12 tracks, but taken strictly as a live album on its musical merits, Mystery White Boy is a stunning LP, capturing an intensity from Buckley that transcends his studio work.
Buckley's backing band -- Michael Tighe (guitar), Mick Grondahl (bass), and Matt Johnson (drums) -- is stellar, and its tightness has much to do with the passion of the performances. The group provides a perfect complement to Buckley's forceful singing/yelling on such tracks as the opening, guitar-heavy rocker "Dream Brother," a compelling "What Will You Say" marked by a rising urgency in the music, and a heavy "Last Goodbye" with an almost psychedelic guitar intro.
But even in hushed tones, such as through much of the hypnotic "Lilac Wine," a song with a cabaret-esque tinge, Buckley is never less than riveting as the focal point of these shows.
Buckley's stature has grown quickly since his passing. And in many ways his command of the listener's attention is reminiscent of another performer who died too young and went on to legendary status -- Jim Morrison. Much like Morrison, Buckley seems capable of exploding at anytime during these songs. When he does, it is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Mystery White Boy is more than just a tossed-off live LP from a performer gone too soon and more than yet another reminder of the loss music suffered when Buckley passed away. It may be one of the best live albums rock has produced.
Audiophile 180g Vinyl
LP1 - Side 1:
1. Dream Brother
2. I Woke Up in a Strange Place
3. Mojo Pin
LP1 - Side 2:
1. Lilac Wine
2. What Will You Say
3. Last Goodbye
LP2 - Side 3:
1. Eternal Life
3. Moodswing Whiskey
4. The Man That Got Away
LP2 - Side 4:
5. Kanga Roo
6. Hallelujah / I Know It's Over (Medley)