Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The Buckley stops here

A couple of years ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column in The Ticket giving record labels some ideas for concept albums. Look, it was January and there wasn’t much else going on. There was no new REM album, for instance, …

Thu, Apr 19, 2007, 09:30

   

A couple of years ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column in The Ticket giving record labels some ideas for concept albums. Look, it was January and there wasn’t much else going on. There was no new REM album, for instance, which sounded just like the last REM album to laugh at.

Anyway, the column poked some gentle fun at how the licensing departments in record labels worked. These are the folks who take existing material and repackage it so punters ended up paying for the same thing twice. They are the Keith Barrys of the industry who can stitch together an album out of tracks or artists who didn’t appear to have anything in common at first or second or third glance.

There were a few examples at the end of the piece like Tupac Shakur – The Answer-Machine Tapes (“hear, for the first time, Biggie singing “Happy Birthday” to Tupac. Chuckle along as Suge Knight teases Tupac about his bad breath. Wonder did he ever return a call to Martha about the special offer on double-glazing”) and The Lady in Dreads – Reggae Salutes Chris De Burgh (“a reggae sunsplash cash-in on De Burgh’s re-emergence into the spotlight thanks to his daughter winning some bikini contest in China”).

One of the mooted albums was The Jeff Buckley Audio Cookbook. “Hear the great man recite his recipes for how to boil an egg, make a cup of tea and plug in a toaster in the style of Van Morrison and Nina Simone. Sure to be a cult classic with all aspiring hungry singer-songwriters.”

Sometimes, though, the truth turns out to be stranger than fiction. According to Entertainment Weekly, a new album “The Spoken Word Revolution Redux” features a previously unreleased recording of Buckley apologising to Bob Dylan at a poetry reading. Seems Buckley had had a pop at Dylan at some show, word had got back to His Bobness, Buckley was mortified and hence the mea culpa.

Years later, this apology turns up on a CD. What’s more, it’s obviously a selling point for the album. Obviously that audio cookbook album was a good idea after all.

Naturally, with the 10th anniversary of Buckley’s death approaching, there’s ANOTHER Best Of on the way. “So Real” has 14 songs which most fans will have already. Some will no doubt cynically applaud such prolific scraping of the barrel. Me? I’ll point people towards “Grace” and leave it at that.