Jeff Buckley, You and I: his pre-Grace compilation of rare recordings

The posthumous record, released today, is comprised of demos and covers preceding his debut masterpiece

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The Independent Culture

American singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley tragically passed away in May 1997 at the age of 30 after drowning in the Mississippi River.

Today sees the release of You and I, a posthumous compilation comprised of rare recordings and covers of songs by The Smiths and Bob Dylan, to name but a few.

Grammy award-winning producer Steve Berkowitz - the man who signed the late musician to Columbia Records (now known as Sony) - produced the demos that feature on the album.

Reflecting upon these demos, which were recorded before Buckley made Grace  - the singer's sole studio album, Berkowitz told Rolling Stone: "It was clear when you heard him how much talent was there, and how much innate musical ability and music history was in him.

"But he hadn't figured out which Jeff Buckley to become yet, and what record to make. He had so much talent in him, and he could really do so many things, that it was really difficult for him to decide. So I suggested we go into the studio. It was like, 'Why don't you create a table of contents of music that you've been playing or want to play?' Hoping that one or two or three of those would lead towards the beginning of an idea of an album concept."

The demos were discovered in Sony Music's archives and were promptly put together in this anticipated compilation. which includes Buckley's versions of Sly & the Family Stone track "Everyday People" and The Smiths' "The Boy with the Thorn In His Side." 

"In a way, for me, [You and I] is incomplete," Berkowitz muses. "...Fans [are] gonna go nuts. You don't get anything like this anymore, where it's so completely innocent, and at the beginning of someone's career. He's so present and so powerful and so convincing."

You and I is released today.