Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 144
Sat. June 22, 2013
“We All Fall In Love Sometimes”
According to Jeff Apter’s A Pure Drop: The Life of Jeff Buckley, on October 11, 1992, Buckley went on Nicholas Hill’s Music Faucet radio show on WFMU and recorded a number of covers including a rendition of Elton John’s “We All Fall In Love Sometime.” That memorable set was often bootlegged, and left unreleased until 2009, when only Buckley’s Elton John cover was unearthed in the soundtrack to the 2009 movie My Sisters Keeper.
Jeff’s cover of John’s 1975 cut from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is stripped down to the core—with only Buckley’s guitar and his heavenly vocal chords serenading us with his reimagining of this lovely Elton and Bernie Taupin penned classic brings to life a quote from Daphane A Brooks 33 1/3 tome on Buckley’s Grace, when Jeff famously said, “I wanted to dash myself on the rocks…I just wanted to work…I wanted to be a chanteuse.” When Jeff recorded this cover at WFMU, Buckley’s Grace was still two years from being made. What you’re hearing is Buckley in starving singer mode, even though “We All Fall” is an Elton original, the way Jeff crooned this, it felt like Buckley was giving you a slice of lyrical soul.
One way that Buckley got noticed was covering songs. Buckley was a vocal wunderkind; he could cover just about anything. I’ve heard Jeff emulate everything from Miles Davis’ trumpet to the Qawwali musings of Pakistani vocalist and one of Jeff’s idols, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Buckley explained in Brooks’ 33 1/3 book on Grace when he said, “I became a human jukebox, learning all these songs I’d always known, discovering the basics of what I do. The cathartic part was in the essential act of singing. When is it that the voice becomes elixir? It’s during flirting, courtship, sex. Music’s all that.” Buckley’s right, relearning all those songs he beloved made him into the legend he is today. The proof is in his only official recording. As Buckley would eventually record on Grace, Jeff breathed new life and soul into Nina Simone’s “Lilac Wine” and his most famous cover, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
When I listen to Buckley’s lovely rendition of Elton’s “We All Fall In Love Sometimes,” it reminds of something Jeff mentioned in Brooks’ 33 1/3 book on Grace, when Buckley said, “It’s pretty special sometimes, the way a song affects a room, the way you’re in complete rhythm with the song. When you’re emotionally overcome, and there’s no filter between what you say and what you mean, your language becomes simple, emotional and full of pictures and clarity.”
If you want to capture the emotional clarity of a rare Jeff Buckley performance you have to experience his achingly beautiful cover of Elton John’s “We All Fall In Love Sometimes.” As we would eventual learn with his one of a kind rendition of ‘Hallelujah,” Buckley had this uncanny knack of covering songs so eloquently, with one vocal touch, Jeff would make songs like Elton’s his own. Buckley doesn’t just want to tug at your heartstrings, like a lyrical lothario Jeff longed to undress you with his chanteuse like seduction. Whatever you do blow out the candles before you finish reliving this stripped down allure of Jeff’s poetic voice, enticing you with his tribute to Elton and Bernie Taupin’s “We All Fall In Love Sometimes.”
Daphne A. Brooks’ 33 1/3 tome on Jeff Buckley’s Grace is available at all online retailers and fine bookstores near you.