Album Reviews

Various Artists – Rave On Buddy Holly

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Various Artists
Rave On Buddy Holly

(Fantasy)

Buddy Holly’s recording career lasted about two years, culminating with his death at the age of 22. The number of hits (and eventual classics) he produced in that short time is staggering. If he had only written and recorded “That’ll Be the Day” and “It’s So Easy” his place in rock ‘n’ roll history would be secure. This album, released to coincide with Holly’s 75th birthday, shows that those gems merely scratched the surface of Holly’s genius.

The project collects an eclectic mix of artists, ranging from icons in their own right (Paul McCartney) to current indie-darlings (the Black Keys, My Morning Jacket). The best tracks are the ones you might not expect. On “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care,” Cee Lo Green is so good, he makes you forget his TV persona and reminds you of what a major talent he is. Other standouts include Karen Elson (“Crying, Waiting, Hoping,” produced by her ex, Jack White), the Detroit Cobras (a hard rocking “Heartbeat), the aforementioned Sir Paul (“It’s So Easy”, easily his hardest rocking performance on record in years) and Nick Lowe. Lowe sings “Changing All Those Changes,” a song with enough smart wordplay to sound like something Nick could have written himself.

Thankfully, no one attempts a Holly impression on any of the tracks. Each artist lays down a heartfelt interpretation, showcasing the timelessness of Holly’s music. These songs remain as vital today as the day Buddy first recorded them.

—Steve Frazier

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