Few artists/performers leave the indelible mark that Buddy Holly did, and even fewer can withstand continuous covers and remakes of their music without losing at least some of the essence that first captures the listener.
Rave On Buddy Holly is a collection of talented artists who have managed to keep the spirit of Buddy Holly alive while reimanging his music, a tribute to one of the greatest and most beloved songwriters in American history.
While available in digital format from the usual vendors, the vinyl version is recommended for those of you who truly want a magical experience. The double-album (19 songs) is pressed on 180-gram vinyl at 45 rpm making the listening experience extraordinary (The sound is striking. Here’s to more artists recording albums at 45 rpm.) Remember, Holly originally recorded for vinyl, and somehow the spirit of his music comes alive when the music is returned to its vinyl roots.
The recordings were assembled by Randall Poster and Geyla Robb and produced by Robert Smith. The overall effect is a masterful assembly of covers, the various track producers such as Matt Sweeney, Joe Henry, Jack White and C.C. Adcock deserve a hand for doing justice to Holly’s memory.
Some names listeners will be very familiar with; The Black Keys create a haunting and wistful version of “Dearest”. Kid Rock tackles “Well All Right” and mixes in some serious soul. The production on this cut is phenomenal, and his Detroit -trucker twist is not unexpected. Paul McCartney impresses with a raging version of “It’s So Easy” that sets the turntable on fire. This is one of the few spots on the album where the continuity is a bit off; the production is so different that it stands out and seems out of sync with the tracks it sits between. Modest Mouse’s cover of “That’ll Be the Day” is slower than the original, and seems to lack a bit of the youthful anger associated with the song, but it’s obvious that much care and thought went into the arrangement and the overall result is still worth a listen.
Some artists may be new to listeners — although certainly all well known within their various genres, they have managed to escape more widespread notoriety. Julian Casablancas (also known as lead singer of The Strokes) covers “Rave On,” in a dark, more intense manner than the original. The Detroit Cobras created a version of “Heartbeat” that is right at home on the album, which with its driving guitar and tight drumming seems like a strictly modernized version of the original — but with an edge that only they can contribute. (As a consummate cover band they know how to pay proper homage.)
Each song, chosen wisely, (Oh Patti Smith, you are a wonder on this record!) captures the new while remaining true to Buddy Holly’s music. If Buddy Holly were alive today, he would be 75, It seems strange that he’s been gone for so long and yet his material still seems fresh and relevant. This album captures the earnest spirit of a young man, and it seems only right that his music is returned to vinyl for new generations to enjoy.
This record is a treat, and many thanks to those that delivered this collection of amazing covers; a tribute indeed.
(Vinyl version reviewed on a Thorens TD 145 table with a Shelter 201 cartridge.)
By Meredith Underhill
Check out a stream of the entire album here: http://stream.raveonbuddyholly.com/
Rave On Buddy Holly track listing:
1. Dearest -The Black Keys (2:06)
2. Every Day – Fiona Apple & Jon Brion (2:19)
3. It’s So Easy – Paul McCartney (4:35)
4. Not Fade Away – Florence + The Machine (4:02)
5. (You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care – Cee Lo Green (1:31)
6. Crying, Waiting, Hoping – Karen Elson (2:25)
7. Rave On – Julian Casablancas (1:55)
8. I’m Gonna Love You Too- Jenny O. (2:11)
9. Maybe Baby -Justin Townes Earle (2:06)
10. Oh Boy – She & Him (2:18)
11. Changing All Those Changes – Nick Lowe (1:41)
12. Words Of Love – Patti Smith (3:20)
13. True Love Ways – My Morning Jacket (3:25)
14. That’ll Be The Day – Modest Mouse (2:15)
15. Well…All Right – Kid Rock (2:09)
16. Heartbeat – The Detroit Cobras (2:20)
17. Peggy Sue – Lou Reed (3:19)
18. Peggy Sue Got Married – John Doe (3:57)
19. Raining In My Heart – Graham Nash (3:30)