Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I know that a lot of people hate the idea of tribute albums.  I don't.  In the pre-downloading age, I bought tons of them, even if there was just one artist I liked on the album. I really like the idea of artists paying tribute to other artists, I always have. It's hard to overstate Buddy Holly's importance.  He was there at the beginning of rock and roll.  He influenced The Beatles. The Rolling Stones covered him on their first album. I remember watching Bob Dylan talk about a Buddy Holly concert when he was accepting his Grammys in 1997.

I think it's important to our culture to keep reintroducing this kind of classic music to younger generations (or "demographics").  Rave On Buddy Holly does a good job at putting together a great list of diverse artists.   Do any of them improve on the original songs?  No, of course not. But there are lots of great versions of these classics, and if Rave On turns some new people on to Buddy Holly's music, then mission accomplished.

I think my favorite songs on the album are Paul McCartney's "It's So Easy," Karen Elson's "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" and Cee-Lo Green's "You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care)." Sir Paul sounds like he  is harnessing the excitement that he felt when first hearing Buddy's music as a kid. It's actually kind of shocking hearing him rock out so hard!  No Expiration readers know that I really like Karen Elson, and I love her take on "Crying, Waiting, Hoping."  It's hard not to imagine that she was thinking about her soon-to-be-ex-husband (who produced the track and plays drums on it) when she was singing this.  Even still, it's a bit more upbeat than her most of the stuff on her excellent debut album The Ghost Who Walks. Cee-Lo Green? He just sells it so well.

There's a lot of other great moments: The Detroit Cobras (props to the producers for including them) on "Heartbeat," The Black Keys' "Dearest," Justin Townes Earle's "Maybe Baby," My Morning Jacket's "True Love Ways," She & Him's "Oh Boy!" and even Kid Rock's "Well All Right." It's not all good.  The singer from The Strokes and Modest Mouse both do pretty boring takes on Buddy classics.

But even the songs I don't like may serve a purpose.  If popular artists like the singer from The Strokes or Modest Mouse can attract some new people to the amazing and timeless music of Buddy Holly, then well done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard this, but I remember another Buddy Holly tribute record that was released in the mid 90's. I loved Nanci Griffith's take on "well... all right" on that one. I just checked and I guess the CD is still in print, or at least you can still find copies on Amazon. It was called "Not Fade Away".... and here's the link:


- Jen R