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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/16c5fb561cbc0eb4106250d01574f74327ccc676.jpg Rave On Buddy Holly

Various Artists

Rave On Buddy Holly

Fantasy/Concord Music Group
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
11
June 28, 2011

When Buddy Holly died in February 1959 - in the plane crash that also claimed Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper - he was just 22 and had only been a star since the fall of '57, when his first single with the Crickets, "That'll Be the Day," went to Number One. But in that time, Holly recorded a full, prophetic body of work, setting a big part of the stage for the British Invasion with his savvy, forthright desire and pop-hook allure charged with Fender sting and country-blues jump. Not surprisingly, Paul ­McCartney (who owns Holly's publishing catalog) and ex-Hollie Graham Nash pay engaging tribute here. McCartney romps through "It's So Easy" like he's leading the Beatles in Hamburg; Nash comes to "Raining in My Heart" with a deft balance of folk-rock sparkle and overcast-afternoon sigh. But there are 17 other tracks on Rave On, at least half a dozen too many. Florence and the Machine treat "Not Fade Away" like it was a Soft Cell hit; Modest Mouse sound only half-awake in "That'll Be the Day." Some of the best moments are the straightest (Nick Lowe, Justin Townes Earle) and the weirdest (Kid Rock's trucker's-funk spin on "Well All Right"). But Patti Smith's slow, haunted redesign of "Words of Love" is this album's most faithful salute. She delivers the song like a precious wish - just the way Holly wrote it.

Click to listen to Paul McCartney singing Buddy Holly's 'It's So Easy'

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