This past June, Fantasy/Concord released Rave On Buddy Holly, a tribute album solely dedicated to the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll. This 19-track album features the musical stylings of Julian Casablancas, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, She & Him, Paul McCartney, Fiona Apple, Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, Cee-Lo Green, Florence + the Machine, and more. With a catalog of such amazing talent, pioneer Buddy Holly’s musical library has continued to thrive and display relevancy even 52 years after his death.
We covered a few tracks (links above), but never properly gave the album as a whole a review. Rave On features recently recorded takes on Holly classics such as “Everyday,” “That’ll Be the Day,” “Peggy Sue,” and “Well All Right,” among others. A notable element about this album is that it steers clear of the reverent re-creations typically found on similar tribute projects. Florence + the Machine, for instance, bring a sassy New Orleans/gypsy vibe to “Not Fade Away,” a song famously covered by the Rolling Stones. Modest Mouse offers a more avant-garde version of “That’ll Be the Day” with mellower beats and their well-known indirect enthusiasm. The cover of “Dearest,” performed by The Black Keys, is a sunnier take on the original enhanced with romantic drumbeats, finger snapping and Dan Auerbach’s soulful disposition.
The most important realization while listening is that the various contributors who were gathered for this album are re-creating their own version of Buddy Holly tracks that trace back to the roots of rock and roll, a genre that has shaped so much of the music that followed.