Saturday, September 3, 2011
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: LISTEN TO ME: BUDDY HOLLY
The biggest news here is that Paul McCartney does NOT appear in any way, which must be a first for Holly tributes. It's doubly odd, since the whole thing is produced by Peter Asher, of Peter and Gordon, who is Jane Asher's brother, who was McCartney's GF in the 60's. Stunning. However, since the universe abhors a void, Ringo was asked in to sing Think It Over. And since Jeff Lynne's entire career has been about copying The Beatles, and his version of Words Of Love sounds exactly like theirs, Paul's presence looms large. Oh, and he owns all these songs, too.
It's the usual suspects, mostly rock royalty circa 1986, including Stevie Nicks, Natalie Merchant, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, and OMG! Linda Ronstadt makes a rare return to rock, which she gave up twenty-some years ago, once again covering a Holly song she took to the charts way back in 1976, It's So Easy. Oops. Actually, it's the same damn track, her original version, which just happened to be produced back then by Peter Asher. Cute. Of course, all these seniors still had fire in their bellies then, and it's no wonder the 1976 track is the best thing here.
There's some other decent takes, including Lyle Lovett's Well All Right, Chris Isaak was made to sing Holly, and does a good Crying, Waiting, Hoping, and Imelda May, the fine British retro-rocker who recently teamed with Jeff Beck, continues to impress here. But the rest of the relative newcomers are dull, and I'm talking about you, Pat Monahan of Train, Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, the entire squad of The Fray, and Asher's daughter's crappy outfit, Cobra Starship. We learn from the liner notes that Asher is best friends with Eric Idle of Monty Python fame, and they cooked up a comedy bit to end the album. We learn from it that Eric Idle is no longer funny.
It could have been worse. All these people could have decided to record versions of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah instead.