OK I know this isn't a competition but you've got to admit that this is an interesting collection of artists gathered together to cover Buddy Holly songs - not only old stagers like Nick Lowe, Graham Nash, Patti Smith and Lou Reed but also newer acts like the Black Keys and My Morning Jacket, as well as one-offs like Cee-Lo Green and Kid Rock, not to mention the keeper of the Buddy Holly flame Mr. James Paul McCartney. All Buddy's major hits are covered here and although I was really looking forward to hearing this I've got to admit I'm a bit disappointed. The trouble with most of these tribute records is that the artists treat the material with too much respect - these are all very well known songs that have been sung for over 50 years - I don't think that we really need more exact copies of the originals.
Everyone will have their favourites and opinions on what versions work and which don't - these are mine! I have always hated Florence and the Machine - her voice really gets on my wick - yet surprisingly I think her version of 'Not fade away' is the standout track, dramatic and radically different from the original in an almost Tom Waits vibe. Macca also goes for a radical rebuild of 'It's So Easy' with tricky modern production and an almost Beatles-like vocal - good for him, he's taken a risk and it just about works. I also liked the covers by Patti Smith, The Black Keys, Fiona Apple, John Doe, Justin Townes Earl and Cee-Lo Green - none of whom do anything particularly different with the songs but just acheive a nice feel. I was also preparing to slag off Graham Nash for his too respectful take on 'Raining In My Heart' then the harmonica solo came in and I completely changed my mind and warmed to the version.
Most of the other covers are just too much like the originals and very very bland, I was particularly disappointed by the tracks from Nick Lowe, the Detroit Cobras and My Morning Jacket - artists who I do like but who produced very tame versions.