I hope everyone had a fun and safe Labor Day weekend. Here’s a review of a tribute CD that originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer. Perfect for the Holly Day.
Randall Poster, a well-known soundtrack producer, was certainly given a variety of talent to work with when asked to oversee this tribute album. The result is an eclectic collection of songs that should please Holly’s longtime fans, and introduce them to artists they probably wouldn’t otherwise encounter. At the same time, new music fans will get a taste of an old master’s songwriting skills.
It’s no surprise to find Nick Lowe, Graham Nash, She & Him, and Justin Townes Earle interpreting this timeless material, but who would have guessed Cee Lo Green would bring a nostalgic glow to “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care”? Kid Rock successfully transforms “Well All Right” into old school Motown, while Florence + The Machine give “Not Fade Away” a slinky, bass and percussion arrangement.
Elsewhere, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Karen Elson (with then husband Jack White), and The Black Keys stay true to Holly’s exceptional vision while keeping their own identities. Paul McCartney has a blast giving “It’s So Easy” a down and dirty arrangement, although he should have skipped what sounds like a bad Wolfman Jack impersonation. It’s the only thing that qualifies as a misstep on this adventurous disc.