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Monday, February 3, 2014

Buddy Holly: Showcase


1) Shake, Rattle And Roll; 2) Rock Around With Ollie Vee; 3) Honky Tonk; 4) I Guess I Was Just A Fool; 5) Umm, Oh Yeah; 6) You're The One; 7) Blue Suede Shoes; 8) Come Back Baby; 9) Rip It Up; 10) Love's Made A Fool Of You; 11) Gone; 12) Girl On My Mind.

Just one more of these and we're done. Showcase followed fairly quickly after Reminiscing, since the latter sold poorly, but steadily, and was even more of a pathetic cash-in — this time, the buying public had learned its lesson and remained completely unimpressed, not to mention that, by May 1964, Beatlemania was on in full force, and the kids had plenty of stuff to worry about other than a bunch of decade-old outtakes, crudely overdubbed and revealing nothing particularly new about the artist. Not even a King Curtis duet this time around.

Instead, what we get is mostly songs from the same early 1956 Nashville sessions that yielded the relatively lackluster That'll Be The Day LP (in fact, two of the songs, ʽRock Around With Ollie Veeʼ and ʽGirl On My Mindʼ, seem to have simply been carried over from that album, maybe in slightly remixed form). As usual, half-finished outtakes and demos rule the day, and, as usual, my beef is not so much with the «sacrilegious» overdubs as it is with most of the songs being just plain uninteresting.

There is quite a fair share of Holly originals here, to be sure, but they reflect the earliest and most derivative period of Buddy as a songwriter, and, for the most part, we either hear pedes­trian country-western (ʽI Guess I Was Just A Foolʼ), or half-developed predecessors of better songs: ʽLove's Made A Fool Of Youʼ already tries to spice up the country-western flavor by borrowing the Bo Diddley beat, soon to take full shape in the form of ʽNot Fade Awayʼ, and ʽYou're The Oneʼ, left here in its original acoustic demo incarnation, sows the seeds of ʽPeggy Sueʼ and seve­ral other classics. Consequently, they do have historical value, but if we are talking historical value rather than pure entertainment, why all the overdubs?

As for the covers, there is even less to add to what has been said before: no matter how many Buddy versions of classic non-Buddy rock'n'roll hits get added to the catalog, there is simply no way they can add anything to the originals. In some difficult, incomprehensible way it may be «fun» to hear how Buddy does ʽShake, Rattle & Rollʼ or ʽBlue Suede Shoesʼ, just to rest assured how deeply integrated he always was with the fearless rockabilly crowd, but that's about it.

The finalized album predictably gets another thumbs down. Throughout the 1960s, Petty would then continue squeezing out «bastardized» releases (such as Holly In The Hills from 1965 and Giant from as late as 1969), but they get progressively more difficult to find on CD and, in any case, have become formally obsolete now that most of the original, undubbed, tapes have been officially released on various compilations of rarities, so we shall spare ourselves the hassle of promoting Petty's questionable understanding of musical ethics and just move on.


  1. This would be on a release after this one, but one Buddy outtake/overdub I can't help but love is "Love Is Strange". Whether the overdubbed or just Buddy and guitar version, I think it beats the original.

  2. Hey George, big fan of your reviews, but you got a few things wrong here.

    First of all, "Love's Made a Fool of You" is not a predecessor to "Not Fade Away". It was actually recorded after "Not Fade Away" was released, and supposedly intended for the Everly Brothers.

    Also, "You're the One" surely did NOT "sow the seeds" of "Peggy Sue", as it was actually a quick recording done at a radio station not long before his tragic death. So it came after "Peggy Sue" and surely did not influence it.