'57-'59 The Rarities Collection

Buddy Holly

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'57-'59 The Rarities Collection Review

by William Ruhlmann

Rock & roll fans no doubt recognize the name Buddy Holly, but who, they may ask, are the Picks, given equal billing on this album? The answer is that the Picks are a vocal trio consisting of brothers John and Bill Pickering and Bob Lapham, who sang backup vocals on some of Holly's recordings of the 1950s, notably on the album The Chirping Crickets. But those are not the recordings contained here. Rather, they are master recordings of Holly's to which the Picks overdubbed their background vocals in 1984. After his death in 1959, Holly's recordings, some of them unfinished and unissued, were augmented by overdubs handled by his producer, Norman Petty, and played by such musicians as the Fireballs. But by the 1970s, when Holly enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, such posthumous re-recording was frowned upon, so it's surprising that it would be attempted again in the 1980s, even by singers with some claim to know Holly's and Petty's intentions. There's nothing wrong with the vocals; it's just that they're not necessary, and most Holly fans will prefer the unadorned tracks Holly left behind. Also, you have to look for the asterisks on the song list on the back of the CD to notice that Holly doesn't appear at all on the final four tracks, which feature the Picks exclusively and include "Buddy Holly Not Fade Away Tribute."

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