Buddy Holly

Love Songs

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This K-Tel affair repackages the same 1984 John and Bill Pickering overdubs as the 1999 Charly release Buddy Holly & the Picks, focusing this time on love songs (but no "Peggy Sue"). So while it really is Buddy Holly singing on standouts like "Raining in My Heart," "True Love Ways," and "Heartbeat," his vintage master recordings have been augmented with the barber shop-style backing vocals of the Picks. Sure, the vocal group sang backup on The Chirping Crickets, among other Holly albums of the '50s; but here their harmonies seem almost to take up too much space. In the end, they unwittingly crowd out Holly, himself, suggesting that exhuming these sessions from the vault and tweaking them -- without the aid of the original producer -- might not, in retrospect, have been the best idea. Some listeners may enjoy the addition of the Picks' talented harmonies. But it's likely that Holly purists will smell something fishy. Besides, it's the spare, almost introspective singing and playing of Holly that made much of his music so powerful and so intimate. Busying it up with cooing backup vocals just complicates matters, and even makes it hard to concentrate on Holly, himself.

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