Buddy Holly


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In recent decades, both Reminiscing and Showcase have enjoyed less than stellar reputations among Buddy Holly fans and '50s rock purists, as both albums were made up of the products of producer Norman Petty's posthumous redubbing of Holly's unfinished demos. Apart from the bizarre inclusion of "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie" -- a B-side chosen by Petty for the single of the title track -- Reminiscing is a very solid album, and was essential to the maintaining of Holly's memory, reaching number three in a six-month run on the U.K. charts in 1963; one can just about lay odds that various members of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were among the listeners of this album or its successor. Showcase, which sold just about as well, is a slightly less consistent record overall, but has some killer rock & roll tracks, including versions of "Rock Around With Ollie Vee," "Shake, Rattle and Roll," and "Blue Suede Shoes," plus the glittering acoustic number "You're the One" (with Waylon Jennings providing the handclaps). Moreover, even as a two-LP on one CD release, it's rather bite-sized at 48 minutes of music -- Holly, like more rock & rollers of his day, made his points quickly. Despite their shortcomings as authentic documents of what Holly might have done with the songs, these are fun albums and fit together perfectly, as enjoyable accounts (if not, for obvious reasons, as revealing) of the talent involved as any LPs that Elvis Presley or Chuck Berry ever released. The fall 2000 release also benefits from state-of-the-art sound and superb annotation by John Tobler.

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