It’s So Easy – Paul McCartney 2011
April 28th, 2011 — In his short-lived but extraordinary life, Buddy Holly left behind a body of work so enthralling, his enduring influence is nearly impossible to overstate. The melodic joy and fierce independent streak at the core of his artistry is profoundly felt on Rave On Buddy Holly, a 19-song collection of indelible Holly covers by a rich assemblage of current musical visionaries and creative kindred spirits. Fantasy/Concord will release Rave On Buddy Holly June 28th, 2011.
Rave On’s striking collection of musicians share Holly’s insurgent rebel spirit and outsider point of view. The artists cross generations and styles, collectively and defiantly embracing Holly’s distinctive rough and tumble inventiveness. Very few songwriters could inspire passionately personal, fearless cover versions from performers such as My Morning Jacket, Cee Lo Green, Justin Townes Earle, The Black Keys, Florence + The Machine, She & Him, Modest Mouse, Paul McCartney, Julian Casablancas, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Fiona Apple and John Brion, Graham Nash, The Detroit Cobras, Kid Rock, John Doe, Karen Elson, Nick Lowe and Jenny O. Which is part of what makes this much more than a mere “tribute album.”
Rave On Buddy Holly steers clear of the reverent re-creations typically found on similar projects; the artists clearly felt free to explore radically new interpretations. Florence + The Machine bring an industrial New Orleans vibe to “Not Fade Away” (with help from Bayou icon Ivan Neville on keys). The Black Keys’ elemental accompaniment touches the emotional core of “Dearest” while Modest Mouse takes “That’ll Be the Day” into truly avant-garde territory. Cee Lo Green’s exquisite vocals, for example, echo among handclaps and percussion on his epic reading of “Baby, You’re So Square.” Paul McCartney’s take on the originally lilting “It’s So Easy” is a raw, propulsive excursion filled with boisterous spoken ad-libs. Lou Reed lays down a blazing “Peggy Sue,” replete with overdriven guitars and loopy keyboards. The romantic underpinnings of Holly’s music are cleverly revealed in Rave On’s multiple male-female pairings: Apple and Brion, Reed, Elson and (husband/producer) Jack White and She & Him.
Known for his work with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson and Todd Haynes, esteemed film-music supervisor Randall Poster was sought out to produce and oversee the project. “As the tracks from various contributors were gathered for the album,” explains Poster “we seemed to be gathering pieces of a complex and original puzzle … that traces back to the roots of rock and roll and shapes so much of the music that followed.”
Poster gives special recognition to producing partner Geyla Robb and her overall influence on Rave On’s exceptional blend of tender toughness. Poster also credits the album’s richness to the various track producers, such as Matt Sweeney, Joe Henry, Jack White and C.C. Adcock.
A true pop pioneer whose astonishing tunes boasted rock ‘n’ roll punch, irresistible hooks and boundary-pushing sonic sweep, Buddy Holly would be 75-years-old on September 7th of this year. Sadly, of course, he died in 1959 at age 22. But Holly’s music never died, and has exerted a profound influence on virtually every part of the pop music soundscape. His sparkling hooks, tender lyrics and elegantly concise compositions set the bar for all the rock, country and pop tunesmiths who followed in his brilliant wake. A bold affirmation that proves his music, on the eve of his 75th birthday, is more relevant than ever, Rave On Buddy Holly tips its collective hat with love and appreciation.
Paul McCartney delivers a different take on the song than what we are used to from him, it’s raw, unpolished, chatty and seems to be very much inspired by his “Fireman” vocal persona. McCartney has sometimes performed the song in concert, and here‘s a more traditional rendition of the song from a concert in Dallas, Texas in 2009. Paul, Linda and Denny also did a version for Denny Laine’s Buddy Holly tribute album “Holly Days” back in the seventies, and McCartney also sang it at a Buddy Holly Week concert in 1979.