Desecration – Sacrilege

Feb 2019 Desecration – Sacrilege

WHILE the recently released Buddy Holly CD album ‘ TRUE LOVE WAYS – BUDDY HOLLY & THE ROYAL PHILHARMON- IC ORCHESTRA has been a success in the UK pop charts, die-hard Holly fans found the album’s concept hard to swallow.

Some might say its success helped to keep Holly’s name and music alive, which maybe true, especially with the album’s recent chart placings.

Others say the whole project was futile, even a desecration.

Following on from the Elvis, Roy Orbison and Billy Fury albums with the Royal Philhar-monic Orchestra, the songs of Buddy Holly were ‘orchestrated’ with the results being – speaking as a long-time Holly fan – quite simply horrendous.

With the essence of the origi-nal recordings extracted and replaced with new arrangements it just sounded alien: I mean – “Peggy Sue“, with strings(?) Back in the early 60s Buddy’s ‘Apart-ment Tapes’, which featured just him with acoustic guitar accompaniment, were overdubbed by Buddy’s record-ing manager Nor-man Petty with the Fireballs providing the backing which worked quite well and managed to maintain some of the Holly feel depending, of course, on individu-al opinions.

But this latest album ends up glossing over what is the essence of Buddy’s music. The publicity that goes with this project claims ‘this is how Buddy would’ve liked to hear it’ but I think that’s just sales-talk, and I wonder what Buddy would have really thought of these attempts to ‘up-date’ his songs? With other tracks like Oh Boy! embellished with strings, simply goes against the song’s rock’n’roll spirit.

But worse still, the drumming of Jerry Allison has been faded out and overdubbed with more drums. Surely this is a ‘desecra-tion’ of what is truly as much a part of the song as what Buddy played on it?

The album’s concept also dis-misses the major contribution made by the musical and technical know-how of Norman Petty. Also Dick Jacob’s string-arrangements on Buddy’s final recordings such as True Love Ways and It Doesn’t Matter Any- more were sublime, so why try to do them again?

The consensus of opinion among Holly fans around the world have likened the album to putting lip-stick and eye-shadow on the Mona Lisa which would, of course, be sacrilege. I’ll stick with the origi-nal versions and keep the fl ame burning in my own way…

Apparently, the RPO had set their sights on The Everly Brothers for their next project, but thankfully haven’t been given permission. Therefore I believe the next project with feature the music of Bob Marley: the mind boggles.