A perfect storm of austerity and studio mastery, Buddy Holly
's small but impressive body of work has had such a huge impact on rock & roll’s evolution that the cover of a 2011 tribute album released nearly 50 years after his death requires only a pair of horn-rimmed glasses to signify its intent. Recorded live in the studio and employing a minimalist’s arsenal of upright bass, drums, and guitar peppered with the occasional blast of saxophone and accordion, Paul Burch
and the WPA Ballclub
deftly handle the 13 tracks like Crickets
in waiting, allowing the universal familiarity of the melodies to guide them, while maintaining the giddy electricity of the material's inception. Opening with a Bayou-kissed rendition of “Rave On,” Burch
and company tear through the remaining 12 cuts with both gusto and grace, all while remaining remarkably true to the source material. Over the years, Holly
's songs have become standards, and while there’s been no shortage of tributes paid to the Lubbock, Texas great, Words of Love: Songs of Buddy Holly
might be the closest anyone’s come to capturing the sweetness and simple, primal magic of the originals.