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Bobby Vee Sings Buddy Holly

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Album Review

Bobby Vee's debut album was, with the exception of the surprise hit "Devil or Angel" (originally a B-side that got flipped by one DJ and gave Vee the hit that resulted in the renewal of his contract and the recording of this LP), a collection of covers selected by his producer, Snuff Garrett. It's a classic example of the teen pop that pretty much supplanted rock & roll at the very tail end of the 1960s, with the Johnny Mann Singers a little too much in evidence along with a string section (with a band mostly borrowed from Little Richard hanging back), and the arrangements a little too close to the originals. What makes it worth hearing as slightly more than a curio of its period is Vee's singing, which is amazingly good on material to which he cannot always have resonated personally. It was likely during the recording of this album that Garrett realized just how professional the young artist was, as Vee gave 100 percent whether he was covering Sam Cooke or the McGuire Sisters (albeit covering their rendition of the Harvey Fuqua-authored "Sincerely," so it was sort of cool). Superficially, this album is as tame as anything of its era, apart from "Devil or Angel," but as a showcase for Vee's most mature sound, and his range beyond rock & roll, it's worth hearing as an appendix to his hits, and is a better album than 99 percent of his competitors could have delivered, even if it isn't exactly a rock & roll classic. And while his version of "You Send Me" is nothing great, his rendition of "It's All in the Game" does have a compelling intensity and moodiness that make it stand out.

Biography

Born: 30 April 1943 in Fargo, ND

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

He launched his career as a fill-in for the recently deceased Buddy Holly, Bobby Vee scored several pop hits during the early '60s, that notorious period of popular music sandwiched between the birth of rock & roll and the rise of the British Invasion. Though a few of his singles -- "Rubber Ball," for one -- were as innocuous as anything else from the era, Vee had a knack for infectious Brill Building pop, thanks to his ebullient voice as well as the cadre of songwriters standing behind him. Born...
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Bobby Vee Sings Buddy Holly, Bobby Vee
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