In his lifetime, Buddy Holly had only released three studio albums, two as a solo artist and one as the member of The Crickets. He left some unreleased songs, including some unfinished studio tracks and the recordings he made personally using the tape he bought two months prior to his death. The original, raw, recordings of the tapes later are commonly known as “The Apartment Tapes.”
“Dearest” is one of the tracks in “The Apartment Tapes” and according to this site, it was recorded sometime between January 1-19, 1959. The good thing about the tracks in those tapes is the intimacy between Buddy Holly and the songs he sang. There was no rush or pressure from studio schedule or producer or other musician. He simply did what he could do best: singing the music he loved, albeit it was not always him who wrote it. “Dearest” was written by Bob Gibson, Ellas “Bo Diddley” McDaniel, Prentice Herman Polk, Jr. and in “The Apartment Tapes” Buddy Holly recorded two versions of that song: with acoustic guitar and the other with electric guitar. An overdubbed version was released as part of a posthumous album, Giant. Yes, the overdubbed result is great and all, but to get the true intensity and romance of the song, you absolutely have to listen to Buddy Holly’s original, raw records.
In 2011, a tribute album was released under the title Rave On Buddy Holly. Various artists and bands contribute in this compilation, including Sir Paul McCartney, Patti Smith, Fiona Apple, Kid Rock, and The Black Keys. The last mentioned is a rock band from Ohio that consists of Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums). In this tribute album, that duo performs the best cover version (yet) of Dearest. Their rearrangement of the song is, as described by Jeff Gonick of Paste magazine, "beautifully minimalist." It doesn’t lose the original intensity and the ambience gives a remarkable sense of longing. Without overly dressing-up the original version, The Black Keys change the tone and atmosphere entirely, and in a very good way. This track is nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 54th Grammy Awards (2012).
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