Come On, Let's Go

by: Ritchie Valens

Considering Valens died about seven months after his first recording session, it's amazing that enough material exists to piece together a three-CD, 62-song box set. It's also amazing that, despite a fair amount of inevitable filler, it's truly a worthwhile collection, recommended to anyone with a deep interest in '50s rock. Besides everything from his two LPs and the In Concert at Pacoima Jr. High set (which was actually only half live, anyway), there're a couple dozen home demos and studio outtakes; these are fragmentary and unpolished compared to the official stuff, but the enormous heart in his singing and guitar playing always shines through. While serious collectors probably already have most or all of this, it's never been packaged so thoroughly and thoughtfully: The 64-page booklet includes a long biographical essay and lots of photos, and a 12-page supplemental insert gives more technical notes about the recordings and session musicians. ~ Richie Unterberger

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