It's been both a blessing and a curse that Crenshaw was tagged a Buddy Holly clone early on. He hasn't discouraged comparisons, playing Holly in La Bamba in 1987. But Crenshaw does have the same talent for blending infectious melodies with a pop-crooner vocal style.
On his fifth record, Crenshaw lets other songwriters do half the work and delivers some credible covers. The mix is tantalizing and the feel of the album is raucous and uninhibited. The first cut, "You Should've Been There," about getting stood up, is as highly charged as any of Crenshaw's songs. The outside material, such as Richard Thompson's "Valerie" and John Hiatt's "Someplace Where Love Can't Find Me," was chosen well too.
The second side fades, and Crenshaw gets carried away with the Isley Brothers' "Live It Up." Funky, Marshall is not. But he hits more often than he misses. Just as important, Crenshaw may be emerging from the shadow of a certain guy who died in a plane crash 30 years ago. (Warner Bros.)