• Cream of The Crate - Record #27: Buddy Holly

      0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
      “Hope your darn ole plane crashes.” [Waylon Jennings!]

      This is number twenty seven in the series of albums I'm featuring as part of an on-going retrospective of vinyl albums in my personal collection. The series is called, "Cream of The Crate", and they represent vinyl albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because their is something unique about the group or the music.

      No matter who you are, if you are a collector of contemporary music or just a early Rock and Roll, there must be a place in your collection and your heart
      for Buddy Holly!

      I actually have a few Buddy Holly albums in my collection but this one steps up because of the comprehensive list of tracks on it. Buddy Holly - A Rock and Roll Collection is variously identified as being released in 1972 and 1977, it may be a matter of which release version. There are no release dates on the album or cover. It is a gate fold cover with two LP's, and it has 21 tracks on it and was released on the MCA Label (MAPS 6140).

      Front Cover

      Rear Cover

      Inside cover

      Charles Hardin Holley was born on September 7, 1936, Lubbock, Texas, to Lawrence Odell and Ella Pauline (Drake) Holley. His family always called Holly “Buddy”.

      The story is told that he met up with Bob Montgomery in 1952 whilst attending Hutchinson Junior High. At 16 years of age and heavily influenced by ‘Bluegrass’ music, he discovered that he and Bob shared similar tastes and they teamed up as a duo, called
      Buddy and Bob. Performing at local clubs and High School talent Shows, they experienced modest success, but when they performed on a local radio station KDAV Sunday broadcast that made them a top local act, for Buddy it was just another element that drove him passionately toward a full on musical career.

      The story of Buddy Holly is so well known and so well documented. He wrote his own material; used the recording studio for double tracking and other advanced techniques; popularized the two guitars, bass, and drums lineup; and recorded a catalog of songs that continue to be covered: “Not Fade Away” “Rave On,” “That’ll Be the Day,” as examples of the many. His playful, mock-ingenuous singing, with slides between falsetto and regular voice and a trademark “hiccup,” has been a major influence on Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, the Stones, and numerous imitators.

      And so it was that just over 54 years ago, on February 3, 1959, that the chartered plane carrying singers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, fell out of the sky and rock ‘n’ roll was forever changed. Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death, critic Bruce Eder described Buddy as “the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.” His works and innovations were copied by his contemporaries and later musicians,
      and he exerted a profound influence on popular music.

      Buddy in London, 1958 – one of the 1st R&R shows in England, and in the audience were a young John Lennon & Paul McCartney

      Time to look at the tracks on this album!


      Side 1.
      1. Rave On
      2. Tell Me How
      3. Peggy Sue Got Married
      4. Slipin' And Slidin'
      5. Oh Boy!
      6. Not fade Away

      Side 2.
      1. Bo Diddley
      2. What To Do
      3. Heartbeat
      4. Well All Right
      5. Words Of Love
      6. Love's Made A Fool Of You

      Side 3.
      1. Reminiscing
      2. Lonesome Tears
      3. Listen To Me
      4. Maybe Baby
      5. Down The Line
      6. That'll Be The Day

      Side 4.
      1. Sue
      2. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
      3. You're So Square
      4. Crying, Waiting, Hoping

      5. Ready Teddy
      6. It Doesn't matter Anymore

      It is simply impossible to criticise the music. We can consider the playing, the composition and the vocal delivery as being close to cutting edge for its time. Buddy and the Crickets were the consummate performers. The Crickets orginally consisted of drummer Jerry Allison, bassist Joe Mauldin, and rhythm guitarist Nikki Sullivan.

      Yet when it comes to this album, there is one criticism I will make. It was produced in 'Simulated Stereo'! Why? The original mono recordings have a unique sound, and to me it's like colourising a movie, or rebuilding the Sphinx to make it like new! The mono sound of the Holly material is part of his sound and I wish they had left it alone!

      Buddy was a one-man hit machine way before the music moguls thought of (trying to) create such creatures. His music is so alive even over 50 years later he delivers it in a fresh, exciting way that still captures the listeners ears today. Is it any wonder that groups and artists raced to use his music, whether it was Bo Diddley (who also made very popular the 'Diddley Beat' which is so taken from Buddy and the Crickets, to the Stones, who did a very passable version of "Not Fade Away"

      Not Fade Away

      Buddy Holly and The Crickets

      His delivery is immaculate, and his voice is immediately recogniseable, especially because of that upward lilt he was able to so easily get. "Maybe Baby" is a most excellent example of this.

      Maybe Baby

      He recorded a plethora of tracks, and what makes it hard to determine the exact number is that he released them under several names. It is officially recorded that he wrote 40 tracks himself, not a bad effort for one who was only alive for such a short time. it is also interesting to note that only three albums were released while he was alive! These were:
      The Chirping Crickets - 1957 - Brunswick 54038
      Buddy Holly - 1958 - Coral 57210
      That'll Be The Day - 1958 - Decca 8707

      He took the same care recording other peoples compositions as he did his own, and one that has always been a favourite with me is, "
      It Doesn't matter Anymore", written by songwriter and singer Paul Ankar. There are some Holly officianadoes who dismiss this side of Buddy Holly. This is a track that is typical of the 'studio production' side to his work. Yes that straight Buddy and the Crickets music is wonderful, and in this track we have a full arrangement with dominant strings, and in fact, no Crickets. But it is hard to dismiss it as it is really a wonderful 'love song' while not being another example of the mushy and overproduced pap, which was becoming the dominant sound at the end of the fifties as the music producers tried to 'emasculate' the growing Rock and Roll music scene.

      It is a most beautifully delivered track!

      It Doesn't Matter Anymore

      But in case you think that
      Buddy wasn't capable of delivering gutsy and pumpin' R&R, just check out "Ready Teddy"

      Reddy Teddy

      Buddy's tragic death in itself was a tragedy of monumental proportions, and he died all too soon. He was the brightest rising star on the music horizon, and it all seemed to be there, ready to take. His death has been told on screen, stage and, in Don McLean's "American Pie". His last performance was at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on February 2, 1959. He couldn't wait to get out of town and to the next gig, and because inclement weather making the bus trip near impossible, Holly chartered a small airplane to take him to the next stop on the tour.

      The last known picture of Buddy

      Holly, Richie Valens and 'The Big Bopper (J.P Richardson) and the pilot Roger Rogerson were killed en route to Moorhead, Minnesota, when their plane crashed soon after taking off from nearby Mason City in the early morning hours of February 3. There was a snowstorm, and the pilot was not qualified to fly by instruments only. Bandmate Waylon Jennings, had given up his seat on the plane, causing Holly to jokingly tell Jennings, "I hope your ol' bus freezes up!" Jennings shot back facetiously, "Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes!" It was a statement that would haunt Jennings for decades.

      No one even heard the crash!

      The bodies lay in the blowing snow through the night...... February indeed made us shiver, but it was more than the cold of February that third day of the month in 1959. It was the shiver of a greater, sometimes senseless, reality invading our sheltered, partying, teenaged life of the 50's. And so, in many ways the music really did die! Yet Buddy and his music will continue to live on forever in the hearts of the young and young at heart.

      A picture from that terrible crash scene

      In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Holly #13 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

      Once again, like many fabulous artists of the 50's, there are so few pieces of live footage. Here are three of the best.

      Peggy Sue

      That'll Be The Day

      Oh Boy

      Previous Cream of The Crate Albums

      #1 – Howling Wolf: Real Folk Blues

      #2 – Otis Redding: Otis Blue/ Otis Redding Sings Soul

      #3 – Dr John The Night Tripper: Gris Gris

      #4 – Spectrum: ROYGBIV

      #5 – Son House: The Real Delta Blues

      #6 – Cruisin ‘61

      #7 – Live At The Station Hotel

      #8 – Crosby, Stills Nash & Young: Déjà Vu

      #9 – Moon Mullican: Rock it to the Moon

      #10 – Billy Thorpe: Time Traveller

      #11 – Bobby and Laurie: Cum Sum Ambulant (Hitch Hiker)

      #12 – Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland

      #13 – The Beatles: The Beatles Collection

      #14 – Johnny O’Keefe: 20th Anniversary Album

      #15 – Jimmy Cliff (and others): The harder They Come (The Soundtrack from the movie by the same name)

      #16 – Frank Zappa: Roxy and Elsewhere

      #17 – Junior Walker & The All Stars: Roadrunner

      #18 - The Moonglows, Flamingos & The Orioles: Jump

      #19 - King Federal - Rockabillys: Various Artists

      #20 - Max Merritt and The Meteors: Max Merritt & The Meteors

      #21 - Planet Gong: Camembert Electrique

      # 22 - Earth, Wind & Fire: Head To The Sky

      #23 - Ellen McIlwaine: We The People

      #24 - The Easybeats: Absolute Anthology

      #25 - Rainbow Generator: Dance Of The Spheres

      #26 - Martha and the Vandellas: Greatest Hits