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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just essential
This is the only album released by the Crickets in Buddy Holly's lifetime, though a solo album, Buddy Holly, was released in 1958, and a compilation of earlier material recorded by Buddy and the Three Tunes, That'll Be The Day, came out a couple of months later. Though these days the billing Buddy Holly And The Crickets is frequently used and indeed this album was...
Published on 12 Aug 2007 by Lozarithm

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent music - awful mastering quality
I had high hopes for this reissue, given some of the gushing reviews, one even mentioning the "excellent quality of the digital remastering" so I took the plunge - it's not as if it's expensive anyway.

Let me say in no uncertain terms: the quality of the remastering is awful. It has that all-too-typical loud, compressed, bright, brittle quality that so many...
Published on 5 April 2011 by John Smith


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just essential, 12 Aug 2007
By 
Lozarithm (Wilts, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Chirping Crickets (Audio CD)
This is the only album released by the Crickets in Buddy Holly's lifetime, though a solo album, Buddy Holly, was released in 1958, and a compilation of earlier material recorded by Buddy and the Three Tunes, That'll Be The Day, came out a couple of months later. Though these days the billing Buddy Holly And The Crickets is frequently used and indeed this album was re-released in 1962 with that title, this is historical revision. Buddy had a solo career on Coral whilst also being lead singer in the Crickets on Brunswick (in the UK both were on Coral).

The "Chirping" Crickets is an obvious five-star album. As well as hit singles Oh, Boy!, Maybe Baby, That'll Be The Day (the first single), and their equally memorable B-sides Not Fade Away, Tell Me How and I'm Looking For Someone To Love, there are six other exclusive tracks, all lovingly crafted at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis NM or put down in an Officer's Club at an air force base in Oklahoma City in between dates on their first tour, in order to complete the album on time, with backing vocals added back in Clovis by the Picks.

Buddy Holly's original compositions are augmented by a number of telling covers, and in fact Oh, Boy! was not an original, having previously been recorded by Sonny West. The Crickets' version of Chuck Willis's It's Too Late is surely the definitive version. Two songs were co-written by Roy Orbison, who was yet to find success as a performer, including the beautiful An Empty Cup (A Broken Date). It was to be their only album because Buddy left the group in autumn 1958 and, as we all know, 3rd February 1959 became "the day the music died", but what a classic album it is.

This 2004 edition is clearly the one to go for because apart from the excellent digitally re-mastered sound by Erick Labson, it mops up as bonus tracks the two 1958 Crickets singles, Think It Over/Fool's Paradise and It's So Easy/Lonesome Tears.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 November 1957 to 27 November 2007. 50 Years On and His Stunning Debut Album Still Shines!, 24 Nov 2007
By 
Mark Barry (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Chirping Crickets (Audio CD)
A full half century ago, "The Chirping Crickets" by The Crickets was released in the USA on Brunswick Records (BL 54038) and it stands to this day as one of the great debuts of all time. (It was released March 1958 in the UK on Vogue Coral LVA 9081). Holly had had several 7" single releases on Decca throughout 1956 and 1957, but this was his first album proper. His group `The Crickets' (in a not-very-Rock'n'Roll manner) are credited on the back of the album sleeve as a `Vocal Group With Orchestra'! Yikes!!

This 2004 Universal CD reissue gives us all 12-tracks of the original Mono album remastered to gorgeous sound quality from the 1st generation master tapes by Erick Labson and then tags on 4 bonus tracks at the end. The extra tracks are the A&B sides of two singles in and around the release of the album. So this allows the listener to sequence The Crickets' first five US 7" singles as follows (all featuring Buddy Holly):

1. That'll Be The Day/I'm Looking For Someone To Love (Brunswick 55009, 1957)
2. Oh, Boy!/Not Fade Away (Brunswick 55035, 1957)
3. Maybe Baby/It's Too Late (Brunswick 55053, 1957)
4. Think It Over/Fool's Paradise (Non-Album A&B sides) (Brunswick 55072, 1958)
5. It's So Easy/Lonesome Tears (Non-Album A&B sides) (Brunswick 55094, 1958)

(Note: the version of "That'll Be The Day" put out on a Decca 7" single in June 1957 credited to Buddy Holly as a solo artist is different to the version featured on The Crickets album above. The 1st issue is more rockabilly and is rarely heard above the more familiar re-issued version. The song only became a hit second time around - a number 1).

The albums' iconic colour shot of the Lubbock young bucks is reproduced in gorgeous colour on the front page of the booklet with the liner notes of the rear sleeve on the last page. The other 12 pages are given over to a brief history of the album, discography information and re-issue production credits. Very tastefully done. Another nice touch is that beneath the see-through tray holding the CD is a gorgeous reproduction of the original album's chocolate brown label (an original of the album is $800 + if you can find one!).

There were only two albums really in his short but mighty career, this his debut, followed quickly by his first proper solo album, "Buddy Holly" (released in Feb 1958 just one year prior to his untimely death in February 1959 at only 22). Universal have re-issued both of these and not the subsequent compilation albums that made up all of his 60's output (see my review of "Buddy Holly" also). Listening to them again, you're struck even now by the brilliance of his song writing - and what a crime it was that the world was robbed of him at such a young age. There's a classy feel to these CD reissues and I recommend both albums without hesitation.

PS: A few words on the "ROCK 'N' ROLL 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION" Series in general:
It should also be noted that this issue is part of the above named series issued in 2004 by Universal. 'Rock 'N' Roll 50th Anniversary Edition' is a secondary series title and is displayed vertically on the side inlay beneath the see-through tray of each release, but unfortunately, if you try to search the Amazon database for ANY titles under this moniker, it doesn't recognize the 'name' at all.

For those interested in a visual, I've placed a full list of all seven titles in LISTMANIA called "Rock 'N' Roll 50th Anniversary Edition Series". The other six titles are:

1. "Buddy Holly" by BUDDY HOLLY (1958 1st solo LP on Coral, see REVIEW)
2. "Rock Around The Clock" by BILL HALEY & HIS COMETS (ground-breaking 1956 LP, see REVIEW)
2. "After School Session" by CHUCK BERRY (1958 Chess debut LP, see REVIEW)
3. "St. Louis To Liverpool" by CHUCK BERRY (1964 STEREO LP on Chess, see REVIEW)
4. "Bo Diddley Is A Gunslinger" by BO DIDDLEY (1960 STEREO Chess LP, see REVIEW)
5. "Rock, Rock, Rock! - Original Soundtrack" by VARIOUS (Chuck Berry, The Flamingos and The Moonglows) (1956 Chess 'Rock'n'Roll Movie Soundtrack LP, see REVIEW)

I bought all 7 of these titles and I can't recommend them enough - each album remastered to superb sound quality, colour artwork lovingly restored and each bolstered up with 3 or 4 relevant single releases from the time (some previously unreleased). Fans of Haley, Holly, The Crickets, Berry, Diddley and Rock'n'Roll in general should quickly acquire all of these exemplary CDs. They make for the best basis of a collection in a minefield of lesser compilations. Enjoy!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A milestone; a classic - much loved much covered., 19 April 2007
This review is from: The Chirping Crickets (Audio CD)
It would be hard to justify giving such a classic album anything less than 5 stars. Recorded back in 1957 this album was the only album to feature Buddy Holly that was released during his lifetime and contains many familiar and numerously covered tracks. The original album was actually less than half an hour in playing total, although this release with the usual bonus tracks pushes it to a length that is designed to give the modern buyer some feeling of satisfaction of value for money I suspect.

Interesting points to note are the songwriting credits. The songwriter 'Charles Hardin' on 'Not Fade Away' is in fact Buddy Holly himself - his real name being Charles Hardin Holley. Roy Orbison has a couple of credits before he became really established as an artist in his own right. Shorty Long, Chuck Willis and Lloyd Price all black artists show the importance of southern black music to this band which if you believe the story line of the film version of Holly's life led to them being erroneously booked at the Harlem Apollo as a black act - eventually winning over the audience there.

Minor criticism - Amazon lists this as Buddy Holly. It should be simply the Crickets. Historically this album didn't chart at the time either in the UK or US; some have led to believe this to be because Buddy Holly wasn't separately credited at the time.

Can't go wrong with this one.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC !, 24 Jan 2005
This review is from: The Chirping Crickets (Audio CD)
Considering this was released almost 50 years ago this album sounds fantastic.Digitally remastered by Erick Labson, the man has done Buddy Holly and The Crickets proud with this great realise.BUY AND ENJOY.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buddy Holly's first great album, 18 Oct 2009
By 
N. Watts "vinyl addict" (west wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Chirping Crickets (Audio CD)
1950's rock and roll at it's very best.A defining album for a defining era.You will not be dissapointed if you buy this.
I still have the original vinyl version and this is just great with the extra tracks.
Keep rockin'!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clean, crisp, original, 29 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Chirping Crickets (Audio CD)
"The Chirping Crickets" was the only LP to feature Buddy Holly that was released during his lifetime. Thank God it was!

From the very beginning of the opening track, the clean, bell-like tone of the guitars in this album comes through and remains as a feature throughout the rest of the recording. Check out the intro to "That'll Be The Day," the difficulty of which is mated to the beautiful tone of the guitar to produce one of the greatest moments in rock and roll history.

The album is marked by good changes in tempo. It is not out and out pace, nor is it all slow rocking. And it is here perhaps, that we see the command that Holly and his fellows had of the genre in its infancy.

A milestone, therefore. Forget the short running time, and recognise this for what it is: a keystone in the building of rock and roll.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent music - awful mastering quality, 5 April 2011
This review is from: The Chirping Crickets (Audio CD)
I had high hopes for this reissue, given some of the gushing reviews, one even mentioning the "excellent quality of the digital remastering" so I took the plunge - it's not as if it's expensive anyway.

Let me say in no uncertain terms: the quality of the remastering is awful. It has that all-too-typical loud, compressed, bright, brittle quality that so many non-audiophile remasters have. I just can't subject my ears to this - I have so many more dynamic, smoother, warmer sounding issues of all of these tracks that this issue is completely redundant. It's gone in the bin.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 20 May 2011
By 
Dangerous Dave (Berkhamsted, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Chirping Crickets (Audio CD)
"The Chirping Crickets" was the first album release from Buddy Holly. "Buddy Holly" was the second.

Many would say that Buddy Holly was the first white genius in rock and roll. I say "white" because there were already several black artists in the field, Muddy Waters, Ray Charles and Fats Domino for starters and the term "genius" might be applicable to any one of them.

This album presents the first evidence in support of such claims. I have commented elsewhere (slightly tongue in cheek), on the number of "firsts" that you can attribute to it - see my review of "Buddy Holly: The First Three Albums" - but as always, it's the music that matters.

The "Chirping Crickets" followed the same pattern as the majority of popular releases at the time; a number of hits, or releases, plus B-sides together with some filler in order to bulk it out to the expected length (usually 12 tracks). This one was no different. In addition, Norman Petty, Holly's manager and producer, put what he and probably the boys, thought were the two strongest tracks at the start of each of the two original vinyl sides. "Oh Boy" (hit no. 3) on side 1, and, "That'll be the Day" (hit no. 1) on side 2. They may well have been right.

"That'll be the Day" was the one that broke big for Buddy and the Crickets, initially in the US but the UK succumbed not long after (and the UK continued to have a love affair with Buddy even when he was languishing in the US). The record announced itself with a bluesy descending phrase from Buddy's Strat, before moving into a medium tempo bouncy item with background vocals present (this being a relatively new feature for Holly records). Like many of Buddy's records, the words were suggestive of an argument or sometimes, friction between the protagonist and his lady but the mood of the music was optimistic with plenty of punchy guitar fills and a great break (from the man himself, of course). This one record went quite some way to defining the Buddy Holly sound. The hiccupy vocal hadn't really developed yet but came to prominence on "Peggy Sue", the second single (in the UK) which is on the eponymous album.

This number had undoubtedly been subjected to a lot of polishing by Buddy and the boys. An earlier version from the brief (and generally unsatisfactory) sessions in Nashville is distinctly inferior. A combination of Buddy, the other musicans and Norman Petty was definitely clicking. This was the first of many such fine results.

"Oh Boy" was more uptempo, euphoric even. It was almost rockabilly but without the usual rockabilly traits i.e. echo, slap bass, yells - the continued background vocals also separated this one from the rockabilly format. Pure joy, is one way of defining this performance. It was written by Sonny West and Bill Tilghman, local good old boys, but Holly makes it sound his own. The backing vocals are a feature. They continue through the guitar break in a kind of doowop manner. This use of backing vocals was a common theme on the records issued under the Crickets name while those issued under the Buddy Holly name were usually without such a backing. This separation was totally artifical; the same people were used for both series though extra instrumentalists e.g. Vi Petty, were sometimes used for the Holly series. Later in Holly's short career these apparent differences disappeared. After the first few numbers a separate vocal group, initially the Picks, was employed for the vocal overdubbing.

"I'm looking for someone to love" which was the flip to the "That'll be the Day" single is also pretty strong. It's basically a 12 bar blues like "Oh Boy", and has a sound which verges on rockabilly but isn't - there's another great break plus the now expected vocals.

"Tell me How" and "Maybe Baby" each have a broadly similar chord pattern with verses ending in the chord sequence A D A E. I would note that Buddy played most of his songs in the key of A, often using only three chords hence making life easy for budding guitar heroes to play along. I'd be willing to bet that Macca, Keef, Beck and the like honed their chops on this stuff. "Tell me how" is the better of the pair. Adrenaline rush stuff (see also "Buddy Holly" review) - could almost be punky if it were a bit more discordant. Few of these tracks go beyond 2 minutes in length so the listener is usually left wanting more. Lyrically, there's that doubt again in the relationship leaving a kind of bitter sweet anomaly between the music and the message. It's pretty likely that much of this is directly from Buddy's own experience given the first person narrative. I should add that the listed writers of these songs are semi-fictional. Holly invariably supplied the music sometimes with a bit of help from one or two of the others. He also supplied almost all of the lyrics. Petty's name should not be present on most of them, but this was what producers/a&r managers did in the bad old days. In reality Holly wrote these songs, as indeed he wrote many of the songs issued under the Crickets or Buddy Holly name.

Sticking with tracks written by Holly (though in this case under the pseudonym "Hardin"), "Not Fade Away" is an absolute stunner. It's highly unusual; I don't think the world had heard anything like it before. Widely regarded as a Bo Diddley style number and the Rolling Stones rather confirmed this correlation with their version, in fact the rhythm on this is far more subtle than any Diddley number I've ever heard. It's not as if the boys were unaware of the Diddley sound, they had already been featuring the song "Bo Diddley" in the authentic manner in their live shows. Jerry Allison, on cardboard box rather than drums, is excellent on this one. Buddy's high pitched vocal really sticks with you.

There are a couple of numbers from the pen of the young Roy Orbison who, of course, also came from Texas. The first a moody ballad called "An Empty Cup, a broken date" was recorded by Orby at Petty's Clovis studio before the man went to Sun Records, i.e. way before the hits. The lyrics hint at the Big O's later semi-suicidal masterpieces but the melody is understated rather than sweeping. The other Orby number was written with Petty (?) and Peanuts Wilson, a minor rocker. It formed the flip to Wilson's "Cast Iron Arm" single. It's medium tempo and upbeat with rather vacuous words but with a melody that carrys all before it.

"It's too late" and "Send me some loving" are covers of songs from black artists, Chuck Willis and Little Richard, respectively. The Willis number was highly obscure at the time - Willis was one of those guys who were defining soul before anyone else had heard of it. He died early so didn't really reap the benefits. He had hits on the US R&B charts but very little ever came out in the UK. This number is slow and intense, roughly like REM's "Everybody hurts". An unusual one for Holly to choose but I'd say he was up to the challenge. The stop time breaks add to the atmosphere. Jerry Allison stars again on the drum kit. "Send me some Loving" was originally a slowie from Little Richard featuring his full range of vocal swoops and ascents. For anyone who's heard of the genre it's effectively swamp-pop and is based heavily on a number from Bobby Charles (but I have to add that Richard knocks Charles into oblivion in the vocal stakes). Unfortunately I don't see Buddy as a real competitor either but he has a damn good try with lots of melisma; he'd obviously studied Richard's vocal in quite some depth. I still like this track. I would applaud Holly for these covers of black music and they're both well outside the norm for rock and roll, black or white.

The original closer, "Rock me Baby", a rocker, is another goodie. There's a nice riff going on in this one with strong vocals and guitar. Another interesting rythym - could there be some latin in there? Would have been a good single.

Four tracks have been added to the original album. All are of a high standard, being A and B sides of a sightly later period. "It's so Easy" is possibly the highlight of this batch.

The fact that I've lived with this stuff for donkey's years is probably rather apparent. Undoubtedly I'm totally biased if it came to any objective evaluation. But.........

I don't call Buddy a genius just because of his vocal skills but he did introduce a level of vulnerability and complexity at a time when white rock'n'roll was largely sexual braggadocio from alpha males like Presley and Lee Lewis. Also not just for his splendid guitar skills though I would steal Chuck Berry's words, and tell you that "He could play a guitar just like ringing a bell". Also not just for that incredible stream of high quality songs within such a short timeframe. Only the young Bobby Dylan in his early New York phase could match that frequency of production of fine songs. No, I do so because Buddy virtually invented the rock group. The sleeve for this album stated, "Vocal group with Orchestra" and its follow up, "Vocal with Instrumental Accompaniment". This was what happened in those days. There was a lead singer, who interpreted material that had been selected from him/her, backed by a band or orchestra. The Crickets changed all that - they did start out as interpreters but on this album, direct traces of rockabilly and country have disappeared. They`re copying no one. The Beatles (and most of the Mersey groups) consisted of two guitars, bass and drums with shared lead vocals usually with vocal backing from themselves. They started as interpreters of US rock'n'roll and rhythm and blues but very soon moved on to create their own material.

I rest my case. But does it matter? The music still lives as Don McLean noted in his excellent tribute to the man. Just get this stuff and really listen to it.
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