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VINE VOICEon 9 September 2008
I first heard Buddy Holly when I was a schoolboy in the late '50s. It may be difficult for today's teenagers to understand his impact, but Buddy changed our lives forever. He looked geeky but was great. He gave us hope and made us dream on. He wrote about our lives in his songs. Some of us got hold of cheap guitars and learned a few chords to play Oh Boy!, Peggy Sue, Not Fade Away and That'll Be The Day mainly trying to impress the girls. OK, well maybe we didn't win 'em over quite so easily, but Buddy provided the soundtrack to our lives for a while. Then unbelievably he was gone. I can remember sitting in the lockers with my pals, before school assembly, when someone came in with the news. We were stunned, devastated. But we had his records. Most of us had little money, so we played his 'singles' and those first two LPs until they were almost white, be we got to know every note. But I digress!

What 1-disc or 2-disc compilation would constitute the ultimate Buddy Holly and The Crickets collection? Well, as they say, it depends what you are looking for. There have been many excellent compilations over the years including more recently, these for example:

Words Of Love: Buddy Holly And The Crickets - a 1-CD compilation (28 tracks) - Polygram TV/ MCA (1993)
The Very Best Of Buddy Holly: 28 Classic Hits - a 1-CD compilation (28 tracks) - Dino (1996)
The Very Best Of Buddy Holly And The Crickets - a 1-CD compilation (36 tracks) - Universal (1999)
The Buddy Holly Story - a 1-CD compilation (12 tracks) - Commercial Marketing (2001)
The Best Of Buddy Holly - a 1-CD compilation (20 tracks) - Universal (2002)
The Best Of Buddy Holly - a 1-CD compilation (20 tracks) - Commercial Marketing (2002)
Buddy Holly Gold - a 2-CD compilation (50 tracks) - Geffen (2005)
The Definitive Buddy Holly - a 1-CD compilation (25 tracks) - Geffen (Australian Import) (2006)

All of these compilations include tracks by Buddy and The Crickets that first appeared on The Chirpin' Crickets album in 1957.

This particular 2-CD collection of 40 tracks running to almost 90 minutes is a very good one indeed. It may not include Peggy Sue, It's So Easy and Not Fade Away, nor others such as True Love Ways, Fools Paradise, Tell Me How, Well All Right and What To Do for that matter. All of these songs do appear on the above-mentioned 50-track Gold collection, as it happens. But there are other such gems here such as Bo Diddley, Love Is Strange, Mailman Bring Me No More Blues, Send Me Some Lovin', That Makes It Tough and Valley Of Tears - none of which are on the Gold CD. Most of the 40 tracks first appeared on the first 5 Buddy Holly albums as below, and/or as 'singles' in the '50s and early '60s.

- from The Chirpin' Crickets (1957) - 6 from the 12 tracks
- from Buddy Holly (1957) - 9 from the 12 tracks
- from That'll Be The Day (1958) - 5 from the 11 tracks
- from Reminiscing (1963) - 6 from the 11 tracks
- from Showcase (1964) - 3 from the 12 tracks

The rest of the tracks in this collection include Early In The Morning, written by Bobby Darin, which was Buddy's last chart hit during his lifetime. It was the first track he cut without The Crickets, after they had gone their separate ways in October 1958. There's also Heartbeat, familiar to half the nation through the long-running TV series, memorably decorated by Tommy Allsup's distinctive guitar sound. Included too are It Doesn't Matter Anymore/ Raining In My Heart, the 2 songs on the 'single' rush-released in the US to coincide with the Winter Dance Party tour. A few days later Buddy died in that fateful plane crash in Iowa with Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper (JP Richardson) and the pilot, Roger Peterson.

Worth noting is the fact that none of the tracks are ruined by those rotten 1984 vocal overdubs by The Picks, which seem to crop up on so many Buddy Holly compilations these days, pushing Buddy's voice further down the mix, and giving a totally false impression of his great music. What you do have is a very modestly-priced, representative collection of many of Buddy's very best recordings. There are no duds to worry about . The useful 8-page accompanying booklet has track details and an informative if brief overview of Buddy's career by music writer Dave McAleer.

Additionally, you could get hold of any missing tracks, according to what you are looking for, by checking out the track listings on the above compilations, and going for the one that best suits your needs. All are currently available on Amazon/ Amazon Market Place at a very modest price. You would probably have a number of duplications but certainly would then have the ultimate - if not the complete - Buddy Holly and The Crickets collection. All for around a tenner.

Oh Boy! Hog Heaven!
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on 15 November 2001
'Influential' is a much-overused term in these days of ceaseless revisionism, but this set shows just why Buddy Holly's music had such an impact at the time and subsequently - it's easy to hear how much he influenced the Beatles more than just about any other artist, for example. Presented in the context of his EP releases (with original sleeve artwork and notes reproduced), these two discs contain most of the hits, and other lesser known gems, spanning pared-down rockabilly, melodic pop, and ballads. There are well-chosen covers and Holly originals from right through his sadly brief career, giving a fairly good overview of the man and his music. In the absence of a more complete box set, this is pretty essential stuff. Buy!
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on 29 December 2001
This two CD set provides the usual hits one would expect to find. But, it also has a bonus track and additional treats:
1) An interview that was conducted by Freeman Hover in 1958
2) An outstanding 44 page booklet with well-written information
3) A generous collection of photos of Buddy (most in monechrome, but a few are full colour) as well as full colour reproductions of the EP collections that have been released not just in the UK, but France and Australia too
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on 27 August 2008
No matter what the other reviewer says, this is a great collection. Just because it is missing songs that revolve around Peggy Sue, doesn't mean it's no good. If you are an avid Buddy Holly fan and you really want a collection with those songs on it then you would be disappointed, but if you are a casual fan like me or someone who already owns Peggy sue anyway then you will enjoy this. A complaint though is that this set comes in a CD case made for 3 CD's when there are only 2. It just takes up potential empty space and it's a waste. The reason I bought this album is because I am a big fan of Eddie Cochran. Eddie paid tribute to Buddy in his song 'Three stars', and I know that they were friends. I had heard a few of Buddy's songs before, but the main motivation for purchasing this album was thanks to Mr. Cochran's influence.
Buddy Holly has a voice unlike any of the other rock n rollers of his time. On some songs his voice is soft and on some it's rough. I don't think his voice sounds the same on any 2 songs. The 'ooh-ooh' thing he does with his voice is also unique. If you didn't know who sung a song and you heard that then you would be certain. His music is also disparate from most of the popular artists from the 5o's as well. There's just something unique about his music. It is diverse; on some songs there are violins/stringed instruments and softer sounds and on some it's just straight up rock n roll. His music is much more pop than the rock n roll of Eddie Cochran and Elvis Presley that I love. The appearance of Holly was also very different . He was a lanky man who wore horn-rimmed glasses. This is certainly not cool compared to Elvis' style. He could never challenge Elvis, but he also had such a different style and feeling to his music.

Most of the songs on this album are around or less than 3 minutes. In fact most are closer to 2. Although they are short, they are effective. These songs were all recorded from 1956-1959, but nearly all sound so clean and fresh. Surely digital remastering can't be that good. The best songs on this album and my favourites are; Heartbeat, which is also the theme song to the British TV series with the same name, Oh boy; a song that that'll stick in your head, Everyday, Raining in my heart, Maybe baby, It doesn't matter anymore, Midnight shift, Bo Diddley, Brown eyed handsome man, Learning the game and You're so square (baby I don`t care). There are different sounds on this album. There are rougher and soft songs. Rough songs are; Ready teddy, Shake rattle and roll; which is really distorted. This needs better remastering! Also Rave on, That makes it tough, learning the game; which has a clever string sound and was solo written by Buddy. Softer songs are; Everyday, Reminiscing, Maybe baby; which I first heard on the film with the same name, Wishing, Take your time, Look at me, Girl on my mind, Love me; which I thought was a cover of Elvis' song, but it's a song written by Buddy which is nowhere near as good, Valley of tears and Send me some lovin'. Songs with violins/ strings are; Love is strange; which is long at just over 3 minutes, Raining in my heart, Crying waiting hoping, Take your time, It doesn't matter anymore and Buddy's final recorded song; Moondreams. These songs sound very different to the 50's music I am used to but they are a nice change.

That'll be the day is probably his most famous song but I definitely wouldn't say it is one of his best. The song Early in the morning sounds similar to Ray Charles' `I got a woman'. Crying hoping waiting has a very similar intro to Learning the game. There are covers in here as well. His cover of Blue suede shoes isn't that special. Elvis Presley's version is obviously the best and Cochran's also sounds much better. Bo Diddley is a cover from the artist with the same name, and it is a good song, well written. Little Richard's `Ready teddy' is another cover. Shake rattle and roll is a song that sounds distorted so you can't work out the lyrics. I recommend Elvis' version. The final cover is Chuck Berry's 'Brown eyed handsome man', which is better than Berry's version in my opinion and is one of the best songs on this compilation.

I think that this collection is well worth purchasing and is a good sum-up of Holly's short but fulfilling career. I would recommend this CD and to everyone else who is interested in buying this collection; do it and you won't regret it.
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on 5 April 2013
Buddy Holly is still one of the great names in rock and roll - and to some extent that's a mystery because his voice isn't especially strong & his solos are frequently mere variations on chords. But he had a vitality & he shook up the business. His LP, released about the time of his tragic death in Feb 1959, was one of the first I bought. I liked Buddy then and I like him now. I played in a band that played a lot of his stuff and it's certainly different when the master's in charge.
This double-disc compilation covers his work very well and is an excellent introduction to those who haven't discovered the man who influenced so many stars who came after him. For myself the only 'disappointing' tracks are some of the ballads (e.g. 'You are my one desire') although even some of those are great (e.g. 'True Love Ways' - hear that on covers & you'll know what I mean).
One interesting feature of this collection is that some tracks are labelled 'with the Crickets' who were his original backing group. However, the rest involved the Picks whom I consider normally 'over-gild' the product - to get what I mean read about McCartney's objections to Phil Spectre's intrusion on later work by the Beatles (and I agree with him!). On many titles the Picks seem to think they have to emulate the Jordanaires (often on Elvis recordings) & the giveaway signals are harmonies by a high tenor. Somebody clearly thought simple chords ALWAYS needed voice - like background music ruining so many films. Of course, the situation is not simple because the 'studio' superimposed the Picks vocals over several of the original Buddy hits. You can hear a lot of this on 'Buddy Holly The Rarities Collection'. However, they didn't really get to work till AFTER Buddy's death. Listen to the 'Reminiscing' album when they're in control.
Buy this CD & see if you can spot the difference. Perhaps you'll agree with me & perhaps you won't.
All said and done this CD is well worth 5 stars, even though there's a lot of great Buddy performances not included on this compilation..
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on 30 September 2007
Missing songs like Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue Got Married, and It's So Easy. Calling this The Ultimate Collection is cheating.
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on 10 December 2013
I've owned this set since it's release in 2001 and have always wondered why it fell short of containing all the songs from Buddy Holly's EPs, rather than just a selection. Additional discs should've been included to complete the compilation as necessary, in my opinion.

For example, two songs are missing from 'Buddy Holly Sings' ('What To Do' & 'That Makes It Tough'). I suppose we should be grateful that the correct Norman Petty overdubbed versions were used.

I think that if an original EP was issued in mono, then songs from that EP should appear in mono here (some don't). It's also disappointing that some tracks (eg 'Modern Don Juan') are featured in fake stereo, which is generally regarded as inferior to mono.

On the plus side though, I've never heard 'Peggy Sue' & 'Listen To Me' sound as clear on any other compilation as they do here.

In summary, it's a nice set but ,unfortunately, doesn't live up to it's name. With more care and attention to detail it could have!
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VINE VOICEon 30 November 2002
This is ultimately the definitive collection of buddy's music which covers the progression of his talented song writing skills throughout his short career. The Rockabilly is electric and the Rock n Roll is wild!
The sound quality of the collection is astounding and documents the best work of one of the most talented singer/song writers of musical history.
There's also a rare interview with Buddy & Jerry Allison (Crickets) from Eddie Cochran's hotel suite at the Albany Hotel, Denver (with Eddie in the background).
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on 17 November 2010
Ever since seeing the Buddy Holly show I wanted a good quality Buddy Holly CD to listen to all his great tracks. This CD is definately just that!

Two CD set at a great price with wonderfull hits from the 50's with good quality audio, I put this onto my iPhone and listen to it all the time, while relaxing, studying or just driving around.

Makes a really good Christmas Present as well for anyone aged 12-70 who likes Rock'n'Roll music!
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on 16 January 2014
What can I say - there'll only ever be one Buddy Holly. I actually bought this as my brother has Alzheimer's so I thought if he heard this it would take him back to the days when he used to go to the dance halls and Buddy Holly's songs would be playing. We had it on over Christmas when he came for lunch and he was singing away so it obviously brought back fond memories.
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