This CD is another reissue of the wonderful 1957 'Chirping' Crickets album which featured Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin and Niki Sullivan. It is issued here under just Buddy's name rather than that of The Crickets. The original tracks are used, which is something to be thankful for I suppose, and the overall sound quality is good. No additional tracks have been included, so the 12 tracks therefore run to just under 26 minutes.
The first thing you notice is that the cover photo does not feature Buddy at all, let alone The Crickets, but is of the US Holly tribute artist John Mueller. This really is shoddy. The 4-page booklet is poor, with absolutely no information about the music contained on the CD apart from the song listing and credits on the back.
The original album featured that iconic cover shot of The Crickets taken on the roof of the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre in New York City in early September 1957, where Buddy and co. were appearing for a week at the start of the Biggest Show Of Stars For 1957 Show tour.
Where are we then? 5 stars for the music, a generous one for the art work, and 3 stars overall.
If all you want is the music - and a photo of John Mueller! - you can hardly go wrong at this bargain price. Otherwise, if you haven't got these tracks, go for a standard reissue copy of the original Crickets' album (with the blue sky background) or the 'twofer' with both The 'Chirping' Crickets and Buddy Holly albums.
Just shy of 57 years ago (it's August 2014 now) - "The Chirping Crickets" by THE CRICKETS was released on 27 November 1957 in the USA on Brunswick Records BL 54038 and it stands up to this day as one of 'the' great debuts of all time (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. In a not very Rock 'n' Roll manner - Holly's group The Crickets are credited on the back of the album sleeve as a 'Vocal Group With Orchestra'. Yikes!
This March 2004 Universal/Geffen American CD reissue on B0001686-02 gives us all 12-tracks of the original MONO album remastered to gorgeous sound quality from the 1st generation master tapes by ERICK LABSON (over 1000 credits for audio restoration to his name) and then tags on 4 bonus tracks at the end. The extras are the A&B sides of two singles in and around the release of the album. So this CD 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 $1000 + 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 aged only 22. Universal have re-issued both of these under their "Rock 'n' Roll 50th Anniversary Edition" banner (see list below and my review for "Buddy Holly" also) and not any of the subsequent compilation albums that made up all of his 60's output. Listening to them again in their straight-up 1957 and 1958 form - you're struck even now by the brilliance of his songwriting - tune after tune brimming with life and yet still somehow fresh even after all this time. What a loss his passing was - robbed of him and his talent at such a young age.
Gorgeous sound, beautifully presented and mid-price too. 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: Issued Stateside 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 if you try to search the Amazon database for any of these titles under that moniker - it doesn't recognize the name at all. For those interested in a visual - I've placed a full list of all seven in LISTMANIA called "Rock 'n' Roll 50th Anniversary Edition Series". Included are:
1. "The Chirping Crickets" by THE CRICKETS (1957 Debut LP on Decca) 2. "Buddy Holly" by BUDDY HOLLY (1958 1st solo LP on Coral) 3. "Rock Around The Clock" by BILL HALEY & HIS COMETS (ground-breaking 1956 LP) 4. "After School Session" by CHUCK BERRY (1958 Chess debut LP) 5. "St. Louis To Liverpool" by CHUCK BERRY (1964 STEREO LP on Chess) 6. "Bo Diddley Is A Gunslinger" by BO DIDDLEY (1960 STEREO Chess LP) 7. "Rock, Rock, Rock! - Original Soundtrack" by VARIOUS (Chuck Berry, The Flamingos and The Moonglows) (1956 Chess 'Rock'n'Roll Movie Soundtrack LP)
I bought all 7 of these titles and I can't recommend them enough (and reviewed them all) - 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.
This CD is a favourite in my BUDDY HOLLY Collection. I have collected together a nostalgic library of Buddy Holly and the Crickets on CD and will keep searching for tracks by them either has Buddy Holly or The Crickets. This is music from my teen years.