The Chirping Crickets album cover

Buddy Holly and the Crickets, The Chirping Crickets

Brunswick, 1957, rock roll

B, 1966: Classic early rock’n’roll. Tried to imagine hearing this on a dusty, hot summer afternoon in ‘57, leaning against a hood of an old truck with the windows down so you could hear the old AM radio. An ice cold coke in my hand, watching a bunch of gals in poodle skirts skipping across the parking lot on the way to the Soda Fountain. Invented nostalgia. Not all the tracks stand up to time, but there are some real classics here. Track pick has to go to “That’ll Be The Day”.

C, 2002: Good songs, solid album with lots of hits. “Rock Me My Baby” wins favorite track.

H, 1951: What exactly was the magic of Buddy Holly and his band? To fully appreciate his contributions, you have to place him in historical context. He was one of the first to mix country with blues and R&B. He also brought a distinctive but subtle taste of the American Southwest to the music. But also he and the Crickets were one of the first artistically independent groups, writing their own material, playing and singing their own songs, and recording in an independent studio that allowed them the time and the freedom to experiment until they got the sound they wanted. They also mixed and melded their instruments and vocals in innovative and cohesive ways, demonstrating just how much interest and variety and excitement four young boys with electric guitars and drums and a little attitude could generate when left to their own devices. No wonder, then, that four young lads from Liverpool would emulate Holly’s band when choosing the name of their own group a few years later.

This particular album has quite a few great tracks, including “Oh Boy!”, “Not Fade Away”, “Maybe Baby” and “That’ll Be The Day” — but most of the rest is filler. It’s on this list for its historical significance, but there are Holly compilations that offer better music for the money.

Published 20 Jan 2020