Friday, 5 September 2008

"The Chirping Crickets" by THE CRICKETS. 27 November 1957 to 27 November 2007. 50 Years On and His Stunning Debut Album Still Shines!

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 - both sleeves are pictured above). 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 most databases for ANY titles under this moniker, it doesn't recognize the 'name' at all.

For those interested in the "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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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc