Go to Homepage   Buddy Holly: From The Original Master Tapes

 

Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage:three and a half moon gifUni/Mca (CD-ROM), ASIN B000002O1U
If you don't know Buddy Holly's hits, you don't know rock and roll. That applies to both the music-making side and the professional music appreciator's side of the business. Unfortunately, right now, there exists no definitive Buddy Holly boxed set that features not just the complete singles and b-sides, but live performances, studio sessions, et. al.

audio CD: buddy holly, from the master tapesWhen the definitive set finally appears, watch out. Satan will be winging snowballs. Until then, make do with the gorgeously produced Buddy Holly From The Original Master Tapes, a single disc that provides not just the unforgettables, but also the greats once forgotten, a few intriguing near misses, shoulda-beens and coulda-beens.

Buddy Holly didn't invent the Bo Diddley beat on "Not Fade Away," but Holly managed the trick of helping to popularize rhythm-n-blues percussion without diluting its ferocious power. To know the Bo Diddley beat, do two things: A) Listen to Bo Diddley, and B) listen to "Not Fade Away." Then try and tell me you can't feel yourself walking differently as those tunes light up the jukebox of your brain for days.

From Bo Diddley via Buddy Holly we get early Beatles, Z.Z. Top and plenty of Rolling Stones tracks. The Beatles named their band as a direct tribute to Buddy Holly's band, the Crickets. The legacy of Buddy Holly touches everything on radio from country to rock to blues to hip hop. And you know some deejay's gotten a hold of "Rave On" as an anthem. The back-up vocals on that track practically qualify as sonic ecstasy.

Listening to these songs again doesn't bring back memories for me. I'm two generations removed from the 1950s. But Holly's songs somehow became part of the atmosphere -- rites of passage so familiar, so integral, so basic they barely stand out at all until you realize the song you love wouldn't be possible without Buddy Holly. Once you reach a certain age, you can eat, sleep, drink, flush the toilet and passably sing "Peggy Sue," but you can't remember when or where you first heard that classic Buddy Holly song. You cannot offer a greater compliment to art than to recognize that it became too fundamental to fade away.

The CD also contains evidence that Holly hovered on the cusp of mastering complex and sonically innovative compositions beyond two guitars, bass and drums. "True Love Ways" and "It Doesn't Matter Anymore," the CD's final tracks, reveal an adeptness for string arrangements that rivals Chet Baker. From the production side and the desire for different sonic textures, Holly also influenced Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness and Pet Sounds. Buddy Holly proves the "trickle down" theory; his music became part of the very rhythms of our life.

Michael Pacholski

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