This album is a treat for people who were adolescents in the 1960s, as it is a distilled collection of vintage rock and roll played by Buddy Holly and his band, The Crickets, formed in 1959.
The selection is thorough, and covers the career of the singer and his group, citing hits that exemplified the Golden Age of Rock and Roll from 1957 to 1969.
The general tone of the album is a quaint rock and roll style. Drums, guitar, piano, and melody rule in "Blue Suede Shoes", "Shake Rattle Roll" and "Bo Diddley". The songs are simple and untainted by recording-studio manipulations of voice or music; this is singing delivered straight form the heart.
"Rave On", "Browneyed Handsome Man", "Love's Made A Fool Of You" and "Baby I Don't Care", all have foot-tapping beats that'll do the trick at any party. The best track is "Peggy Sue" - a gold Top Ten hit with "racing heartbeat" drums - in which the group has played around with different types of echo.
"Valley Of Tears" falls under a separate genre, being a lilting ballad; "Midnight Shift" explores promiscuity; and "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" is a song about falling out of love. "Raining In My Heart" is a beautiful sad lyric that sounds like it could belong to the soundtrack of any old movie. "Heartbeat", "Look At Me", "Everyday", "It's So Easy", "Words Of Love" and "Love Is Strange" are tuneful and uncomplicated, sound-wise.
"Peggy Sue Got Married" is one track that stands out by itself. A witty song, it spreads the news of a vivacious, attractive woman (a girl that's been in "nearly every song" the group has sung) who has finally stopped flirting and settled down. Cleverly, an invented persona is laid to rest.
This music falls into the "rock of ages" category - evergreen and infectious, it transports the listener to a bygone era that spawned Kennedy, Presley and the New Woman, freshly attired in short skirts and a slap-dash attitude.This article was first published on 14 Dec 2000.