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27th February
written by Matt The Cat

2 New Buddy Holly Compilations You Must Own!

Universal Music has just released two Buddy Holly sets that are worth your attention. “Memorial Collection” is the most complete overview of Buddy Holly’s short but highly influential career that I’ve ever heard. It’s three CDs packed with 60 songs that cover his early days with local friend Bob Montgomery, to his failed, but wonderful rockabilly rave-ups on Decca Records, to his breakthrough success on Brunswick with The Crickets and solo on Coral. The set wraps up with the oft-bootlegged, but never sounding better “Apartment Tapes”. All the hits are here, so if you’re missing any of Buddy’s classics, this is the CD compilation for you. But for those who have the hits, you’re gonna love the original, undubed versions of Holly tunes, such as “Down The Line” and “Holly Hop”. You’re used to hearing the versions that feature The Fireballs 1960s instrumental overdubs that appeared on the “Holly In The Hills” LP. Here, these songs are stripped down to their original rockabilly groove. The Fireballs, under the direction of Holly’s ex-producer Norman Petty, also added instrumentation to “Peggy Sue Got Married”, “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” and one of my personal favorites, “Learning The Game”. They added those overdubs after Buddy’s sudden death on February 3, 1959, but the songs originate from Holly’s infamous “Apartment Tapes”. They and many others were recorded in Buddy and Maria Elena’s New York Apartment just weeks before his death. You’ll hear the original, acoustic versions of those songs on this set as well as its companion CD, “Down The Line: Rareties”.

I’ll admit that I’ve had “The Apartment Tapes” for years on a bootleg CD, but hearing how Universal was able to clean then up is a revelation. It’s wonderful and even a little bit eerie to hear Buddy’s voice only accompanied by his acoustic guitar. It’s like you’re in the same room with a genius who was busy creating the next chapter in his life. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it that chapter, but now we are so lucky to get a glinpse into what the next step would have sounded like. And that is what the entire 2 CD compilation, “Down The Line: Rareties” is about. “Rareties” also features many alternate takes and stripped down versions of songs you know by heart. If you’re a die hard Buddy Holly fan, then you need this two disc set to complete your collection, but if you just want a tremendous overview of his entire musical career, than “Memorial Collection” is just what the doctor ordered. You can find both compilations at Best Buy or download them on iTunes. Here is a link to them on so you can listen to samples of each track and hear for yourself the magic of Bubby Holly: 50 years later.
Buddy Holly – “Memorial Collection”
Buddy Holly – “Down The Line: Rareties”

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