Archive for February, 2009

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”

27th February
written by Matt The Cat

Chuck Berry – You Never Can Tell: The Complete Chess Recordings: 1960-1966

I can’t tell you how happy I am that Hip-O Select has released a new Chuck Berry box set. This set picks up where Johnny B. Goode: His Complete ’50s Chess Recordings, the 4 CD set that they released last year, left off. It’s 1960 and Chuck is still on a roll releasing rock n’ roll classic after rock n’ roll classic for the immortal Chess Label. Over 4 CDs, this new set covers everything Chuck recorded from 1960 to 1966, when he left the label for a 3 year stint at Mercury Records. You Never Can Tell: The Complete Chess Recordings: 1960-1966 is a stunner. The songs are not nearly as instantly recognizable as his ’50s output, but they are just as fresh, driving and rockin’ as anything Chuck Berry ever recorded. We begin with Chuck’s first session of 1960, which was held on March 29th. He was definitely in the mood for more blues, as this set kicks off with amazing versions of Charles Brown’s “Drifting Blues”, “Don’t You Lie To Me”, “Down The Road Apiece” and “Worried Life Blues”.

For me, the most impressive recordings are the instrumentals that I’ve never heard before. Chuck just knocks me out with “Mad Lad”, “Surfin’ Steel (Cryin’ Steel)”, “Guitar Boogie”, “O Rangutang”, “Butterscotch” and “After It’s Over”. They’ve also included 2 cuts off the great LP that Berry cut with fellow guitar legend, Bo Diddley. The “Two Great Guitars” LP was released in 1963 and featured “Chuck’s Beat” and “Bo’s Beat” and I’m sure you can guess that these two ten minute plus songs are worth your time.

Honestly, the most eye-opening music on this 4 CD set comes from a 45 minute live show from October of 1963. It was recorded at the Walled Lake Casino in Detroit, but never was released. Chuck is backed up by an unknown band, that probably contained some Motown legends as the band was billed as The Berry Gordy All-Stars. Our boy is ON FIRE during these live recordings of his hits. I’ve included a link to a smokin’ live version of “Johnny B. Goode”, so you can hear what I mean.

If you can spare the coin, this box set is worthwhile for not just any fan of Chuck Berry, but any fan of Rock n’ Roll itself.
Click here to hear a live version of “Johnny B. Goode” from 1963
Click here to see the webpage at!

27th February
written by Matt The Cat

The Dixie Cups Win Friday Night Cat Fight

“Jock-A-Mo” vs. “Iko Iko”

The Dixie Cups “Iko Iko” – 68 Votes

Sugar Boy Crawford “Jock-A-Mo” – 56 Votes

Sugar Boy put up some great numbers with his original 1953 version of the song, but the Dixie Cups’ 1965 Top Pop 20 rendition of the song took the prize.

This week, we have our very first FOUR-WAY Friday Night Cat Fight with the classic R&B; tune, “Open The Door, Richard”. Listen to the entire Cat Fight Podcast before casting your vote for either Jack McVea, Dusty Fletcher, Count Basie & His Orch. or Louis Jordan. I played these songs a lot back in my XM Radio days, but I never opened the song up to a popularity vote like this, so I’m very interested in the results.

Friday Night Cat Fight On The Web!

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