Saturday, July 07, 2018

The Crickets - In Style WIth The Crickets (1960)

The sole album done by the Crickets without Buddy Holly and prior to their move to Liberty Records is superior to most of what they did for Liberty, and it's certainly closer in sound to Buddy Holly's late-1950s discs. It's not the same as hearing Buddy Holly: he's a singer/songwriter/guitarist that cannot be replaced. It is, nevertheless, good Tex-Mex rock, particularly on the tunes where Sonny Curtis had a hand in the songwriting. By far the most significant cut is the original version of "I Fought the Law," an arrangement pretty close to that of Bobby Fuller's classic 1966 hit version, but not as full and punchy, particularly in the backup vocals. This LP was definitely influential on the Bobby Fuller Four, as they covered no less than three of the songs: "I Fought the Law," Sonny Curtis' "Baby, My Heart," and "Love's Made a Fool of You," which made the Top 30 in the U.K. The other cuts are not as strong (particularly the covers of "Great Balls of Fire" and "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu"), but they're still honest and true -- something that can't be said of a lot of famous groups that have decided to keep on recording when the star of the show becomes unavailable. The sweet ballad "More Than I Can Say" would become a #2 hit for Leo Sayer in 1980. The German CD reissue on MCA adds six bonus cuts from non-LP singles and outtakes, which are definitely worth having and were otherwise only available on the German compilation Rare Items, 1959-60. These include the original version of "Someone, Someone," taken to #2 in the U.K. by Brian Poole and the Tremeloes in 1964, and "Don'Cha Know," covered by the Searchers.

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