As a kid I grew up on the classics, from Big Bopper, to Ritchie Valens, to the Everly Brothers and of course Elvis Presley himself. Spurred on by the advent of the Golden Oldies and Oldies but Goodies cassette tape releases, my parents made it a point to introduce me to the music they grew up with. It was not long before I could sing everything from ‘At the Hop’ to Tom Dooley, however, there was one musician from the Pre-Beatle era of the 50’s that really struck me, one that I, being a bespectacled ‘nerd’ in a time when such a thing was shunned, gravitated to. (Ironically, this particular album left him sans glasses…) His name, Buddy Holly and he made looking like a Nerd cool, almost 50 years before it was.
Why this album?
There is a certain innocence and unassuming nature to Buddy Holly’s self titled first ‘solo’ album. Filled with classics like Peggy Sue, Ready Teddy and Words of Love, this is the album that most people think of when they think of the young kid who charmed America with his melodic voice.
The album is a wonderful blend of classic standards to upbeat dance numbers. Unlike the carefully distilled entries from today’s artists, Holly simply put together a fun mix to goes from fast and upbeat to calm and introspective only to return to another sock hope standard. The unbalanced nature of the album may throw off modern listeners but it tends to keep you on your toes and allows you to really appreciate the range this classic singer had.
Sadly Holly wouldn’t make it past his 22nd birthday having perished in the now legendary flight with Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper along with their pilot Roger Peterson. His legacy can certainly be heard in the styling of Lennon and McCartney as well as later with Rivers Como of Weezer. I have to wonder where his music would have taken him if he had lived into the 60’s with the psychedelic influence.
This is such a classic tune hearkening back to the simpler time and with Holly in full form. With little in the way of backing music save a simple slap beat. some mild bass and the bell sound of a celesta, this is as stripped down as you can get but still have a tremendously impactful tune.
You’re So Square (Baby, I Don’t Care)
There is something great about this tune and sadly it is a largely forgotten deep cut that few associate with Holly. In almost a self referential tone, the tune is about how he loves someone despite them not quite fitting in. Using the term of the time for those that were a little different, ‘Square’, he sings to his love explaining that even though she is in fact a ‘Square’ he doesn’t care.
Take Your Time
This one can be found on the expanded edition from 1999 that includes a few rarities and it is pretty great. Holly tells his love that he is okay with her taking her time as he can be patient with her. It’s such a great sentiment and one that the 50’s were certainly not known for.
Ok, where do I get it?
At the time of writing this you could find a copy on Amoeba Music for about $3. If it’s gone, be patient, I am sure another will pop up soon enough. Until then, give it a go on Spotify. Trust me, this classic is one that will never get old.
Late to the Game 3/24/20
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