Rock History

THOSE SHOULD’VE BEEN THE DAYS: had BUDDY HOLLY not taken that one last ride, that is…..

channels the Cricket that Got Away.


Yessir, that last tour was sure a sumbitch, wasn’t it? “Winter Dance Party” my lone starred ass! More like a near month hauling all across those snow-crusted heartlands in the back of a school bus, sleeping with our guitars and our Jack Daniels and our rolling crap games. And precious little else, believe you me! But I suppose if they’d paid us what they were supposed to, we may have started flying between gigs instead …and that might’ve been even worse.

Sure was good to dump my brand new band and finally get back to New York City and my brand new wife, you bet. And even though the past (in the form of former bandmates and management) kept calling – too bad there weren’t any answering machines back in the Summer of 59! – I certainly had lots of songs to write, melodies to sing, work to do …and fun to have. My good bud Phil Everly, RIP, immediately helped see to that: he always was promising the minute he dumped his brother, and me my Crickets, we’d just walk that block or two south from my new apartment through Washington Square Park and begin to seriously trawl the grand new sights and sounds of Greenwich Village.

So we did. For a year or two, in fact, we did little else! And of course it was there, in some greasy little basement off MacDougal that we first saw, and heard, and then made an important point to meet, this scrawny kid from the Midwest name of Bob. He was a funny little feller that continually swore we’d somehow locked eyes when I played the Duluth Armory …though unlike yours very truly, he’d only wear his glasses off stage. Still, he could sing up a storm, and soon enough write up one too. Too bad management again – his this time, not mine – prevented me from taking him into the studio like we were busy planning. But nevertheless, he signed with Columbia Records rather than me and Phil’s own label, and made out pretty darn well for himself. You oughta read his “Chronicles” book, by the way. It’s a Good One.

Anyways, money doesn’t talk, it swears, as Mr. D. once said. So eventually Phil got back together with Don, I hired back a couple’a Crickets, and we all headed off on a joint tour of England. Opening up for us here and there were these four new guys from Liverpool who’d simply slapped Everlys harmonies over Crickets instrumentation, and the rest was soon… well, Beatlemania it was called once I’d gotten them safely over the pond and onto the Ed Sullivan Show.

They were good guys though, and wisely recognized I, not they, had actually invented that so-called British Invasion. Only back in Lubbock in 1958, you see: “Listen To Me,” “Think It Over,” “Not Fade Away” …”THERE’S yer fookin’ Merseybeat, mate,” as the Chief Beatle kept telling me and everyone else who could hear. I had to agree. Though he never wore his nice big black specs on stage either, by the by. But my, what a lovely character that Johnny Rhythm was.

So yep, those Beatles recorded my very own “Words Of Love,” and I have to admit those powerful royalties kept Maria Elena and Charles Hardin II in gas and grits as all my own musical monies remained tangled extremely up in legal limbos. Still, I eventually made good on my dream to record an entire album of Ray Charles songs, and duetting with that afore-mentioned Zimmer Man under his “Nashville Skyline” brought in a few deep dollars to boot. But then, like so many, many of us, the Seventies and especially Eighties were tough, empty years full of too much energy but too few (creative) outlets. At least I made it out pretty alive. My man Elvis, to cite the most obvious, didn’t, did he?

So here I sit today, luckily not being called a Golden Oldie as much the Godfather of alt. Country – whatever the heck that means. But I can still headline any damn PBS musical fundraiser I choose to. And while Maria Elena may be long long gone, our boy Charlie is still ringing his Strat in a honky tonk right near you this very night no doubt. Better that than doing Vegas as “Son of Buddy” I guess.

Oh, and that Weezer song? It really did suck, y’know…



PIGSHIT: The small machine that could

For all intents and purposes, Lindsey Adams Buckingham has lived a charmed life.

Raised in the comfy Bay Area opulence of 1950’s Atherton, California, a handsome, athletic golden boy suddenly and forever sidetracked by his elder brother’s Elvis and Buddy Holly 45s. He quit the school water polo team, moved with his guitar into a local hotshot band called Fritz, left for L.A. with their singer Stevie, produced with her the magnificently understated Buckingham Nicks album, was soonafter asked to join Fleetwood Mac with whom he helped craft a 40-million-plus-selling album called Rumours and, by 1978 at the age of twenty-nine finally found himself at the very tip-top of his game.

For all intents and purposes, that is. 

Artists and Bands

I Loves My Country…..

Blue Roder - Things We Left Behind

I have decided to gather together some of the best country and roots rock releases received over the past few weeks and tell you all about them in the hopes you’ll want to check them out. Remember, good rootsy rock and hardcore country is hard to find these days so if you’ve got a hankerin’ for this kind of stuff, well, here it is:

Blue Rodeo – The Things We Left Behind
Warner Bros

I would be remiss if I didn’t offer an apology to Blue Rodeo and to their label for not getting to this review of the new two-CD set by Canada’s greatest band (next to Sloan, anyways) a lot sooner. Truth is, I took it out to my car a few months ago as I wanted listening material for an upcoming road trip and just got so used to having it close at hand during long drives (and short ones too) I totally forgot I needed to review it and let you, faithful readers, know about the album I have been listening to almost non-stop since I received it. I guess I also owe you an apology as well because if you didn’t know about this album, you’ve been missing out on one of the most impressive albums this year and one that (at this point anyway) is definitely going to be on my top ten for the year.

Yeah, I said it. It’s that good. But it’s no surprise really, as this band’s been putting out great albums for about thirty years now.

Artists and Bands

A Year in Review – RRR Staff Weigh In On Their Top Picks of ‘09 – Part 2

grammyIt’s finally here! The second half of our “A Year in Review” extravaganza is ready for you to peruse and, hopefully, enjoy. We’re serving up more great albums and fabulous artists and I finally get in on the action by counting down the best songs of the year (with some slight cheating.) For those of you who missed Part 1 (shame on you) I’d just like to repeat: Thank you for making RRR a regular part of your musical intake. (Please don’t leave us in 2010, we love you!)

In Part 2 you’ll find:
Top 10 Songs of ’09 – Barbara Pavone
Top 10 UK Acts of ’09 – Intense Nick
Top 17 Albums & Top 5 Reissues of ’09 – Scott Homewood

Top 5 Albums & Top Reissue of ’09 – Gérard Girard
Top 10 Albums of the Decade – Matheson Kamin

Features Rock History

PIGSHIT by Gary Pig Gold – Precisely fifty years since the music supposedly died, TEN REASONS WHY BUDDY HOLLY STILL MATTERS

Buddy Holly, alongside rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan, bassist Joe B. Mauldin, and drummist-extraordinaire Jerry Allison, formed the immaculately suited, fully self-contained singing/songwriting template upon which some of the greatest pop-rock bands since, from those Beatles most obviously on down, were inextricably linked at the hip.

When no less than that up-coming King of Western Bop Elvis Presley first blew into Lubbock, Texas on tour in 1955, homeboy Buddy Holly was not only right there in the front row cheering him on, but afterwards appointed himself the Hillbilly Cat’s exclusive host, guide and confidant for the ensuing sixteen hours. Duly inspired, Buddy immediately revamped his burgeoning Crickets from an alt.-bluegrass combo into Lubbock’s very own Elvis, Scotty and Bill …so successfully so, in fact, that several months later, when Elvis triumphantly returned to town, Buddy Holly had graduated from mere tour guide status to that of official on-stage opening act.