MCA got serious about reissuing vintage music from its library in the 1980s, when it put the responsibility in the hands of producer Steve Hoffman, who was willing to spend the time and do the research required to find the right masters and also to propose doing right by them. One of the first results was For the First Time Anywhere, which unearthed a lot of previously unheard undubbed Holly demos, and Hoffman followed it up two years later with From the Original Master Tapes, the first Buddy Holly collection that was a revelation for its sound quality. Although it has been outdone in that department since, what with the advancement of digital technology and its uses, and there are compilations that take into account songs of his that became important in others' hands, this remains the best single-disc collection of Buddy Holly's music, featuring 20 of his biggest hits. The songs aren't presented in chronological order, but the disc flows well, running through every one of his hits and all of his best-known songs -- "That'll Be the Day," "Peggy Sue," "Oh, Boy!," "Maybe Baby," "Rave On," "Think It Over," "Heartbeat," "It Doesn't Matter Anymore," "Everyday," "Not Fade Away," "Well ... All Right," and many others. A few terrific songs are missing, but From the Original Master Tapes remains a first-rate introduction and a nearly definitive summary of the highlights of Holly's brief recording career.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder