This CD, containing the complete first album by the post-Buddy Holly Crickets for Liberty (to which they were signed in 1960), augmented by a half-dozen 1963-1964 vintage songs, is actually easier to recommend than the EMI best-of on the band. Most of this CD is straightforward rock & roll, not groundbreaking, but played with a spirit and rawness that was getting pretty rare in the early 1960s -- "Willie and the Hand Jive," "Summertime Blues," "What'd I Say," "Searchin'," and "Blue Monday" share space with Goffin & King's "Don't Ever Change," Goffin's "Little Hollywood Girl," and the standard "Love Is Strange." But for the lack of originals, the whole album would seem strangely similar in mood, tone, and power to the early albums of a certain Liverpool quartet -- the vocals are first-rate, including the harmony singing, which is a lot more elaborate than anything heard on the group's one album with Buddy Holly. The 1963-vintage bonus tracks are just as impressive, and include their versions of "La Bamba," "Teardrops Fall Like Rain," and a couple of originals by Jerry Naylor and Sonny Curtis. The notes are nicely detailed, too.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder