This disc is an interesting pairing, combining the contents of two LPs from opposite ends of the efforts to tap into Buddy Holly's catalog. That'll Be the Day, released in April of 1958, was Decca Records' first attempt to give a boost to the available Buddy Holly material, assembling 11 of the songs that he'd cut for the label during his four unsuccessful Nashville sessions of 1956 into an LP, issued one month after the Buddy Holly album was issued; Remember, released in 1971, was the last posthumous compilation of Holly's work assembled by British MCA, gathering together the last of his officially released singles, B-sides, and more. Curiously, it is the first 11 songs here, from That'll Be the Day -- which is usually dismissed by critics as not sufficiently representative of Holly's real sound -- that make this CD an important release, very close to essential listening. Those tracks, though a fair distance from the music that made Holly famous, are good, solid, occasionally inspired rock & roll, with a decided rockabilly and country flavor; they're as instructive about how the producers at the major labels -- in this case, Owen Bradley and his assistants at Decca's Nashville studio -- and young artists like Holly, without a lot of studio time under his belt, were finding their way around rock & roll recording. Those 11 sides, which never sounded better than they do here, make this CD a must-own release for anyone with more than the most casual interest in Holly's work or in early rock & roll; if the alternate take of "Rock Around With Ollie Vee" were here, the CD would be perfect as a document of its subject and period. The later songs, from Remember, are better crafted and more sophisticated, as well as encompassing some of Holly's best songs, including "Learning the Game" and "Peggy Sue Got Married," but those are all available elsewhere, and as the context of their inclusion on Remembering was mere happenstance, they're nothing more than handy bonus tracks here -- rather more impressive among those later cuts is "Real Wild Child," a frantically paced rockabilly number credited to Ivan and sung by Crickets drummer Jerry Allison, featuring Holly on guitar and backing vocals. The annotation is surprisingly sketchy concerning That'll Be the Day, concentrating far more on Holly's life story, and the original notes from Remember tell listeners more about that album's contents than do the new notes for the CD.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder