Acoustic Sounds

The Crickets

The "Chirping" Crickets



Label: Roller Coaster Records

Produced By: Norman Petty (reissue producer John Beecher)

Mixed By: Chris Hopkins

By: Michael Fremer

April 5th, 2024





The "Chirping" Crickets In STEREO?

and mono sounding better than ever?

My old friend Ken Kessler What's App'd me sounding more excited than I've heard him in years! The veteran U.K. based audio and watch journalist told me a U.K. label Roller Coaster Records had just released a CD reissue of The "Chirping" Crickets that used similar tech to what Giles Martin used to remix Beatles albums in improved stereo, but Ken said for some reason it worked much better on this old Crickets album that was recorded and released only in mono.

Me and Ken at Munich High End 2019

I bit and ordered the disc from Roller Coaster. It cost around $25 with shipping and while waiting I contacted John Beecher the label's owner. Buddy Holly was/is bigger in the U.K. than he ever was in America, which is a shame, but that's how it is.

The project began in 2019 with help from original Cricket drummer, the now deceased J.I. Allison (Jerry Ivan), co-writer of "That'll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue". What it is, is a version of The 'Chirping' Crickets "de-mixed' and then remixed three ways: first, in mono, second in stereo and third in a stereo mix minus all the hokey overdubbed vocals by The Picks found on the original mono release and of course on the cut from tape edition released by Analogue Productions— that's an AAA treasure worth owning for sure.

But here in this CD package you get a really outstanding, re-mixed with love, mono edition, a stereo mix using A.I. that for some reason doesn't sound ghostly perhaps because the original began in mono and was simply recorded, and you get a third version—a stereo mix minus The Picks background vocals. Where producer Norman Petty had "ducked" mix elements to make room for The Picks, the remix engineer Chris Hopkins fills in the spaces.

I'm not sure which of the three editions excites most: a really excellent mono remix, the stereo or the stereo minus The Picks, but all three bring Buddy Holly back to life and demonstrate what an exciting singer he was and how precise the playing was of the other Crickets. This is an outstanding sounding CD in which no attempt was made to "modernize" with smashing.

On top of that label owner John Beecher has written a fond recollection of his Buddy Holly fandom and it's filled with interesting historical information. That's followed by a track by track history by Allison (who passed away in 2022) based on interviews conducted by George Scott and John Beecher. If you're a Buddy Holly fan you're sure to enjoy reading this part. Then the "de-mix" engineer explains what and how he did what he did. Following that is a session chronology. Interspersed throughout are great photos. The packaging is triple-gatefold CD and nicely produced.

I pulled out my U.K. Buddy Holly LPs figuring it would add some luster to present images here, which are below but looking at U.K Coral The "Chirping" Crickets reissue, whose name appears under the new annotation? John Beecher! And he's there on the annotation to the U.K. Coral reissue of Buddy Holly. Decades later the circle closes!

This is a "must" have Buddy Holly CD reissue fans are sure to enjoy and treasure. Well I do!

Music Specifications

Catalog No: RCCD 3081


Presentation: CD


  • 2024-04-06 08:47:16 PM

    John Marks wrote:

    Eternal Rest, grant them all, O Lord.


  • 2024-04-07 09:34:20 AM

    PeterG wrote:

    A CD with 10 sonics, really? Especially with no specifics on sound...

    • 2024-04-07 01:17:30 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      I'll add some

      • 2024-04-07 06:04:53 PM

        PeterG wrote:

        Thank you, much appreciated. It would also be helpful if you could confirm that CDs and LPs are on the same scale, i.e. a 10 CD sounds as good as a 10 LP.

  • 2024-04-07 01:51:53 PM

    Lemon Curry wrote:

    Maybe what makes demixing work here is that these were performances in the same room at the same time. Every demixed element will have the same feel of the space around them.

  • 2024-04-08 08:40:48 AM

    Georges wrote:

    Maybe the demix has made progress or maybe those who used it for the Beatles didn't know how to use it. AI would soon be able to recreate decent sounds for mediocre amateur recordings which are in some unfortunately very numerous cases our only musical source. Buddy is one of the pioneers, a reference. Delighted with this achievement.