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No one here is on a fast track; no one here is in a rush, except for more coffee. But the Pancake House is where one eases back into the traditional ways that have made Lubbock what it is—a hub city that generates no sudden movements. Business is good now, he tells me. But it was never better, in a sense, than it was in the mid-fifties, when Larry laid tile while a Holley Tile employee—who happened to be his youngest brother, Charles, nicknamed Buddy—sat on the tile boxes and sang, strumming an acoustic guitar.

But the music went on, and so did Larry, and so did Lubbock. Regardless, a sudden resurgence of Buddy-mania has taken place, and this time, Lubbock is in the center of it all. Though small, the exhibit is an affecting glimpse of the evolving genius of a small-town boy. In addition, a new Buddy Holly biography will be published by St. And finally, a compilation of Buddy Holly songs recorded this year by various popular artists, titled Not Fade Away will hit the record stores on December Ironically, Not Fade Away appears on Decca Records, the label that let Buddy fade away from a recording contract in Even beyond the obvious examples of Linda Ronstadt, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, and Marshall Crenshaw, it is difficult to find a modern-day rocker whose look or sound does not ultimately amount to a celebration of Buddy Holly.

Understanding Buddy Holly is a different matter. With the exception of delta blues artist Robert Johnson, no popular American musician has influenced so many and revealed so little about himself. Buddy was not deliberately elusive; death made him that way. He was a star for fully eighteen months before the plane crash that made him forever young.

Within that fleeting time span, he wrote several dozen songs, performed on average nearly once a night, was married, sired no children, bared his soul to no interviewer, appeared in no movies, left behind no will, and with Elvis Presley, ushered in the rock and roll era. The rest of us are left to consider a life that was as short and sweet as a Holly hit.

Death spared him the burden of an encore. Even in life, we barely knew Charles Hardin Holley. His widow, Maria, met him only eight months before he died.

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He could be numbingly shy or obnoxiously self-confident depending on whether he was holding a guitar at the time. Even his musical genius is hard to nail down. As a lyricist, he was disarmingly cavalier. He just as readily borrowed riffs from black and hillbilly artists like Chuck Berry and Hank Williams.

Yet Buddy Holly conveyed words and sounds in a manner all his own. The new book is almost criminally lame, not to mention dishonest. What more could you possibly want? The truth would be a good start. Buddy could identify with the city that would for decades resist memorializing its most famous son. Raised from hardworking stock in a hardworking town, Buddy had his own preoccupation but never once expected Lubbock to drop what it was doing on his. Everyone in town knew who Buddy Holly was, and that was good enough for him. There was never a shortage of places to play, and Panhandle folks came from miles around seeking whatever entertainment the Hub City had to offer.

For that matter, the sameness for which Lubbock has long been ridiculed offered a kind of creative blank slate upon which Buddy and his musical peers could impose their visions. You can think long thoughts sitting on top of that tractor, and dream long dreams. Lubbock was then and is now a segregated town, a by-product of a ordinance that prohibited persons with more than one-tenth Negro blood from living west of Avenue D. In effect, he set his own politely maverick personality to music. He went to church and was respectful to adults.

He was into it. Buddy had stage presence before he ever made it. Buddy never heard back. As big as Elvis. With or without a contract, he was a star in his own right. Two months later, in FebruaryBuddy and his new band, the Crickets consisting of Buddy, Allison on drums, Niki Sullivan on rhythm guitar, and bassist Larry Welborn, who was later replaced by Joe B.

Mauldindrove a hundred miles northwest to Clovis, New Mexico. Where he was going was un charted territory. Petty dispatched the Crickets northeast, where they found themselves playing in black music venues to audiences who did not expect to see a quartet of Texas crackers onstage. When the tour crossed the Mason-Dixon line in Septemberthe musicians were informed that local ordinances prohibited whites and blacks from performing on the same stage. But Buddy still needed Lubbock.

Creative people need that. The waitress gave Buddy the once-over. Then she shook her head skeptically and walked away. The Crickets toured Australia and England, the second white rock and roll band after Billy Haley and the Comets those continents had yet seen. Niki Sullivan had quit the group over the holidays, leaving the Crickets as a trio. Buddy bought a Cadillac and an Ariel Cyclone motorcycle.

Buddy Holly was on a roll. In August the couple were married in the Holley home. While in Lubbock, Buddy and Maria walked into a local store, where she ordered an ice-cream cone. The waitress pretended not to hear her.

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They returned to Manhattan and moved into a Greenwich Village apartment. Despite his multitude of hit singles, Buddy was broke: The royalty money was tied up in the of his manager, Norman Petty. But Buddy and Maria arrived to find that the Crickets were already there, and that Petty had talked the boys into staying with him. Buddy refused to do the same.

On the drive back to Lubbock with his wife, Buddy thought about life without the Crickets and broke down crying in the car.

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A little more than three months later, Jerry Allison and Joe B. It was time to set things right. The boys called Maria in New York and asked her where they could reach Buddy. She looked on her schedule. It was February 3, They made the call to the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, but the show was over. Buddy was unreachable now. He was headed north, away from Lubbock, and from anything else. And where might Buddy Holly have gone next, given the opportunity?

His last five singles had failed to crack the top twenty. Was the end already in sight? If Buddy had stayed home, would the others have stayed as well, rather than pursuing fame elsewhere? Would Buddy Holly have transformed Lubbock into a rock and roll town in the end? In any event, it is left for Lubbock to transform itself, or not to. By Shawn Shinneman. By Skip Hollandsworth. By Robert Draper. By Daniel Vaughn.

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