Buddy Holly Archives

Celebrating the life and music of Buddy Holly

Four part series: As Crickets finally get their due, a glimpse into past

By William Kerns | A-J ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR |  Slideshow: Buddy Holly and the Crickets

Don Caldwell, owner of the Cactus Theater, recently handed out copies of a complimentary letter mailed to the surviving Crickets from the Beatles in Liverpool, England, on Jan. 24, 1963.

The letter boasts the personal signatures of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison.

Posing for a photo in the 1950s are the original four-piece Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Band members are, from left, Niki Sullivan, rhythm guitar; Jerry Allison, drums; Buddy Holly, lead vocals and lead guitar; and Joe B. Mauldin, standup bass. (PROVIDED BY BILL GRIGGS COLLECTION)

Drummer Jerry “J.I.” Allison, standup bass player Joe B. Mauldin and the late guitarist Niki Sullivan, who died suddenly from a heart attack at age 66 in 2004, are best known for their work with Buddy Holly — music that influenced the Beatles and many other musicians.

On Saturday, they’ll be honored for the work they did with the Lubbock-born legend who died in a 1959 plane crash — and for their long history since.

Allison, Mauldin, Sullivan and vocalist Sonny Curtis will enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The three surviving members still tour and perform as the Crickets.

No Crickets plan to attend the induction ceremony in Cleveland, which will be videotaped and air in early May on HBO.

The A-J recently interviewed Allison and Mauldin, and the discussion will be printed over the next four days.

As for that nice letter from the Beatles, both Crickets point out McCartney was even more complimentary when he later met them in person.

A-J: Buddy Holly was among the very first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. On Saturday, more than a quarter of a century later, the Crickets — Jerry (J.I.) Allison, Sonny Curtis, Joe B. Mauldin and the late Niki Sullivan — will be inducted. How do you feel about being inducted now?

Allison: I am honored to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I am thankful to the fans and everyone else who made this happen.

Barely past their teens, Buddy Holly and the Crickets were on the doorstep of international success in the later 1950s. The almost baby-faced band members are, from left, Jerry Allison, drums, Buddy Holly, lead guitar and lead vocals, and Joe B. Mauldin, standup bass. (PROVIDED BY JERRY ALLISON)

Mauldin: It feels great being inducted now. I think anytime someone thinks enough of you to induct you into their organization, you should be happy.

A-J: How did you feel about being left out when Buddy was inducted as a solo?

Allison: You just said it, Bill. I felt left out.

Mauldin: I could not understand how they could induct Buddy without mentioning his part on The Crickets’ recording of “That’ll Be the Day.”

A-J: Looking back, you were not born in Lubbock, right, J.I.?

Allison: I was born (Jerry Ivan Allison) in Hillsboro on Aug. 31, 1939. And I moved to Lubbock from Plainview when I was 10.

Mauldin: I was born in Lubbock on July 8, 1940.

A-J: Joe B., what does the B stand for. And when did you start going by Joe B.?

Mauldin: The B stands for Benson. I am Joe Benson Mauldin Jr. So Mom called Dad Joe and, when she called for Joe B., that meant me.

A-J: J.I., it seems I read that you graduated from high school early. Is that right?

Allison: I graduated from Lubbock High in 1956 when I was 16. The reason being, my mother, Louise Allison, was the teacher and principal of a two-room school outside Plainview, and we lived next door. I turned 5 on Aug. 31, school started on Sept. 1, and I guess my folks thought I would be less trouble if I was in class. So that was that. I graduated 12 years later. It didn’t really seem early to me.

A-J: Joe, when did you start learning to play the standup bass. And what was it that attracted you to this particular instrument. Was there anyone who influenced your playing style?

Mauldin: I started learning to play standup bass in 1954. A friend of mine had borrowed one from the school we went to. I thought, “What a perfect chance to get involved in the music business.” I was very impressed with the way Bill Black played.

A-J: Joe, in your dreams, did you ever envision you being voted in the “Book of Lists” as one of history’s top rock bassists? That’s very cool.

Mauldin: No, it never crossed my mind at all.

A-J: What do you recall about your very first standup bass? Was it very high quality? Where did you get it?

Mauldin: I still own my very first standup bass. To me, it was pretty high quality because the price for it was $300. I bought it at Delahunty’s Music Store in Lubbock.

A-J: Jerry, when did you begin learning to play the drums? What was it that attracted you to percussion, and who were the drummers who influenced you the most?

Allison: I joined the grade school band in fifth or sixth grade. The halftime show at a football game made me want to whack the drums. There were not a lot of opportunities for me to hear music in those days, but I liked Gene Krupa when I was growing up. As rock ’n’ roll surfaced, I was totally impressed with Charles Conner. He played drums with Little Richard in a movie called “The Girl Can’t Help It.” Buddy Holly and I watched that movie seven or eight times.

A-J: What do you recall about your first drum kit, J.I.?

Allison: My folks bought my first set of drums (Slingerland)after we moved to Sixth Street in Lubbock. I was flipped out. The bass drum had a Hawaiian scene painted on it, and had a blue light inside that lit up when you hit the pedal. The tom toms also had lights, which I quickly took out since, at the time, all drum heads were calf skin and, after a song or two, they would get entirely too tight from the heat. I used that set until the summer of 1956. We — that would be Buddy, Don Guess and I — did a two-week tour backing George Jones, Cowboy Copas, Hank Locklin and others. We earned $10 a day, plus expenses. When we got home, I had $140. I went straight to Jack Delahunty’s shop, and traded my old drums in on a new set of Premier.

A-J: Where and when did ya’ll meet Buddy Holly? Who introduced you? Did you hit it off right away?

Allison: We met in the school yard at J.T. Hutchinson Junior High School. But we did not become best friends until some time in high school. Buddy and Bob Montgomery played for a school assembly program during my eighth-grade year, and it affected me like marching band in the fifth grade. It was the very best live music I had heard up to then.

Mauldin: It was Jerry Allison who introduced me to Buddy in Lubbock when I was in high school. Very soon after that, they asked me to play bass full time with the Crickets.

A-J: Jerry, were you mostly just playing at school functions, and weekends at the roller rink, when ya’ll started out?

Allison: Some friends in the school bands would play occasionally in the cafeteria, at proms and other school functions. After Buddy, Bob (Montgomery), Sonny (Curtis), myself and various others got together, we played for things like gas station openings and sales events at the Pontiac dealership, but mostly at nightclubs (the Cotton Club, etc.) and dances at the roller rink on College Avenue.

Crickets induction

■ Event: Induction into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

■ Who: The late guitarist Niki Sullivan, drummer Jerry “J.I.” Allison, vocalist Sonny Curtis and standup bass player Joe B. Mauldin.

■ When: 8 p.m. Saturday.

Beatles letter

■ The letter reads: “Dear Crickets, When we were rehearsing for a TV show the other day, we met someone who had known you during your recent trip to England, and they told us how you had complimented us. We also heard from (record company) EMI in London that you had a copy of our record. Well, we’d just like to say that we take this as a great compliment and appreciate it very much.”

Finally inducted

In an effort to correct mistakes dating back as far as a quarter-century, officials at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland will induct Lubbock band The Crickets and five other previously overlooked recording acts during a ceremony at 8 p.m. Saturday. The front men of these six famous groups were inducted in previous years.

Bands being inducted Saturday, and their front men, are:

■ The Crickets (Buddy Holly, inducted in 1986).

■ The Blue Caps (Gene Vincent, inducted in 1998).

■ The Comets (Bill Haley, inducted in 1987).

■ The Famous Flames (James Brown, inducted in 1986).

■ The Midnighters (Hank Ballard, inducted in 1990).

■ The Miracles (Smokey Robinson, inducted in 1987).

Robinson will introduce the six bands being inducted.

Joel Peresman, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, called the bands pioneers and influential artists in the development of rock ’n’ roll.

Also inducted

The following artists also will be honored at Saturday’s 27th-annual induction ceremony. * Performers: Beastie Boys, Donovan, Guns N’ Roses, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Small Faces/The Faces.

■ Early influence: Freddie King.

■ Non-performer: Don Kirschner.

■ Musical influences/sidemen: Tom Dowd, Glyn Johns and Cosimo Matassa.

Niki Sullivan

■ Sullivan was a Navy veteran who joined Buddy Holly and the Crickets as a second guitarist in 1956. (Holly was the lead singer and played lead guitar.) In late 1957, following the band’s December appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” Niki Sullivan left from the band.

The reason he gave in his published memoir was he was uncomfortable with the amount of touring expected of the band.

Sullivan’s character was left out of the movie “The Buddy Holly Story,” but there is a character called “the fourth Cricket,” undoubtedly meant to be Sullivan, in the hit stage play “Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story.”

Sullivan was not replaced, and Holly and the Crickets continued to tour and record as a three-piece.

Sonny Curtis

Curtis, who had performed with Holly before the Crickets, was asked to join Mauldin and Allison after Holly died.

An interview with Curtis, also a prolific songwriter, was published Feb. 25 in The Avalanche-Journal and can be found with this story on lubbockonline.com.

This is the second in a four-part series.

The Crickets will be honored Saturday for the work they did with Lubbock-born music legend Buddy Holly, who died in a 1959 plane crash — and for their long history since.

Jerry Allison on drums with The Everly Brothers recording "Let It Be Me' and other songs in New York, 1959.

Drummer Jerry “J.I.” Allison, standup bass player Joe B. Mauldin and vocalist Sonny Curtis will enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Niki Sullivan, who was with the Crickets in 1956-57, died from a heart attack at age 66 in 2004.

The three surviving members still tour and perform as the Crickets.

No Crickets plan to attend the induction ceremony in Cleveland, which will be videotaped and air in early May on HBO.

An interview with Curtis, also a prolific songwriter, was published Feb. 25 in The Avalanche-Journal and on lubbockonline.com or buddyhollyarchives.com.

The A-J recently interviewed Allison and Mauldin, and the first part of the discussion was printed Sunday.

A-J: When did you come up with the name the Crickets? How did that come about?

Allison: Buddy and I were practicing one day, and decided we needed a group name. We liked a record by the Spiders called “Witchcraft,” so we decided to be insects. We looked in the dictionary under insects and stopped at Cricket. We had a lot of Crickets in Texas that year, too.

The Crickets continue to record and tour, and will be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on April 14. Today's Crickets are, from left, Jerry Allison, drums; Joe B. Mauldin, standup bass; and Sonny Curtis, guitar and vocals. Not pictures is the late Niki Sullivan, who also will be inducted. (PROVIDED BY BILL GRIGGS COLLECTION)

A-J: Joe, you were already playing in a band before the Crickets, weren’t you?

Mauldin: I was playing gigs with The Four Teens at the time. They were doing school functions and local dances at the time. The group was already called the Crickets when they asked me to play bass full time. I was always told that Jerry Allison was the one who came up with the Crickets name.

A-J: Jumping ahead a bit, did you get the credits you deserved for song writing, Jerry? I’m just asking because I heard that you and Buddy used to make up songs together a lot. Was there a problem in getting proper credit?

Allison: I think it is a little late to play pointy finger. But do not believe the credits on the records. Buddy and I wrote a lot together. And Buddy deserves all of the credit he got, and more.

Mauldin: I was given credit for contributing to three of our songs: “Last Night,” “I’m Gonna Love You Too” and “Well, Alright.”

A-J: Didn’t you also open for Elvis Presley? What was that like? What was Elvis like?

Allison: We did open for Elvis once at the Fair Park Coliseum. It was great fun. We were already huge Elvis fans by then. When Elvis was in town before, he, Jim Ed Brown and maybe a few others, came out to the Cotton Club and performed after their Fair Park show. Seems like they picked up an extra $25. We, the Riverside Ranch Hands, had played dance music while awaiting the stars. Buddy had been to the (Fair Park) show and also came out to the Cotton Club afterward. We hung around until the whole place was about to shut down, but we did get to sit around and talk to Elvis. This was before Elvis hired D.J. (Fontana) to play drums. I boldly asked why he didn’t have a drummer, and Elvis said, “Man, if I did, I’d sound just like Bill Haley.” Buddy wanted to be like Elvis so badly that he made me sit out sometimes, just so he, Sonny and Don Guess would sound more like the records. Along came D.J., and things were back to normal.

Mauldin: Buddy and J.I. were the opening act on a concert headlined by Elvis before I ever became a member of the Crickets. I was at the concert, but not yet part of the group.

Buddy Holly and the original Crickets, wearing suits, are seen performing rock 'n' roll in concert in the 1950s. The musicians are, from left, Niki Sullivan, rhythm guitar; Jerry Allison, drums; Buddy Holly, lead vocals and lead guitar; and Joe B. Mauldin, standup bass. The Crickets will be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on April 14. (PROVIDED BY BILL GRIGGS COLLECTION)

A-J: How did your music change after hearing Elvis? What sort of influence did he have?

Mauldin: I played mostly country music. But after I saw and heard Elvis, that was the only kind of music I wanted to play.

A-J: Were you confident when you began recording in Clovis, N.M., with Norman Petty producing? Did he have you convinced that success was just around the corner?

Allison: I think we were pretty confident. We had played “That’ll Be the Day” around Lubbock a lot, and it seemed like a lot of the kids liked it. Really, I had been sensing success was around the corner for Buddy ever since junior high.

Mauldin: When I began recording in Clovis, I did not feel confident with my playing. But Norman Petty convinced me that we were going to be successful soon.

A-J: Jerry, I don’t want to forget to ask: What is the real story about you asking Buddy to change the title of “Cindy Lou” to “Peggy Sue?” Where did you have that conversation? I know you married Peggy Sue, and you later divorced, but was Peggy Sue suitably impressed when she heard the tune?

Allison: Buddy had a song called “Cindy Lou” started and was singing it for me. It had a Latin feel then. We were probably circling the Hi-D-Ho in Buddy’s ’55 Olds. I had hung out with Peggy Sue some in school, and she had moved to California to finish high school. Anyway, we changed the beat and finished the song as “Peggy Sue.” She was impressed at the time, but I think she’s gotten over it.

A-J: Jerry, back to being best friends. You and Buddy even decided to honeymoon together in Hawaii when Buddy married Maria and you married Peggy Sue. Looking back, would you do something like that again? Was it as much fun as you hoped?

Allison: Looking back, I should have kept writing songs and practicing the drums, and have no reason to honeymoon.

Finally inducted

In an effort to correct mistakes dating back as far as a quarter-century, officials at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland will induct Lubbock band The Crickets and five other previously overlooked recording acts during a ceremony at 8 p.m. Saturday. The front men of these six famous groups were inducted in previous years.

Bands being inducted Saturday, and their front men, are:

■■ The Crickets (Buddy Holly, inducted in 1986).

■ The Blue Caps (Gene Vincent, inducted in 1998).

■■ The Comets (Bill Haley, inducted in 1987).

■ The Famous Flames (James Brown, inducted in 1986).

■■ The Midnighters (Hank Ballard, inducted in 1990).

■■ The Miracles (Smokey Robinson, inducted in 1987).

Robinson will introduce the six bands being inducted.

Joel Peresman, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, called the bands pioneers and influential artists in the development of rock ’n’ roll.

This is the third in a four-part series.

The Crickets will be honored Saturday for their work with Lubbock-born music legend Buddy Holly — who died in a 1959 plane crash — and for their long history since.

Stopping to pose for a backstage photo in the 1950s are Buddy Holly and the Crickets The band is, from left, Niki Sullivan, rhythm guitar; Joe B. Mauldin, standup bass; Buddy Holly in the white suit, lead vocals and lead guitar; and Jerry Allison, drums. The Crickets will be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on April 14. (PROVIDED BY BILL GRIGGS COLLECTION)

Drummer Jerry “J.I.” Allison, standup bass player Joe B. Mauldin and vocalist Sonny Curtis will enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Niki Sullivan, who was with the Crickets in 1956-57, died from a heart attack at age 66 in 2004.

The three surviving members continue to tour and perform as the Crickets.

No Crickets plan to attend the induction ceremony in Cleveland, which will be videotaped and broadcast in early May on HBO.

An interview with Curtis, also a prolific songwriter, was published Feb. 25 in The Avalanche-Journal and can be found with this story on lubbockonline.com.

The A-J intereviewed Allison and Mauldin recently, and the first discussion was printed Sunday. Today is the second part and the third on Wednesday.

A-J: What do you recall about the time ya’ll were sent to Nashville to record?

Allison: Buddy got a contract with Decca after sending some demos to Nashville. I was still in high school and could not leave to do the recording. So it was Buddy and Sonny Curtis and Don Guess who recorded four sides with Nashville players, and we were all excited, waiting for a release. “Blue Days Black Nights” was released and didn’t sell a lot. We went back to Nashville that summer and recorded some more, which sold less. It was my first union session. I had to go to Amarillo to join the union. It was a really neat trip. We met Webb Pierce, Marty Robbins and on and on. We also went to the Grand Ole Opry.

Mauldin: I was not part of the Crickets when Buddy and J.I. went to Nashville to record.

A-J: At some point, did it feel like everything was happening super fast? First playing in Lubbock and Clovis, and then “That’ll Be the Day” breaking on the radio, and your playing in New York on “The Ed Sullivan Show?”

Allison: 1956, ’57 and ’58 just flew by. We were unbelievably lucky. We started recording in Clovis, Joe B. Mauldin joined the band and Brunswick Records released “That’ll Be the Day.” It started selling a few, and we were booked for a 17-week tour playing with our heroes like Fats Domino, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, and almost everyone else who played rock ’n’ roll. It was perfect. We were having the time of our lives.

Mauldin: It did feel like everything was happening super fast. All of a sudden, we were going to be on the biggest show in the business.

A-J: Did you feel nervous at all when you went to New York, and all of a sudden you were meeting and making friends with other stars?

Allison: We didn’t have time to be nervous on our first trip to New York. I was busy looking up at the tall buildings, and generally being in awe of the whole unbelievable experience. I don’t think the Great Plains Life building even existed in Lubbock back then. Then on the first or second day in New York, we met the Everly Brothers, who are still my favorite singers. We met them on the street, returning from shopping for clothes. After that, we toured all over the United States and Canada with them. In 1959, Joe B., Sonny and I became their backup band, again touring the U.S., Canada, Australia and Great Britain.

Mauldin: I didn’t feel nervous, but it sure was fun being able to hang out with the people I had considered superstars for so long.

A-J: Surely, you were aware that the Beatles said there would not have been a Beatles without the Crickets coming first? That must mean a ton.

Allison: Paul McCartney actually told us, “If not for the Crickets, there would not have been any Beatles.” It was like the ultimate compliment for me. Elvis, the Everlys, the Beach Boys were all fantastic. But then along comes the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to keep the fantastic going.

Mauldin: It truly meant so much to me to have Paul McCartney tell me face to face, “If there had not been the Crickets, there never would have been the Beatles.”

A-J: Is there one thing you remember most about Buddy?

Allison: He was my best friend and a smart alek.

Mauldin: The thing I remember most about Buddy is that he wanted everyone to be happy.

A-J: Have you any thoughts on why Buddy and the Crickets were so consistently loved in Great Britain. It seems like you caught on faster in England than at home in the USA. And it is still happening.

Allison: We toured England for a month or so in 1958, and I believe we were the first American rock ’n’ roll band, other than Bill Haley, to appear there. There was a TV show called “Saturday Night at the Palladium” that was very comparable to “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Their show was very popular and, on the night we played on it, the stars were Bob Hope and Robert Morley. It seems like everyone in Great Britain saw that show. It was amazing. A fellow named John Beecher started a fan club (The Buddy Holly and Crickets Society). He now runs Rollercoaster Records, and we’re still in touch. Another friend started a fan magazine (Cricket File). He still publishes it. Between the two, they know everything that has happened as far as Buddy Holly and the Crickets. It’s great that it is still happening.

Mauldin: I’m very happy that the fans in England are so true, rather than fickle.

A-J: Please share how you found out about the plane crash and Buddy’s death. What was your immediate reaction?

Allison: We were living in Clovis at the time and came back home on Feb. 2. The next morning, I was still asleep. Sonny had been sleeping on my folks’ couch and was already awake, talking to my mom. Our friend and neighbor across the street (Oleta Hall) came over and said that she heard that Buddy and the others had been killed in a plane crash. Sonny woke me up immediately. We could not believe it. It’s still hard to believe.

Mauldin: I was at my mother’s house in Lubbock when the telephone rang and woke me up. It was my sister, who asked if I had heard that Buddy was killed in a plane crash. I would not believe her for a long time.

A-J: You and Joe B. had separated from Buddy for a while before his death. Do you think that ya’ll would have gotten back together with Buddy? Was that the plan?

Allison: Buddy, Joe B. and I did our last tour together in October of 1958. During that tour, we all decided we would move to New York City, change managers, start our own publishing company, etc. Joe B. and I flew back to Lubbock, and Buddy drove the Lincoln he’d had on the tour. After a couple of days back in Texas, Joe B. and I decided that New York probably was not the place for us. When Buddy got back, the three of us had a long talk in front of the studio in Clovis. Buddy asked us to reconsider, but he said he understood. We agreed that he would just tour as Buddy Holly, and we could have the name The Crickets. We also agreed that, if it didn’t work out, we would get back together. Sonny rejoined the group (the Crickets), and pretty soon we all decided that there was more to do than what we were doing. So we started trying to reach Buddy. Waylon (Jennings), who played bass for Buddy on his last tour, told me years later that Buddy was not happy and wanted to get back together with the Crickets for a tour of England. Waylon asked about his fate as Buddy’s bass player, and he said Buddy told him, “Bass player? You’re not a bass player. You’re a singer, and you’ll open all our shows in England.”

Mauldin: The night that Buddy was killed, J.I. and I had been trying to call him. Our agreement always was, “If anyone ever wants to get back together, all it takes is a phone call.”

This is the final part in a four-part series.

The Crickets will be honored Saturday for their work with Lubbock-born music legend Buddy Holly, who died in a 1959 plane crash — and for their long history since.

Drummer Jerry “J.I.” Allison, standup bass player Joe B. Mauldin and vocalist Sonny Curtis will enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Niki Sullivan, who was with the Crickets in 1956-57, died from a heart attack at age 66 in 2004.

The three surviving members continue to tour and perform as the Crickets.

No Crickets plan to attend the induction ceremony in Cleveland, which will be videotaped and broadcast in early May on HBO.

An interview with Curtis, also a prolific songwriter, was published Feb. 25 in The Avalanche-Journal and can be found with this story on lubbockonline.com.

The A-J intereviewed Allison and Mauldin recently, and the first discussion was printed Sunday. Today is the third and final installment.

A-J: Joe, what led to you working at Gold Star Studios? Was that a fun period? How long did you work there, and can you recall any of your favorite projects as a recording engineer?

Mauldin: I was good friends with most of the recording musicians in Los Angeles. Some of the producers would call me and ask me to hire certain musicians for their recording sessions. This gave me the opportunity to become friends with Stan Ross and Dave Gold, the owners of Gold Star Studios. They eventually asked me to become an engineer. This led to a long period of working there with people like Leon Russell, Herb Alpert, The Baja Marimba Band, etc. I also did a few movie scores. One of my favorite people to work with was Maureen McGovern.

A-J: J.I., you were able to keep the Crickets’ name after Buddy’s death. Did you encounter any legal problems?

Allison: We never had any problems with Buddy, legal or otherwise. It’s the business folks who cause the problems.

A-J: How long did you stop singing and performing as the Crickets? Was it the late Bill Griggs who got you and Joe B. and Niki Sullivan back together at one of his conventions before he moved to Lubbock?

Allison: After Buddy’s death, we stopped Cricketing and started backing the Everly Brothers for a year or so. We did go to a Bill Griggs convention in Connecticut, and Niki Sullivan was already there. That was the first time all of us had played together in years. At the time, Joe B., Sonny and I were on the road, opening shows for Waylon Jennings and Jessi (Colter).

Mauldin: I stopped performing with the Crickets while I was in the Army and then while I was working at Gold Star. Bill Griggs did not get me back with the Crickets. J.I. called and asked me to come back.

A-J: Joe, tell me what you like working with J.I. as a drummer and Sonny singing. You still have a smooth sound.

Mauldin: J.I., Sonny and I have always been able to work together without trying to out-do each other. They always listen to what I have to say.

A-J: J.I., tell me what you like working with Sonny singing and Joe B. at the standup bass.

Allison: Joe B. has always known just how much to play, never too much nor too little. He has an ideal feel. Sonny always has been a good singer. He sings like himself; that is, he doesn’t try to copy others. Maybe for a while, he copied Red Foley. I first saw Sonny on the “Bernie Howell Show” way back when, and I’m still just as impressed.

A-J: Do you have any family members living in West Texas?

Allison: No, I don’t. But I have a lot of friends out there.

Mauldin: All my family members in Lubbock have either moved or passed away. I have a daughter and her husband living in Tool, and a sister and her husband in Garland.

A-J: Looking back, any regrets? Anything you wish you had done differently?

Allison: There have been uppers and downers, but the uppers beat the others a million to one. It’s been great fun. I think I would have given New York a try. And I would have spent more time hanging out with Jerry Coleman and Tommy Hancock.

Mauldin: I have no regrets. Life has been good to me and my family.

A-J: What are your very favorite songs from the Buddy and the Crickets catalog, the tunes you still love to play the most?

Allison: “That’ll Be the Day.” It is the first song Buddy and I wrote together, and it also created gigs for us that were bigger than the roller rink on College Avenue. Plus, I’ll always love “Everyday.” That, to me, is the perfect song.

Mauldin: My top five, in order: “Oh Boy,” “Maybe Baby,” “Peggy Sue,” “True Love Ways” and “That’ll Be the Day.”

A-J: Jerry, among all the entertainers who have covered songs by Buddy & The Crickets, does any one stand out as a favorite?

Allison: I love to hear recordings of the old songs. But you cannot beat the Beatles.

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