The Decca Years & More

The Decca Years & More

by Bill Haley & His CometsBill Haley & His Comets

CD(Box Set)

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Any casual listener looking over this 132-track five-CD set would probably conclude that it was far more Bill Haley than they need bite off in one gulp -- and they'd be right, as casual listeners. For the serious rock & roll enthusiast, as well as the hardcore Bill Haley fan, however, there's a wealth of worthwhile material to be found here, some of which will amaze even those fans: a dozen great songs and 55 or so more that are good, and another 20 that are fascinating mistakes, and that's a good average for an artist who is generally thought of as having generated just a handful of important records. What Haley had most of all was a distinctive sound -- between the backbeat, the country boogie roots, and the R&B sources -- that pretty much defined white rock & roll for almost its first two years (until Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins emerged in the spring of 1956); the first two CDs here offer that sound in abundance. They offer Haley's complete recordings from April 12, 1954 (the session that yielded "Rock Around the Clock"), until July 15, 1957, capturing an urgent, creative, and exciting era in the music and the band's output, when they seemingly couldn't help but make good records. The first 40 songs in the box are a reminder of a time when Haley and company were still very much in the game, with Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and more in the front ranks of rock & roll (although, to be fair, the later sides on the second disc show them losing that game). Discs three and four's chronology cover the group's decline in 1958-1959, as they careened from one especially disastrous idea (the Rockin' Around the World album) through some good, thumping rock & roll that just happened to be out of date in 1958 (in the guise of "Skinny Minnie"), then into a movie-related musical liaison with Caterina Valente, and to their final sessions for Decca. That was a point where Haley and his band got back some of their vitality and creativity and cut some better-than-decent rock & roll, tagging on his good 1964 single "Green Door" and a pair of 1958 vintage demos. Disc five is a fascinating bonus, a 62-minute assembly of excerpts from two complete recording sessions in January 1959 working their way back to a body of musically (if not commercially) viable, solid rock & roll on numbers like "A Fool Such As I" and "I Got a Woman." In addition to the usual excellent Bear Family mastering job, the box offers a very nicely designed booklet by rockabilly scholar Colin Escott, and one of the better accounts of Haley's overall career up through 1964. The price may be steep, but most of what's here -- and most of it isn't easily found anywhere else, or organized as neatly where it does show up -- will appeal to anyone who ever took a closer listen on their own to "Rock Around the Clock," just to pick up on what's going on inside of it between the boogie-woogie beat and the string-bending by Danny Cedrone. The total immersion that it allows in the work of Haley, Cedrone's successor, Frannie Beecher, and saxman Rudy Pompilli will delight those listeners who have the budget to afford it.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/31/1994
Label: Bear Family
UPC: 4000127155061
catalogNumber: 15506
Rank: 106246


Disc 1

  1. Rock Around the Clock
  2. Thirteen Women
  3. Shake, Rattle and Roll
  4. ABC Boogie
  5. Happy Baby
  6. Dim, Dim the Lights
  7. Birth of the Boogie
  8. Mambo Rock
  9. Two Hound Dogs
  10. Razzle Dazzle
  11. R-O-C-K
  12. Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie
  13. The Saints Rock and Roll
  14. Burn That Candle
  15. See You Later, Alligator
  16. The Paper Boy (On Main Street, U.S.A.)
  17. Goofin' Around
  18. Rudy's Rock
  19. Hide the Seek
  20. Hey Then, There Now
  21. Tonight's the Night
  22. Hook, Line and Sinker
  23. Blue Home Blues
  24. Calling All Comets
  25. Choo Choo Ch'boogie
  26. A Rockin' Little Tune
  27. Hot Dog Buddy Buddy
  28. Rockin' Through the Rye

Disc 2

  1. Don't Knock the Rock
  2. Teenager's Mother
  3. Rip It Up
  4. Don't Knock the Rock
  5. Forty Cups of Coffee
  6. Miss You
  7. (You Hit the Wrong Note) Billy Goat
  8. Rockin' Rollin' Rover
  9. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
  10. You Can't Stop Me from Dreaming
  11. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter
  12. Rock Lomond
  13. Is It True What They Say About Dixie?
  14. Carolina in the Morning
  15. The Dipsy Doodle
  16. Ain't Misbehavin'
  17. The Break Speaks
  18. Moon over Miami
  19. One Sweet Letter from You
  20. (I'll Be With You in) Apple Blossom Time
  21. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place
  22. How Many?
  23. Move It on Over
  24. Rock the Joint
  25. Rip It Up

Disc 3

  1. Me Rock a Hula
  2. Rockin' Rita
  3. Jamaica D.J.
  4. Piccadilly Rock
  5. Pretty Alouette
  6. Rockin' Rollin' Schnitzlebank
  7. Rockin' Matilda
  8. Vive le Rock and Roll
  9. It's a Sin
  10. Mary, Mary Lou
  11. El Rocko
  12. Come Rock with Me
  13. Oriental Rock
  14. Wooden Shoe Rock
  15. The Walkin' Beat
  16. Skinny Minnie
  17. Sway with Me
  18. Lean Jean
  19. Don't Nobody Move
  20. Joey's Song
  21. Chiquita Linda
  22. Dinah
  23. Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider
  24. Whoa Mabel!
  25. Marie
  26. Eloise
  27. Corrine, Corrina
  28. Joey's Song

Disc 4

  1. Corrine, Corrina
  2. B.B. Betty
  3. Sweet Sue, Just You
  4. Charmaine
  5. Vive le Rock and Roll
  6. Hot Dog Buddy Buddy
  7. The Dragon Rock
  8. A.B.C. Rock
  9. The Cat Walk
  10. I Got a Woman
  11. (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I
  12. Be by Me
  13. Where Did You Go Last Night
  14. Caldonia
  15. Shaky
  16. Ooh! Look-A-There, Ain't She Pretty?
  17. (Thanks for the) Summer Souvenirs
  18. Puerto Rican Peddlar
  19. Music, Music, Music
  20. Skokiaan
  21. Drowsy Waters
  22. Two Shadows
  23. In a Little Spanish Town
  24. Strictly Instrumental
  25. Mack the Knife
  26. The Green Door
  27. Yeah, She's Evil!
  28. Football Rock and Roll
  29. Six Year-Old Can Rock and Roll

Disc 5

  1. Dragon Rock
  2. Dragon Rock
  3. Dragon Rock
  4. Dragon Rock
  5. ABC Rock
  6. ABC Rock
  7. The Catwalk
  8. I Got a Woman
  9. I Got a Woman
  10. I Got a Woman
  11. I Got a Woman
  12. I Got a Woman
  13. I Got a Woman
  14. (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I
  15. (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I
  16. Be by Me
  17. Be by Me ...
  18. Be by Me
  19. Where Did You Go Last Night
  20. Where Did You Go Last Night
  21. Where Did You Go Last Night
  22. Where Did You Go Last Night

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bill Haley & His Comets   Primary Artist
Bill Haley   Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Caterina Valente   Vocals
Joey Welz   Piano
Franny Beecher   Guitar
Panama Francis   Drums
Ralph Jones   Drums
Cliff Leeman   Drums
Rappa   Bass
Rex   Bass,Drums
Frank Scott   Tenor Saxophone
Rusty Keefer   Guitar,Vocals
Danny Cedrone   Guitar
Comet Trio   Vocals
Joey d'Ambrosio   Tenor Saxophone
Johnny Grande   Piano,Accordion
Billy Gussack   Drums
Marshall Lytle   Double Bass
Pompilli   Bass Guitar
Rudy Pompilli   Tenor Saxophone
Dick Richards   Tom-Tom
Billy Williamson   Steel Guitar

Technical Credits

Ray Charles   Composer
Bill Haley   Arranger,Composer
Milt Gabler   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Eddie Leonard   Composer
Rusty Keefer   Arranger,Composer
Milt Gambler   Arranger,Producer
Sam M. Lewis   Composer
Hoffmann Nienburg   Artwork
Richard Weize   Reissue Producer
Joe Young   Composer
Harry Akst   Composer
Renald Richard   Composer
Catherine Cafra   Arranger,Composer
Eddie Munson   Composer
Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson   Composer

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