Bill Rocks

Bill Rocks

by Bill HaleyBill Haley


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Elvis was sexier, Gene Vincent was wilder, Eddie Cochran and Carl Perkins were better guitar players, Chuck Berry wrote better songs, Little Richard had a much better fashion sense, and Wanda Jackson had better legs. It didn't take long after Bill Haley's run of hits began in 1954 for the first white rock & roll star to start looking like the good-natured square he was at heart, but he did have two things going for him -- he genuinely liked the music, and he led a hell of a band that could conjure up an emphatic backbeat that's still a kick to hear. There are literally dozens of Bill Haley compilations on the market, but Bear Family's Bill Rocks offers a bit more of a historical overview than most; it's dominated by Haley's classic sides for Decca, where he cut his biggest hits, but also offers a few examples of his earlier Essex Records material, including the brilliant 1952 recordings of "Rock the Joint" and "Real Rock Drive" that first found Haley introducing his Western swing band to R&B and cutting a solid groove (in fact, Haley sounds more natural and less mannered as a rock belter on the Essex material than he did on many of his later hits). And while no one would accuse Bill Haley & His Comets of being the coolest band on Earth, these 31 songs show they were a tight, rollicking outfit full of energy and with chops to spare (especially guitarists Danny Cedrone and Frank Beecher), and these tunes will still fill a dancefloor at proper volume. While some of the pre-Decca tracks have been rescued from old discs and sound like it, the sizable majority of the material has been remastered with care and sounds terrific, and Colin Escott's excellent liner essay tells Haley's story with skill and concision. 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Bill Haley & His Comets is a budget-priced compilation that features Haley's biggest hits with fine sonics, and it will certainly do for casual fans, but if you want a more complete single-disc overview of Bill Haley's brief but important era in the spotlight, Bill Rocks is an excellent choice that lives up to its title.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/17/2006
Label: Bear Family
UPC: 4000127168078
catalogNumber: 16807
Rank: 74006

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bill Haley   Primary Artist,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Franny Beecher   Guitar
Cliff Leeman   Drums
Rex   Bass,Double Bass
Art Ryerson   Guitar
Rusty Keefer   Vocals
Danny Cedrone   Guitar
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
Bob Scaltrito   Guitar
Ralph Jones Band   Drums
Tony Lance   Baritone Saxophone

Technical Credits

Bill Haley   Arranger,Composer
Denver Darling   Composer
Jackie Brenston   Composer
Jimmy DeKnight   Composer
Colin Escott   Liner Notes,Biographical Information
Milt Gabler   Arranger,Composer,Producer
David Miller   Producer
Winfield Scott   Composer
Rusty Keefer   Arranger,Composer
Johnny Grande   Composer
Marshall Lytle   Composer
Danny Overbea   Composer
Rudy Pompilli   Composer
Billy Williamson   Composer
Vaughn Horton   Composer
Beverly "Ruby" Ross   Composer
Bill Millar   Reissue Producer
R.A. Andreas   Illustrations
Fred Karger   Composer
Robert Guidry   Composer
Max Spickel   Composer
Catherine Cafra   Composer
Julius Edward Dixon   Composer
Max Freedman   Composer
Charles E. Calhoun   Composer
Erich Hülsenbeck   Photo Restoration,Photo Scanning
Andreas Merck   Photo Scanning
Frank Pingatore   Composer

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