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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Bill Haley - Destination Rock and Roll! Re-upped! Twice!

Side One:
01. Rocket '88'
02. Green Tree Boogie
03. Rock The Joint
04. Rocking Chair On the Moon
05. Real Rock Drive
06. Crazy Man, Crazy

Side Two:
01. Wat'cha Gonna Do
02. Fractured
03. Live It Up!
04. Farewell, So Long, Good-Bye
05. I'll Be True
06. Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Original release details:

01. Rocket '88' - Bill Haley and The Saddlemen - Holiday 105 - July 1951

02. Green Tree Boogie - Bill Haley and The Saddlemen - Holiday 108 - August 1951

03. Rock The Joint - Bill Haley with The Saddlemen - Essex 303 - April 1952

04. Rocking Chair On the Moon - Bill Haley with The Saddlemen - Essex 305 - August 1952

05. Real Rock Drive - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 310 - January 1953

06. Crazy Man, Crazy - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 321 - April 1953

07. Whatcha Gonna Do - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 321 - April 1953

08. Fractured - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 327 - June 1953

09. Live It Up! - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 332 - September 1953

10. Farewell - So Long - Good-Bye - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 332 - September 1953

11. I'll Be True - Bill Haley and His Comets - Essex 340 - December 1953

12. Chattanooga Choo-Choo - Bill Haley and Haley's Comets - Essex 348 - March 1954

There have been a few requests for Bill Haley to be re-upped to the blog, so I've decided to kick off with this compilation of some of his pre-Decca sides on the small Holiday and Essex labels.

"Destination Rock and Roll!" is a home-made compilation with the front cover art adapted from a series of Essex EP covers, and the back cover ripped off from a Decca EP.

I chose the 12 tracks to illustrate the transformation of Bill Haley's music from Countrified covers of R&B hits to a heavily R&B influenced sound which kind of accidentally ended up as Rock 'n' Roll, if for the purposes of this post we define Rock 'n' Roll as the white version of Rhythm and Blues. Yep, as far as I can make out, Bill Haley invented Rock 'n' Roll. Or maybe it was Jimmy Cavallo. It definitely wasn't that Johnny-come-lately down in Memphis 'cos Bill had been rockin' for a couple of years before Elvis hauled his ass into Sam Phillip's studio and luckily for the big E, Sam had the foresight to team him up with Scotty Moore and Bill Black.

Just kidding - I really dig early Elvis and no one person "invented" Rock 'n' Roll (which I am capitalizing today just because I can). But it must be said that Bill Haley rarely received the credit he deserved when the time came to write the history of where and how and why that music came about.

I wrote a very extensive post for "Destination Rock and Roll!" back in August 2011 which you can read here:

I entreat you all, if you count yourselves as true fans of Rock 'n' Roll, to click on the link and dig Bill and his role in the development of the music to which we still groove, sixty-five years on.

That post has a selection of label and cover shots supplied by Joan K. The sound files on "Destination Rock and Roll!" were also supplied by Joan. They were ripped from original 1950s vinyl singles and EPs, so there is surface noise on quite a few of the tracks. For this post I have put together a second version of the compilation, using non-original audio sources (ahem). Both versions contain a folder of Joan's scans of the original 1950s artwork.

Original vinyl ripped version here:

New version with less surface noise here:

More Bill Haley re-ups coming soon!


Bob Mac said...

I remember back in the early 1950s my parents bought a new radiogram and the store told them they could select 4 LP records to play on their new radiogram. So my mum chose a couple classical records, and a bagpipe record for my old man, and a Bill Haley & The Comets 10" LP for my brother and I. Rock & Roll had only just appeared and Bill Haley sounded so wild and exciting. I can remember shaking my skinny legs to "Crazy Man Crazy" and "1 Little, 2 Little 3 Little Indians".

BTW: Those radiograms were great pieces of furniture, well crafted from solid quality timbers. Some years ago I found one in an auction and tossed out the broken record player and turned it into a cocktail cabinet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Be Bop

boogiewoody said...

Hi Bob

Yeah, I remember an upright radiogram which belonged to my grandparents and which my parents "inherited" in the early 1960s. It was a beautiful piece of furniture, kind of art deco in style, although it must have been made in the 1950s as I'm pretty sure it could play 45s. The pick up was heavy and took needles as it was primarily designed to play 78s.

The record player was on top, and the knobs, speaker and radio dial were in the front. I think it had a walnut veneer. Ah, the radio dials of those days, glowing warmly and with stations like Hilversum, Athlone, Normandie, Luxembourg, Saarbruecken, etc. Faraway places with strange sounding names!

Don Rocin said...

Outstanding package Be Bop, thank you. Also appreciated the detail in your 'Destination' post.
Rock The Joint is a favourite of mine as much for Billy Williamson's solo as Danny Cedrone's. Where did Williamson learn his chops before joining up with Haley? He's such a fine player but have never seen him credited on any tracks before Rocket 88.

boogiewoody said...

Hi Don - I can't find any info on Billy Williamson playing in a band before The Saddlemen. Jim Dawson in his book "Rock Around The Clock" opines that Billy Williamson was influenced by Joaquin Murphy of Spade Cooley's band and Speedy West of Tennessee Ernie Ford's studio group. Williamson himself favoured Little Roy Wiggins who backed Eddy Arnold.

Don Rocin said...

Thanks boogiewoody, I'll check these guys out.

Anonymous said...

Crazy, Man, Crazy! Thanks! Great blog! - Stinky

Chi-Town said...