sold a million copies within a monthof release and was the first
Comets record to feature Ralph
Jones on drums. He would now replace Gussack on the
remaining Decca recordings.
Rudy Pompilli, the Comets sax player supreme was
showcased on the follow up instrumental release 'Rudy's Rock'.
The song would feature in the film 'Rock Around
The Clock' later in 1956. On 'Goofin' Around' Frank "Franny" Beecher's
wonderful lead guitar playing is used to full effect.
However having just left the Benny Goodman band, Bill
thought some of his riffs a bit to jazzy. A quiet
word or two and Beecher adapted his playing to suit the
Comets sound. Rudy and Franny would complement each other
perfectly on 'Calling
All Comets' another
instrumental triumph. It is obvious to jazz fans who
listen to these recordings how much the arrangements owe
to Louis Jordan and His Timpany Five, a group Milt Gabler
had recorded some years earlier. Indeed Haley's next
release was Jordan's old hit 'Choo Choo Ch'Boogie'. Meanwhile the hits kept on coming
Dog Buddy Buddy', a
phrase Bill had heard the kids using at his shows
& Roll Stage Show
. . & the concept albums
The songs mentioned above along with 'Rockin' Through The
Rye', 'A Rocking Little
Tune', 'Hide and Seek', 'Hey Then , There Now', 'Hook, Line and Sinker', 'Blue Comet Blues' (another outstanding instrumental) and 'Tonight's The Night', were all featured on the album 'Rock and Roll Stage
Show'. This record was
one of the very first 'concept' albums. The aim was to
provide listeners with a taste of what a 'Bill Haley
& the Comets' show was really like. Opening
with an instrumental, followed by a vocal number by Bill,
then another instrumental and then a vocal by Billy
Williamson and the rest of the band. As stated in the
original album notes 'These are the tunes that
highlight the current Bill Haley Rock n' Roll stage show,
fresh, original explosive tunes, performed with that
lustrous, always-in-motion excitement that brings the
happy, swinging Rock n' Roll party right into your own
living room!' This was truly the very first
Rock & Roll Band with each member of the group
playing a vital part in creating this new form of popular
The next big project on the horizon was the bands next
feature film 'Don't Knock The Rock'. As
well as performing the title track Bill and the band
performed an excellent version of 'Rip It Up', a song that would feature in their live
shows for the next 20 years.
March 1957 the sessions for their next album took
The Oldies . . .
was an intriguing idea that produced some fine
performances. Why not take some well known songs
from the past 20 or 30 years and add a modern rock &
roll beat? Presumably the idea was to attract the
older generation to the music whilst still retaining the
youth interest. Particularly good were Bill's
performances on 'You Can't Stop Me From Dreaming' and 'One Sweet Letter From You'. Due to the fact Rudy Pompilli had
fallen ill after a grueling European tour he was replaced
on these sessions by tenor sax player Frank Scott.
Rudy must have been eternally grateful to Scott for
standing in for him on one of the bands less notable
Rollin' Rover', a song
about a puppy who alternately wags his tail, wiggles his
ears and taps his paw in time with the music! Perhaps
Bill was harking back to his earlier days when he drew on
childrens nursery rhymes for inspiration. In my view, the
songs only saving grace is Scotts excellent sax solo.
Four months later,
with Rudy back to full strength, they cut three great
tracks that marked a return to Bill's Country and Western
roots. The Hank Williams tune 'Move It On Over', 'How Many?' a lovely country
ballad (Bill would return to record twice more) with a
fine sax solo by Rudy and finally 'New Rock The Joint' an update of his 1952 hit.
'Move It On Over' features the Comets at
their best, Frank Beechers fluid guitar playing between
each chorus along with Bill's forceful vocal add up to an
archetypal Bill Haley and The Comets performance.
Rockin' Around The World . . .
became the next album project in November '57.
Twelve songs were recorded each one was meant to
represent a different country. By this time the
band had toured most of the world and the sessions began
soon after their return from Jamaica.
Although the initial concept was a good one, some of the
material left a lot to be desired. But even in the weaker
songs the bands playing is never less than perfect.
One highlight of this release is 'Jamaica D.J.' with a wonderful vocal by Billy Williamson
complete with fake Jamaican accent! Bill is in great form
Rock-a-Hula', 'Rockin' Matilda' and 'Pretty Alouette'.
With the album completed, the band
recorded their next single release. Again Bill returned
to a country flavoured ballad, 'It's A Sin' dating from 1947. A nice arrangement
featuring a fine sax solo by Rudy. This was backed by a
great up-tempo rocker 'Mary, Mary Lou'. With this song the 'Comets' return to
their roots and all the old 'riffs' and 'licks' come into
play, complete with a slightly revised reprise of the
final instrumental 'Rock Around The Clock' chorus.
My Skinny Minnie is a Crazy Chick !