Original Band - Still Rockin' Around The Clock (Rollin' Rock Cd103)

Original Band

By Adriaan Sturm

When Ronny Weiser started his Rollin' Rock label in the early Seventies, with a series of rockabilly albums by Ray Campi, Mac Curtis and Jackie Lee Cochran, he could not have imagined that one day he would be recording the band that started it all. However, that is exactly what happened in the summer of 1999, when five musicians, who played with Bill Haley under the name The Comets, carried their instruments into the Rollin' Rock Studio in Las Vegas. Teenagers when they were members of Bill Haley's Comets, all have aged but the music - THEIR music - is still as fresh and exuberant as in the Fifties. This cannot be attributed to the use of Max Daffner's authentic 1950's drums on the session but is simply a credit to their enthusiasm for original Rock & Roll music.

"The Comets are the friendliest and most enthusiastic cats you'll ever meet," according to Ronny Weiser. From the opening with "Rock Around The Clock," the song that started it all, to the closing with "The Saints Go Rock 'n' Roll," Haley's equal employment opportunity rocker, this CD provides close to an hour of rock 'n' roll music played the way they did back when. You may have heard it all before, although Bill Haley's hits never received the endless cover versions like "Blue Suede Shoes," "Johnny B Goode" and "Hound Dog" did (just to mention a few) and that is probably why this CD sounds so refreshing. The slappin' bass, the honkin' sax and the rimshots on the drums create the same excitement on "Rock A Beatin' Boogie," "See You Later Alligator" and "Rock The Joint" as they did on the original recordings. Joey D'Ambrosio, the sax man, not only shows his stuff in "Joe's Rockin'" he also is featured on vocals in three non-Haley songs, "Hey Baba Reba," "Wonderful World" and a superb version of "The House Is Rockin'."

Vocals by Jacko Buddin on the Haley songs are more than adequate but Bill Haley's music always relied more on musicians who were capable of laying down the famous beat than vocals, and the CD appropriately closes with a tune forever associated with The Comets. "The Saints Go Rock 'n' Roll" gives every musician the opportunity to show his stuff. There is the razor-sharp guitar break by Franny Beecher, a great honkin' sax by Joey D'Ambrosio, the solid bass by Marshall Lytle, swinging boogie woogie on the ivories by Johnny Grande and carrying it all, the tight drumming of Dick Richards. Now well into their sixties and seventies, these guys still now how to rock.

Copyright problems forced Ronny Weiser to use The Original Band instead of The Comets. Let me tell you, the group touring as The Comets these days may own the name but the guys on this CD own the music! They played with Bill Haley on all his hits from 1952 through 1962, and they are "Still Rockin' Around The Clock" today. Released in December of 1999, this is one of the best authentic rock 'n' roll CDs of the year! ( Available from rockronny@aol.com or rockabillyron@yahoo.com )

Adriaan Sturm EMail : Zeeuw@aol.com Web Site : http://members.aol.com/Zeeuw/Rockville.htm