Bill Haley – The Early Years 1947-1954 – 2CD
Bill Haley has been described as the founding father of Rock 'n' Roll. However, those teenagers who in the middle 1950s avidly purchased the latest Bill Haley & His Comets records would fairly certainly have had no idea that the man was already a seasoned performer who had appeared in the studios as early as 1946.
This collection presents recordings Bill Haley made between 1948 and 1954, when he was honing his style and transforming himself from cowboy performer to Rock 'n' Roll star.
With the exception of a few proto-rockers such as "Rocket 88", "Rock The Joint" and "Crazy, Man, Crazy", strictly speaking the majority of the recordings here are Western Swing, Hillbilly Boogie and straight Country performances but we've categorized the set as Rock 'n' Roll because that's where everyone would expect to find a Bill Haley album.
Included in this collection are four numbers by fellow label artist, Ray Whitley; Bill's versions of three of these pieces also appear here.
Bill Haley feat the Four Aces of Western Swing: 1. Too Many Parties, Too Many Pals - 3:18 2. Four Leaf Clover Blues - 2:47 3. Candy Kisses - 2:40 4. Tennessee Border - 2:37 5. The Covered Wagon Rolled Right Along - 3:01 6. Yodel Your Blues Away - 2:51 7. Behind the Eight Ball - 2:40 8. Foolish Questions - 2:30 Bill Haley feat His Saddlemen: 9. Deal Me a Hand - 3:01 10. Ten Gallon Stetson - 2:27 11. Susan Van Dusen - 2:48 12. I'm Not to Blame - 3:00 13. Loveless Blues - 2:30 14. Stand Up and Be Counted - 2:47 15. I'm Gonna Dry Every Tear with a Kiss - 2:16 16. Why Do I Cry Over You - 2:27 17. My Sweet Little Girl from Nevada - 2:24 18. My Palomino and I - 2:38 19. Rocket 88 - 2:31 20. Tearstains on My Heart - 2:48 21. Down Deep in My Heart - 3:11 22. Green Tree Boogie - 2:47 Bill Haley feat Bill & Loretta & The Saddlemen: 23. I'm Crying - 2:40 24. Pretty Baby - 2:21 Bill Haley feat Ray Whitley: 25. Ten Gallon Stetson - 3:04
Bill Haley & His Saddlemen: 1. A Year Ago This Christmas - 2:35 2. I Don't Want to Be Alone This Christmas - 2:31 3. Juke Box Cannonball - 2:19 4. Sundown Boogie - 2:30 5. Rock the Joint - 2:16 6. Icy Heart - 2:57 7. Dance with a Dolly - 2:31 8. Rocking Chair on the Moon - 2:54 Bill Haley feat Lou Graham & The Saddlemen: 9. I'm Lonesome - 2:49 10. A Sweet Bunch of Roses - 2:43 11. Please Make Up Your Fickle Mind - 2:18 12. My Heart Tells Me (I'm in Love with You) - 2:37 Bill Haley & His Comets: 13 Stop Beatin' Around the Mulberry Bush - 2:25 14. Real Rock Drive - 2:21 15. Crazy Man, Crazy - 2:41 16. Whatcha Gonna Do - 2:31 17. Pat-A-Cake - 2:21 18. Fractured - 2:11 19. Live It Up - 2:53 20. Farewell, So Long, Goodbye - 2:20 21. I'll Be True - 2:07 22. Ten Little Indians - 1:56 23. Yes Indeed - 2:22 24. Chattanooga Choo Choo - 2:14 25. Straight Jacket - 2:48 Bill Haley feat Ray Whitley: 26. Jukebox Cannonball - 2:44 27. Within This Broken Heart of Mine - 2:51
1. AllMusic - Steve Leggett
Although remembered for his 1955 single "Rock Around the Clock," which fired rock & roll's first clear shot across the bow of pop music, Bill Haley's initial recordings actually appeared a decade earlier on the Cowboy Records label. Specializing in a sort of polka-country-swing -- a style that combined accordions with pedal steel -- Cowboy released Haley's first single, "Candy Kisses," in 1948. Nearly 50 such early Haley tracks appear here, and while these cuts display some verve and energy, and even some yodeling, don't expect anything much like proto-rock & roll, even though it's tempting to look for it (and therefore see it, since no one wants to feel like it isn't hiding there somewhere). Oh, Bill Haley & the Four Aces of Western Swing (or Bill Haley & His Saddlemen, or any of Haley's other band incarnations) do tend to edge up the beat a little, and there's a predilection for boogie-woogie styling, but it isn't exactly rock & roll. Or is it? Tracks like "Rocket 88" really do stand directly at a crossroads. This generous two-disc, 53-track box presents Haley's early work (along with four tracks by fellow Cowboy recording artist Ray Whitley, who, interestingly enough, played James Dean's character's manager in Dean's last film, Giant), spanning 1947 to 1954 and brings everything right up to the doorstep of rock & roll. Haley knew what audiences wanted (and they wanted him to push the beat) and he always had his ear to the ground. What he heard in the collision of Western swing and boogie-woogie was "Rock Around the Clock." The rest, as they say, is history.