He Rocked Country. Then Rocked Around the Clock
By the time he worked the rock 'n' roll seam, Bill Haley was a seasoned performer. This collection covers items made by Haley between 1948 and 1953. He was born William Haley in July 1925, in Detroit. In the 1930s to avoid unemployment, Haley's father took the family to Pennsylvania. They settled near Chester. The young Bill had plenty of music around him; his father played banjo and his mother was a pianist. When Bill made a guitar out of cardboard, his parents bought him a real one. Bill taught himself to yodel, and learnt guitar by trial and error while listening to the radio. By 1938 he was playing in public. A local celebrity, Cousin Lee, signed Bill to his amusement park, where the young singer built up a following. He answered a Billboard ad for a singer/yodeller to replace a newly-drafted singer in The Downhomers. He got the job. In 1946, Bill and two others left to form their own band. It failed. Haley returned home. He got a job as a DJ on local radio. Bill formed a new band - The Four Aces Of Western Swing. By 1948 they were playing two radio shows a day. Having made a few records, they broke up. Bill formed a new band - the Saddlemen. In 1951 they recorded several tracks for Essex Records one of which was Rocket 88, Jackie Brenston's R&B hit. Bill was certainly doing something new. Though embedded in country music, Bill kept an interest in R&B. He adapted the lyrics of Rock The Joint and performed it at live shows. In March 1952, he recorded it - as the B-side of a disc whose A-side was infallibly country - Icy Heart. Half way through a trip promoting Icy Heart, Bill got a call. Rock The Joint had taken off. He was told push the B-side.' A watershed had been reached. The Saddlemen dumped the cowboy gear. Enter The Comets. Bill signed to Decca. He would have a string of hits worldwide. This set shows how vital country music was to Rock 'n' Roll and how Bill Haley was a link in that process.
Label: JSP Records
Release Date: 09/16/08
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