Bill Haley & His Comets

1950's Rock & Roll Revival [Kama Sutra]

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This live album, cut at the Bitter End (and not the Felt Forum as the original LP release claimed), is one of two concert discs drawn from Bill Haley's three shows at the Bitter End on Dec. 16, 1969. Taken together or on their own, they're roughly the Haley equivalent of what The Chuck Berry London Sessions was to Berry, except that neither album yielded a No. 1 hit. But they didn't need to -- all they showed was that Bill Haley and His Comets were still near their top form. Tenor saxman Rudy Pompili is the only original band member with Haley, but that's all he needed, with a competent rhythm section and a lead guitarist (Nick Masters) who could learn Danny Cedrone's and Franny Beecher's licks and style. Masters does such a good job with Pompili that they rescue "Razzle Dazzle" from the terminal dorkiness afflicting its opening bars and make it sound like something cool, and they make pieces like "Rock A Beatin' Boogie" sound fresh and exciting as well. The group also displayed a slight tendency to pander to current fashion, with drummer Bill Nolte taking a somewhat overly long solo on "Wipeout," but that's the only real flaw on what is, overall, a very satisfying set, only missing a few key numbers to make it a classic. This album also featured other acts from the Richard Nader show, including Shep and the Limelites, etc. [See also Bill Haley Scrapbook (Live).]

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