Bill Doggett

Greatest Hits

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At his best, Bill Doggett's organ- and sax-driven instrumentals were languid, suggestive bits of brilliance that approached rock & roll, while at the other end of things, Doggett's output often fell into a uninspired sort of poppy cocktail jazz, which is why the brief Greatest Hits collection of his most successful sides for King Records is actually a pretty good bet. Too short to have any filler, Greatest Hits includes Doggett's 1956 hit "Honky Tonk," which pretty much set the template for the other strong tracks here, including "Hold It," "Slow Walk," and "Smokie." Each of these sides builds a sort of tightrope tension out of strong, blues-based riffs that are as deliberate as they are infectious, and Doggett never really came closer to the sun than this. Greatest Hits is barely 20 minutes long, but it casts Doggett in the best possible light, and is arguably all you really need.

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