Review: Bill Haley, Rock Around The Clock

New retrospective collects 30 tracks from the kiss-curl king, with probably the best jazz guitar solos on pop records until Alan Murphy came along

ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK (Retrospective 4251). Haley (g, v); Danny Cedrone, Franny Beecher (g); Cliff Leeman, Panama Francis (d) and others. NY, 1951-56. *****

We know why this is here – deep, infectious swing with a distinctive character, mostly in the slap bass and drum rhythm. The guitar playing – especially for what is nominally a pop record – is highly accomplished, hardly bettered in pop until perhaps the 1980s by people such as Allan Murphy in Go West. Players in both cases knew about jazz, here Danny Cedrone (that amphetamine Rock Around The Clock solo) and Franny Beecher (former Goodman sideman and Christian is palpable), the latter spotlighted on the instrumental Goofin’ Around (check the YouTube video). It’s an excellent package, completed by discography, chart history and a clear-sighted essay from Peter Dempsey. (Mark Gilbert)

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