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Rock Around the Clock

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Album Review

If this reissue doesn't confirm precisely how cool Bill Haley was — yes, Bill Haley, checkered jacket, spit curl, and all — then nothing will. The first great LP of the rock & roll era, Rock Around the Clock never got the recognition it deserved from historians, mostly owing to the neglect that attached itself to Bill Haley in the decades after his heyday, and the fact that its biggest hits were parceled out to various compilations. Now it's back, a little more than 48 years after its first appearance, and it never sounded better; indeed, the only time it sounded fresher was in late 1955 and early 1956, when its music was all new to most listeners. On the 2004 remastered edition, even the triangle on "A.B.C. Boogie" comes out in sharp relief, and Danny Cedrone's guitar solo is almost in the room with you, and that's practically the least of the songs here. Frannie Beecher handled most of the guitar action on the album, and he soars on "Happy Baby" and "Birth of the Boogie," among other cuts here — even people who aren't sold on Haley have to class this as one of the first great white guitar records ever released, and Billy Gussack's drumming is also worth the price of admission. The three bonus cuts, "R-O-C-K," "The Saints Rock & Roll," and "See You Later, Alligator," are an excellent match for the original dozen songs and just extend the driving, exciting beat of the LP by another eight minutes, which makes it all the more valuable. The sound matches the quality of the Bear Family box covering this period in Haley's career.

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Rock Around the Clock, Bill Haley & His Comets
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