Thursday, September 5, 2013

Song of the Week: Bill Haley & His Comets - Razzle-Dazzle

Whack-a-doo-a-whack-a-doo! Bill Haley is one of the most influential figures in rock-n-roll history. But he doesn't seem to make it onto the Mt. Rockmore carvings like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. Perhaps it was his relatively senior age of 30 when he recorded Rock Around The Clock, or his tartan dinner jacket, his comb-over, or his relatively tame demeanor. One thing is for sure: Bill Haley was the first caucasian musician to consciously record a rock-n-roll record with his 1953 recording of his original tune, Crazy, Man, Crazy. 1953! Stop and think about that. 1953. His groundbreaking recording of Rock Around The Clock came out the next year in 1954.

Today we take a listen to his 1955 recording of a Charles Calhoun penned number called Razzle Dazzle. It's a swinging little number with some beautifully ridiculous back-up vocals (whack-a-doo-a-whack-a-doo). One of the reasons this is on the top 3 list of my favorite Bill Haley recordings is the stunning guitar work from lead guitarist, Franny Beecher. Do not overlook this great jazz influenced guitar work. Holy crow that guy could play. But more than just play, Beecher successfully lifts the song up from a good number to a great number. And just as important is the top-notch production on the recording. Every instrument is distinct and clear and nicely balanced. It may be hard to hear on crappy little lap-top speakers, but pay particular attention to the slap bass work of Al Rex Marshall Lytle. It is more clear and distinct than most recordings of a bass for another 10+ years when people like Charles Mingus would make recording the bass their hallmark.
That's all I have to say this week. Have a good one and also enjoy the video below of Bill Haley and His Comets performing Razzle Dazzle. Don't Go out there, they'll crucify you!
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. I have to make a correction on your information. Although Al Rex appears in the film clip, he is in fact miming to Marshall Lytle's playing on the original record. That's Lytle on bass in the main photo. Where did you find that picture? I've never seen that image from the Ed Sullivan Show performance before!

  2. Thanks for the correction Anonymous. Marshall Lytle gets the nod for the bass work, Al Rex for looking cool in the photo. The photo came off of Google. Come on back sometime soon, anonymous. We've got some more rockabilly on here. Like Sid King and His Five Strings.

  3. Hello,
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