Phil Haley and the Comments with Gina Haley – Rock & Roll Lifestyle
Press Tone Music International – PCD 28
Rock & Roll Lifestyle – One Step Away – Thirteen Men – Chick Safari – Mockingbird Hill – Dance Me – Farewell, So Long Goodbye – Jealous Heart – Later – Hawk – Tell Me – Rock My Baby – Loveless Blues – Come Rock With Me – Happy Baby – Are You Lonesome Tonight
It was inevitable. One day or another, the finest purveyors of the Big beat, Phil Haley and the Comments, should meet Bill Haley’s daughter, Gina. Not only they met, but thanks to Press Tone, it materialized on records. The album is split in two. One half features Phil and his band and finds them in fine form with no less than five originals played in the style of the real king of Rock’n’roll. They also cover Bill Haley’s Come Rock With Me, the Jodimars’ Later, Mockingbird Hill and Are You Lonesome Tonight. In the great Haley’s tradition, Phil shares the vocal duties and bass player Martyn Savage takes lead vocals on two tracks.
Gina Haley sings lead on the remaining half with Phil and the Comments providing the backing band. The repertoire ranges from Bill’s classics (Thirteen Men [aka Thirteen Women], Farewell, So Long, Goodbye; Happy Baby) to the Warner years (Hawk, Chick Safari in duet with Martyn Savage) and some lesser known stuff like Jealous Heart that Haley recorded in the late 60’s. She has a strong and powerful voice that works fine on the rockin’ stuff but is even better on the more country and jazzy stuff like Loveless Blues (from Bill’s hillbilly era).
It’s a very good album that mixes strong musicianship, good originals, judicious choice of covers (especially Bill’s later stuff that is too often underrated) and two strong singers.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis