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Phil Haley and the Comments

Phil & Gina Haley - Rock'n'roll Lifestyle
Phil & Gina Haley – Rock’n’roll Lifestyle

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

Phil Haley & the Comments

Phil Haley and the Comments

How did you get into rockin music?
Phil Haley:
I started playing early sixties. My first playing job was supporting Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. I listened to the Shadows,Elvis, Eddie Cochran etc.
I then played with sixties band Unit 4 +2 (of Concrete and the Clay fame – ed), various local bands and duo’s playing all types of music.

Do you remember the first time you heard Bill Haley?
Phil Haley: I first heard and saw bill haley at the local cinema (saturday morning), on Pathe news, showing his first visit to the uk in 1957. I was 9 years old. The entire cinema were singing along to Giddy Up a Ding Dong, the experience knocked me sideways!!!!

How did you get the idea to form the band?
Phil Haley: I was appearing as a guitar vocalist in manchester singing Rock Around the Clock.  After the performance a lady took me to one side and suggested that I do a Bill Haley tribute show as I looked and sounded just like him.  The seed was sown.

In addition to Bill’s Decca and Essex hits, you also write your own material?
Phil Haley: I wanted to add another dimension to the show making it much more than your average tribute band. I decided to have a go at writing my own songs and they have been well received. We also do some of the later material, but he had such a wide and diverse catalogue it would be impossible to cover everything. Personally I prefer the earlier classics.

Have you ever met or played with the Comets?
Phil Haley: Alan Paris the saxaphone player saw them play a few years ago, he introduced himself to them and they signed one of our photo’s.This has pride of place on the wall at home.I also made contact with Bill Haley’s son Jack Haley when we started out. He sent us 4 signed copies of the book sound and glory which he co-wrote and he also sent us some old footage of his father’s early performances.

To finish, did Al, Brian and Martyn ever consider forming the Albrimart?
Phil Haley: That’s an interesting idea!!!