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Comet Combo (the)

Comet Combo (the) – Race With The Devil

El Dandy Records – DR-007 [2023]
I Sure Miss You – Race With the Devil / Woman In Black – Incinerator

the Comet Combo

The Comet Combo is a supergroup formed by Al Nicholls (the Big Six, the Big Town Playboys) on sax, Ricky Lee Brawn (the Big Six, the Stargazers, the Space Cadets and a whole lot more) on drums, Peter Davenport and Tim Purkess (both from the Stargazers) respectively on guitar and double bass and Cliff Edmonds. (the Avengers) on vocals. Dave Brown (Darrel Higham, Rusti Steel) guests on a few tracks. Edmonds is well-known for being a huge Gene Vincent fan and recorded (see or rather hear the album he recorded with the Virginians – including Ricky Lee Brawn -for Vampirella). The other four have played together or separately in the best Big Beat bands in the UK. This Ep is the exact combination of these two major influences. The band took three carefully chosen Gene Vincent covers (two from the Capitol years and one from the end of his career) and turned them into Bill Haley-typed songs, albeit with an unmistakable British feel, so maybe Tony Crombie, too. A fourth tune, an instrumental penned by Brawn, completes the set.
The result is perfect from start to finish and highly danceable (even for a non-dancer like me). Not only does this reappropriation work terribly well (who could have guessed?), but as you can imagine, with musicians of this pedigree, the musicianship is top-notch. From Nicholls’ sax to Davenport’s guitar, which is both Jazzy and Rock’n’Roll simultaneously, backed by the hot groove delivered by Brawn and Purkess, you can’t go wrong. This is the perfect support for Edmonds’ solid vocals. Rock’n’Roll seems to be a simple genre in appearance, which is why Bill Haley doesn’t have the recognition he deserves, in my opinion. But you need top-notch musicians to make it work (don’t forget that Haley’s Comets previously played in jazz bands, including the likes of Benny Goodman). This is what we have here: high-calibre musicians and singers playing the hottest Rock’n’roll, and the result is like a well-oiled machine or the musical equivalent of a perfectly crafted piece of marquetry where each piece fits precisely into the other.
There are two bonus tracks (from Davenport and Brawn) on the CD.

El Dandy Records

Fred ”Virgil” Turgis