I remember vividly the summer of 1955 when pure Pop was beginning to be shunted aside by the first waves of Rock And Roll with tunes like Dance With Me Henry by Georgia Gibbs (a cover of the earlier Etta James & The Peaches hit The Wallflower), Ain't It A Shame by Fats Domino (and later Pat Boone), Chuck Berry's Maybellene, Tweedlee Dee by LaVern Baker, Baby Let's Play House by some guy named Elvis Presley and, of course, (We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley & His Comets, the latter thanks mainly to its use over the opening credits of the film The Blackboard Jungle (it had actually been a minor hit in 1954).
Right there with them were Boyd Bennett & His Rockets: Boyd on drums and vocals, Joe "Big Moe" Muzey on guitar and vocals, rhythm guitarist Mickey Allen, guitarist Roy Ayres, saxophonist Bobby Jones and bass player Kenny Cobb. At the time I recall many of us thinking that these guys were as good, if not better, than Haley and that we'd be hearing a lot more from them. What we didn't tip to in those days was the label factor, and as it turned out, Bennett toiled for the relatively small King Records. Not as small as some, mind you, which operated on a shoe-string, but nowhere in the same ballpark as giants like Mercury and Decca, or even the mid-sized operations such as Dot, Atlantic and Chess, who could spend a lot more promoting the artists mentioned above (except Elvis who then worked for Sun but that would soon change).
Before Bennett finally clicked with a national hit he had five previous releases - Time/A Hopeless Case on King 1167 and Precious Little Sweetheart/I'm Wasting My Time on King 1201, both in 1953, Waterloo/I've Had Enough on King 1413 in 1954 (none of which are here), You Upset Me Baby/Poison Ivy on King 1432 in 1955 (only the A-side is here), and Everlovin'/Boogie At Midnight on King 1443, also in 1955 (both here). In the summer of 1955, however, he finally broke through with the rocking Seventeen which rose to # 6 Pop and # 7 R&B b/w Little Ole You All (unfortunately not here) on King 1490. It was so good it was quickly covered by The Fontane Sisters for Dot and Rusty Draper for Mercury, with the former going all the way to # 3 Pop while the Draper version finished at # 18.
The follow-up Tennessee Rock And Roll (King 1495) b/w Oo Oo Oo (not here) failed to chart, but late in 1955, this time with Big Moe doing the vocals, My Boy - Flat Top made it to # 13 R&B and # 39 Pop b/w Banjo Rock And Roll on King 1494. Again, the hit was quickly covered, this time by Dorothy Collins for the Decca subsidiary Coral, and her rendition finished at # 16 Pop. That was followed by two more non-hits, The Most b/w Desperately on King 4853 and Right Around The Corner b/w Partners For Life on King 4874 (neither B-side is here), before his own cover, this time of Blue Suede Shoes, staggered to a # 63 Pop in April/May 1956 b/w Mumbles Blues (billed to Big Moe) on King 4903.
And that would be it insofar as hits with King were concerned, although there would be 11 more single releases to 1963, many of which are covered in this great Ace of London release, complete with their usual impeccable sound reproduction and background notes. Boyd would have one more hit when Boogie Bear made it to # 73 in October 1959 b/w A Boy Can Tell on, ironically, Mercury 71479 (both almost impossible to find in a quality CD).
Well worth the purchase if you want to hear one of the 1955 originals who likely would have had far greater commercial success had he and his band been with a bigger label.