Bill Doggett – Band with the Beat!

I picked this up from the Ely Saturday market for £3.

Recorded in 1962 on the Warner Brother’s label (‘The first name in sound’). The line up is:

  • Bill Doggett on the ‘sizzling’ hammond
  • Jim Powell, Ray Felder and Les Taylor take turns on sax
  • Joe Benjamin on bass
  • George Johnson on drums
  • Bill Butler on guitar

Bill Doggett was a new name for me but the front cover looked good and a quick scan of the back notes convinced me to make the purchase.

Bill Doggett and hammond
Bill Doggett and his hammond

After a couple of listens I can make the following observations:

  1. Despite the claims made by the back cover notes, this is an R&B, album, it ain’t jazz  (nothing wrong with that, I’m more than partial to old-school R&B).
  2. The hammond is one of those instruments that either sound terrible or fantastic.  This is clearly demonstrated on the album which swings from cheesy holiday-camp (i.e. Butlins) jolliness to raunchy get-down-and-boogie beat music.

Check out the album cover, it promises so much, you can understand why I had to have it, eh?  Dig the photo of Bill taking it easy with a newspaper.  Thrill to that typeface, oh, that typeface, love it!

Bill Doggett - The band with the beat
Bill Doggett – The band with the beat

Here’s some thoughts on each track:

Side one

  • Swivel: Could be in Butlins or a backing track for a Benny Hill sketch. It’s kind of fun in a kitch way but you wouldn’t want to listen to it again. Actually it does improve slightly midway through but not enough to save it.
  • Anniversary Song: Nice R&B intro with howling sax, I started tapping my foot to this one.  The hammond makes its appearance half way through the track, sounding a little Butlins again. It’s the sax that makes this track, to be honest.
  • Open the door, Richard: Doggett sings on this and it’s all pretty awful, sounds like a track on some kid’s birthday party album.  The sax is the saving grace, again.
  • Mr Lucky: More Butlins hammond, I’m not feeling Mr Lucky with this album at the moment.
  • Let’s do the Continental: This is much little better, I could be in a Soho coffee bar with a latte in the early 60s.  Nice.
  • Pony Walk: Oh, two good tracks in a row, yeah, I could imagine dancing to this. hep!

Side two

  • The Waltz you Saved for Me: Another good track, swinging in fact!
  • Petite Fleur: More Butlins
  • Later Baby Later: More R&B and this one is fun, Doggett on vocals again, sax wailing, straight-forward dance track, strong track, I bet this one got the crowd going.
  • Po’ Boy: A nice bluesy beat propels this forward, one of the best tracks on the album
  • Lucky: A cool modish sound, hammond sounds great, low down and sexy, just how it should be. Best track on the album? We’re finishing strong!
  • Blues for Joe: More smokin’ hammond from Bill, wish all the tracks were more like this!

So there you go,  a few duff tracks but overall an enjoyable slice of R&B.  The good moments make me smile and that’s all I need in the end.


  • Overall hepness: 2/5 (points deducted for cheesy hammond)
  • Cover art: 3.5/5
  • Condition of vinyl: 2.5/5
  • Cost: 4/5
  • Overall rating: 12 / 20


Here’s “Let’s Do the Continental“.  Get down and boogie hepsters!

One thought on “Bill Doggett – Band with the Beat!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *