Camel Rock & Roll Dance Party

(4.8 stars; 5 reviews)

These broadcasts are among the last regularly-scheduled live performances of popular music on radio. Featuring Count Basie & his orchestra in the earlier broadcasts. Later broadcasts featured Sam "The Man" Taylor & his orchestra with Big Al Sears. Sponsored by Camel cigarettes. April 7, 1956 - Was the first ever regularly scheduled network rock 'n' roll broadcast - Rock 'N' Roll Dance Party - with Alan Freed premiered on CBS Radio.

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.



Put on Your Dancing Shoes...

(5 stars)

The trajectory of these recordings is almost the trajectory of rock and roll vis a vis the broadcast networks in 1956, the year of Elvis (who does not guest star). The first shows are very timid, and feature Count Basie's band -- a wonderful aggregation -- but very much a band for Mom and Dad, not the kids. In fact, the highlight of the first couple of months or so is Tony Bennett singing with the Count in episode 2. But slowly, things loosen up. Count Basie is still the band, but the acts being booked have real R&B chops. The previously staid audience gets louder in their applause, and acts like Etta James start turning up. By the July recordings, Count Basie (the swingingist band in the land) is replaced by Sam the Man Taylor (still a big band, but one with an R&B sound), and folks like Chuck Berry and Bill Haley are the guest stars. And the audience is loud, raucous, and pretty clearly inspiring the musicians. By the end, you get a sense Alan Freed had won the right to book the shows and present the artists as he saw fit, and the last seven or eight shows are about as good a live aircheck as you will find. Fidelity is exceptional -- it sounds like these were recorded off the FM station. The cigarette ads, which come with jingles that embed themselves in your brain, and will stay there to annoy you forever -- are of historic interest.


(5 stars)

Thanks!!! Before you uploaded these the only available copies were the AFRS transcriptions which had been very crudely edited to remove all mentions of Camel and so they ran 5 minutes short. These ones appear to be the CBS transcriptions and they're complete with nothing cut out! The undated rehearsal is a rehearsal for the April 21 show. I assume the rehearsal would have been on the same day. The July 7 episode should be dated July 10. In the June 30 show Freed says "We've got a new time... starting Tuesday night July 10th." I also confirmed the date by looking at the NY Times & Washington Post listings. While I was looking I also has a look to see why there was no show on Aug 21 - it was pre-empted by the Republican National Convention. The series started March 24 (that episode exists as #1 of the edited versions), and after the episodes on this page the series carried on for 2 more weeks (Sept 18 & 25) and was then replaced in the schedules by Suspense.

Freed got a raw deal!

(5 stars)

This is not Moondog Matinee, but is is enjoyable in spite of that fact. There's plenty of Count Basie. If you like Basie, you'll love him on these shows! This is the Basie band, just after Joe Williams signed on as vocalist. If you like live performances of early Rock and Roll and Rhythm and Blues, these shows have that too. There are some acts of the day, which don't quite hold up to today's standards, and a few artists you may never have heard of, but they won't take away from your enjoyment of these programs. You will be annoyed by the Camel Cigarette jingles (that song you might also recognize as the Civil War chestnut Goober Peas). Man folks smoked a lot back then! If you like vintage Country music, check out the Grand Ole Opry episodes at dnt1961's other pages and

Incorrect label

(4 stars)

The audio file labeled as August 11, 1956 is actually August 25 1956: The Camel Rock and Roll Dance Party. August 25, 1956. Program #23. CBS net origination, AFRTS rebroadcast. New York origination. AFRTS program name: "Rock and Roll Dance Party." Alan Freed (host), Bill Haley and The Comets, Dick Noel (announcer), Mabel King, Sam The Man Taylor and His Orchestra, Bern Bennett (announcer).

Alan Freed Show

(5 stars)

What more can you say? outstanding show in great quality, over the years, you only heard 5 mins of heavy reverb, false stereo, and edited. great to hear them complete!...