Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home

Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones

What The Heck! - The Complete Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones

Review by Gary Hill

This collection from Bear Family seems pretty self-explanatory at first. Then when you look carefully, you'll notice that not everything is specifically by Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones, but rather by related acts. In terms of the track labeling, everything here without an artist listed is from Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones. This is an effective set, and I really like this quite a bit. It should be noted that I reviewed a number of these tracks on a previous set. For the sake of consistency those track reviews are taken from or modified from that review.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2023  Volume 5 More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Black Slacks
I really love the bass on this. The number is a jumping tune that really grooves. The guitar solo is so classy, too.
Boppin' Rock Boogie
I’m not overly crazy about the doo wop angles of this, but the cut has some good hooks and energy.
Penny Loafers And Bobby Sox
There is some scorching hot 50s guitar work on this thing. It’s a bopping number that really is one of the strongest things here.
Rockabilly with a driving energy and groove is on the menu here. This is a fun old school jam with a space age groove.
Let's Go Rock And Roll
Another with some great energy, this also has some killer guitar sounds and jamming. I’d say that this one almost cuts into jazz zones with some of that guitar work.
Number One On My Love List
With some classic guitar jamming, this is another fun old-school rock and roller.
Cotton Pickin' Rocker
With some killer bass work, this has some energetic and entertaining rockabilly in the mix. This is such a classy and classic sounding tune.
I Dig You Baby
A vocal heavy tune, this is one part rockabilly and one part crooner music. There are elements of doo-wop here, too.
Maybe Baby
This is a swinging little rock and roller that is so much fun.
Little Turtle
High energy and playful, this is another fun rocker. It has some scorching hot (for the time) guitar work.
We've Had It
This rock and roller isn't a real standout, but it does work well. It's got plenty of energy and style.
Do The Stop
I like the start and stop element on this cut. The whole track is quite tasty, though. This has a great retro rock vibe to it. The saxophone solo is on fire.
Late Again
The piano really brings something special to this. So does the wailing horn section.
Late Again (alternate version)
I said this about this number when I reviewed it before, "I dig the horns on this cut. The tune has a definite jazz edge that works well for it. This is another highlight of the disc, in part because of the variety it imparts." That pretty much applies to both versions of the track presented here. There isn't a huge difference to me, except that this one has some studio banter at the beginning of it.
Bayou Rock
The retro rocking sound here is so tasty. I love the guitar textures and fast-paced jamming. This is a lot of fun.
Beautiful One
A slow moving, old-school rock and roll ballad, this doesn't work that well for me.
Boys Do Cry
Not quite a ballad, this is also not really a rocker. It's a solid number that's not any kind of highly original piece. It has a doo-wop vibe to it, but without the doo-wop vocals. 
Boys Do Cry (alternate version)
Now, this version does have the doo-wop vocals. I prefer the other take for that reason.
What The Heck
There is a bit of a novelty song vibe to this piece. It’s still a lot of fun.
Are You From Dixie
This number starts with a little bit of "Dixie." They take it out to a rock and roller from there. The guitar solo is tasty.
A ballad, this has some over-the-top strings. It's not one of my favorites here.       
Karina Con Los Jaguars - No Esta Bien (She's A Fool)
With lyrics in Spanish and female vocals, this has a more 1960s rock sound to it.
Karina Con Los Jaguars - La Misma Playa
Another in Spanish, this rocker has a lot of energy. It also features female vocals, like the rest of the songs credited to this act. The volume seems to go up unexpectedly near the end of this.
Karina Con Los Jaguars - Hully Gully Boy
More old-school rock and roll, this has some lyrics in Spanish and some in English.
Karina Con Los Jaguars - Vaya Vaya (Lawdy, Lawdy)
There is a playful rock and roll groove at the heart of this. It is more along the vein of 1960s rock. Again, the lyrics are in Spanish.         
Joe & The Jaguars - Si Tuviera Un Martillo
A rocking version of the classic folk tune "If I Had A Hammer," the lyrics on this are in Spanish. Unlike the last few songs, though, we're back into male vocal territory. This works well.                     
Joe & The Jaguars - La Hora
This instrumental has a real surf guitar vibe. It makes me think of "Secret Agent Man" to some degree.
Joe & The Jaguars - Kansas City
Most of the lyrics here are in Spanish. This is a fun rock and roller. It has a lot of energy and style.
Joe & The Jaguars - Memphis
This instrumental is classy. It has plenty of rockabilly and old-school rock and roll in the mix.
Joe Bennett - De Nada
More of a balladic country-leaning song, while the title might suggest it's in Spanish, other than that title it's all in English. I'm not really a fan of this tune.                
Joe Bennett - La Cancion Del Gato Tom (The Tom Cat Song)
This rock and roller is a lot of fun. It's also a little silly. Despite the title, the this is all in English.
Joe Bennett - Toodle Ooo
While this is built mainly on rock and roll, there are some definite jazz angles to this.       
Joe Bennett - Osito De Trapo (The Teddy Bear Song)
With lyrics in English, this is a slow moving doo-wop piece. It's not one of my favorites.
Run Rabbit, Run
This rocker has a  silly, but fun vocal arrangement. It's a classy tune that's more along the lines of folk rock.  
Well Dressed Man
More of a pop music (of the era) song, this still has some rock and roll and some definite rockabilly in the mix. This works reasonably well, and the unusual changes are a nice touch, but overall this doesn’t stand as tall as some of the rest for me.
Billy & Eddie - The King Is Coming Back
This rock and roller is classy stuff.
Rocket (Nat King Cole Show)
With an introduction, this is a fun romp.               
Black Slacks (Nat King Cole Show)
They introduce this rocker, too. It's another fun one, but really sounds so much like the one that came before it.

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./