Excellent book reviews brew. On the first bass player in England, Gerry Salisbury was a jazz bassiest, does that count? You could go back to the Big Band era and find bass' back then. I think Jet was the first bass player with a rock band, or a band that hit it BIG. He had a Framus bass in '58 and then got his famous Fender p-bass in '59. I'll have to see where those guitars are now if they're still around. I remember Jet went home one night and smashed all his stuff.lol Did they say in the book?
On the first bass player in England, Gerry Salisbury was a jazz bassiest, does that count?
Seems apt, as in the USA the Fender bass was adopted pretty early on by the Lionel Hampton band. The first non-jazz bass guitar player over here was probably Barney Smith, who played bass for Rory Blackwell [who inspired Rory Storm to adopt that stage name]
Yeah Leo's first idea was to make an electric bass (1951) so those guys wouldn't have to lug that big damn thing around. Remember Elvis' bass player had his strapped down to the top of their car and it blew off and smashed into a million pieces.lol
Did they mention Jets' '59 Fender bass whatever happened to it in the book?
Good question Rocky. As far as I know Jet was given a Sunburst P-bass in 1960, then it was replaced with a Fiesta Red at a later date. It may be that the Sunburst went back to Jennings [the importers]. The Fiesta Red was handed over to Brian Locking, who replaced Jet in 1962.
[Jet playing the Sunburst in the studio]
I can't be sure what happened to the Sunburst, but when Jet recorded with Tony Meehan he used a Fender V1, and a [detuned] Jaguar. Anyway, by the time he was approached about doing some musical work in 1975 he had no instruments. He later acquired some more Fenders, including this one
Note that Jet retained the "ashtray" and pickup cover.
Last Edit: Oct 27, 2015 11:07:42 GMT by brewmaster
Frank Allen joined the band after they already had several hit records, so the first part of the book charts the parallel cereers of the Searchers on the Liverpool scene, and Frank, down in London, playing guitar in local bands before joining Cliff Bennet and the Rebel Rousers on bass. This section of the book is filled with detail of The Searchers rise within the Merseybeat scene, playing venues such as the Iron Door,the Tower Ballroom, and, of course, the Cavern. I saw the group at the Cavern, and, in my opinion, they were one of the best. They had a unique sound, resulting from the vocal harmonies, the falsetto notes, and the jangly rythmn guitar. The Rebel Rousers and The Searchers met while both appearing at the Star Club, Hamburg in 1962. Frank socialised with the Liverpool lads, and they got on well. Years later Frank would be called as a witness in the Beatles "Star Club tapes" court case.
Tony Jackson split from the Searchers [the full details of this and other splits are fully discussed] and Frank was asked to join on bass. At the time the group was riding high with several hits, including their cover of "Love Potion number 9" which was their biggest US hit. Eventually, the hits stopped coming and the group became a fixture cabaret club circuit, travelling the world, still popular with live audiences. It was on a date in Manila that John McNally became reunited with his signature Hofner Club 60, now enshrined at the Hard Rock Cafe. I really enjoyed this very detailed history of one of my favourite groups. Although expensive it is a hefty book, and Frank is a natural, witty writer. For fans of the Merseybeat era, well worth the price.
I have read "Cliffhanger" now [well as much of it as I could stand] and it's a terrible book. It's episodic, the story flits between time period. The writing is bad. The author doesn't know anything about guitars. For example he asserts that the Framus Star Bass was American. He says that Hank still has the original Strat gifted to him by Cliff [he doesn't; Bruce has it] and there is no mention of Jet and the Fender Bass VI; which is like writing a book about Paul and not mentioning the Hofner Violin bass! Although Jet's alcohol problem is discussed in detail, there is no mention of the fact that he didn't actually play on a couple of the records with Tony Meehan. In fact apart from the breakthrough "Diamonds" these records are only mentioned in the discography. Also no mention of Jet touring with the "Jet Blacks" after he stopped working with Tony. All in all, the book seems like it was written from the parts rejected by Wikipedia. A much better biography is Jet Harris: In Spite of Everything
I first saw a copy of Merseybeat while at school. A lad had brought in a copy and passed it around, just as we passed around our latest comics.
There were a number of us who were into guitar bands, such as the Shadows, and we were fascinated by the very different image and instruments we saw in Merseybeat. Although too young to visit the Cavern, through the paper we were well aware of the Beatles months before any of us actually heard them, when "Love me do" was released. While we were not the target readership of Merseybeat, it did inspire us to visit the clubs when old enough, and become fans.
Merseybeat was unique. While there were several good national music papers, this was for us, for Liverpool.
I wish I had kept my copies of the paper, but a few years ago a bound edition was published. This week, I finally got around to buying it, and was really glad I did.
The book is a collection of selected pages from various editions on Merseybeat, with a detailed introduction to the scene by editor Bill Harry.
Beatles fans will be well aware of the importance of Merseybeat to the group, and it's all here. Record reviews by Brian Epstein? They're here. Bob Wooler's "Rhythmn & News" columns, they're here too. It's well known that John wrote some really funny "Beatcomber" colums; they are included, together with his hilarious additions to the classified ads. There is also a piece from Paul, writing from about their first trip to Hamburg said "it was pretty rough, but we all had a geer time"
The other Liverpool groups are not neglected, and there is quite a bit about RSATH, including an article by Lu Walters about Ringo.
Even the adverts for local events and businesses evoke nostalgia.
Later issues describe the global sucess of the Beatles, and this is reflected by a flood of themed merchandise and novelty items:
I managed to get all this for just £4, including postage! Obviously, I'm delighted with the book, a treasure trove for all fans of that era.