A real character was Faron. Real name William Ruffley, Faron performed with many prominent musicians during the heyday of Merseybeat. Starting with the usual skiffle scene Faron then joined a more rock orientated group, the "Tempest Tornados" as main vocals. In 1961 he left to join "Gerry and the Pacemakers" for a two-month stint at the Top Ten club, Hamburg; as bass player.
[Faron with the Pacemakers at the Top Ten]
Returning to Liverpool he assembled the group that became "Faron's Flamingos", which included Nicky Crouch on lead guitar. They established themselves as a highly popular group, which added visual stage performance to a solid musical base. Dubbed "the panda-footed Prince of prance" by Bob Wooler, Faron, like Rory Storm, was probably ten years ahead of Rock trends.
In 1963 they gained a recording contract with the Oriole label. They had toured with "Brian Poole and the Tremelos", and made the mistake of teaching them one of their numbers, which they were planning to record. The southern group rushed into the studio, recorded "Do you love me" and Decca, anxious to recoup their blunder in not signing the Beatles rushed it out, with their full publicity machine behind it. The Tremelos reached number one, while Faron's version sank without trace. You can judge which is the better version....
Disheartened, the Flamingos disbanded. Together with Paddy Chambers, Faron joined Johnny Hutchinson in the "Big Three". Despite hear surgery, Faron still performs in local Merseybeat events.
Actually that song 'Do You Love Me' was written by Berry Gordy Jr. of Motown for The Temptations in 1962, but he couldn't find them as they were doing a concert across town so he met up with the group The Contours in the Motown office hallway and let them record it that night. It became an instant R&B smash hit overnight! I have the original single in my collection. I remember it was also recorded later by the Dave Clark 5 and the Hollies.(and being covered by about a half a million other groups at the time too!)
Yes, with so many versions released in the UK, Oriole put "Do you love me" as the flipside of "See if she cares" [in itself, not a bad song, but "Do you love me" which the Flamingos had been performing for a while, would have been a certain hit. In my opinion Dave Clark was just a chancer who jumped on the bandwagon. I don't think the Contours were too happy that other people were having hits with their record; but that's the music business!
I don't think the Contours were too happy that other people were having hits with their record; but that's the music business!
Actually brew they probably enjoyed having people recording it, keeps your name alive. I know Berry enjoyed the royalities he got for writing it! The song was used some 25 years later in the movie 'Dirty Dancing' and it sold more copies then than it did originally! Brought them out of retirement to go on the 'Dirty Dancing Tour' of the country and they probably made more money than they did back in the '60's from it.
The Escorts were what I'd call a second generation group. They were not influenced by Skiffle, but by the existing Merseybeat bands. Comprising Terry Sylverster on lead guitar, John Kinrade on rhythmn guitar, Mike Gregory on bass while Pete Clark played drums. All of the guitarists also sang.
This film shows them at the Cavern, where they were a popular act...
The Escorts took part in a beat contest sponsored by Record Mirror, and won; beating both the Merseybeats and Freddy Starr's Midnighters. The prize was a recording contract with Fontana, and in 1963 they released the Cavern favourite "Dizzy Miss Lizzy"
The records were not a great success, and eventually Terry left and ended up replacing Graham Nash in the Hollies.
Last Edit: Feb 17, 2017 11:13:48 GMT by brewmaster
After Faron left the TTs, to join Gerry and the Pacemakers in Hamburg [see above], his place was taken by Earl Preston, real name George Spruce, who had formerly led "Gene Day and the Django-beats". The new group became "Earl Preston and the TTs" At about the same time Cy Tucker [real name Tom Thornton] joined on guitar and vocals. They were featured on the compilation disc "This is Merseybeat" which led to a contract with Fontana. They can be seen in concert here, with Cy taking vocals on "My Prayer"....
Lack of recording success led to Earl leaving to form "Earl Preston and the Realms, with another Fontana contract starting with this rather insipid number....
Earl later joined the Reflections, then left the business until 1987, when he started singing in local clubs as Joey Preston. Cy continued as "Cy Tucker and the TTs" for a while before forming "Cy Tucker and the Friars" which kept performing well into the 1980s. Cy still sings locally. The next front notable man for the TTs was Karl Terry [real name Terry Connor] who had fronted the Cruisers. Eventually they broke up and Karl joined RSATH on bass, before reforming Karl Terry and the Cruisers, who still play on Merseyside.
THE GIRL GROUPS First there was the Vernon Girls, a singing group formed to promote the pools company. Liverpool was the headquarters of the two major football gambling companies which employed thousands of women. Littlewoods, who were based in Walton, and Vernons, who were at the Old Roan [their building later became the Paradox nightclub.] Formed in the 1950s they gained success on the nation-wide TV show Oh Boy! They made several records, including a great cover of "Lover Please"
As session singers they appeared on numerous hits by such stars as Billy Fury. In 1962 the Breakaways was formed by a few of the girls who, er, broke away from the Vernons. and backed such performers as Dusty Springfield and Petula Clark. Vicki Haseman married Joe Brown, and their daughter Samantha also became a singer. Joyce Baker married Marty Wilde, and their daughter Kim had a great recording career, including the hit "Kids in America"
The story of Cilla is well known, but her close rival Beryl Marsden is a lesser known figure; possibly because unlike Cilla, who was managed by Brian Epstein; Beryl had Joe "Flannel" Flannery! No relation to Gerry, her real surname being Hogg, Beryl was barely a teen when she started taking the stage, backed first by Karl Terry and the Cruisers.
She appeared on the compilation album "At the Cavern" with this great number....
In 1965 she was booked for a season at the Star Club Hamburg, and being only 17 was required to be accompanied by a chaperone. Returning to England she made several more records, before eventually joining Rod Stewart and Mick Fleetwood in Shotgun Express. Beryl still performs internationally.
The Liverbirds were the first girl-group to both sing and play their instruments. Formed in 1962, vocalist Irene Green left to pursue a career as "Tiffany", joining local group the Dimensions. Like many Liverpool groups they secured work in Germany, and in fact became resident at the Star Club for several years.
Spending so much time in Hamburg, the Liverbirds didn't achieve success in the UK, but had hits in Germany. An update on their career here
Last Edit: Feb 21, 2017 18:21:06 GMT by brewmaster
Apparently they were, Pothos, but I'd never heard of them until now. There were, of course, several other girl singers on the scene. I briefly mentioned Tiffany and the Dimensions above. "Tifany" [Irene Green] then made a solo record....
She eventually left the business after marrying her manager.
The Carolls were three brothers and their sister who started performing in the early sixties. They recorded this amongst several singles....
Irene Carroll later became the very well known comedienne and impressionist Faith Brown.
FREDDIE STARR Freddie Fowell, from Huyton, who had appreared acting in the movie "Violent Playground",joined Howie Casey and the Seniors, a very professional outfit.
[Freddie, in white shirts, with the Seniors]
Taking vocal duties alongside Derry Wilkie, in 1962 they became the first Merseybeat group to release a commercial album with the Fontana "Twist at the Top"
Eventually, the group disintegrated, and Freddie took a stage name and fronted Freddie Starr and the Midnighters
In 1963 the Midnighters won a contract with the recording legend Joe Meek.
....this was their best effort, which tells you what the other songs were like!
As ever, the group broke up and Freddie, who had always included funny impersonations in his act, became a comedian, and enjoyed great success. However, being somewhat of a polarity responder, his temperment didn't suit the demands of television. At the height of his fame, he was given his "Madhouse" show on prime time Saturday evenings. His refusal to follow the scrip, and adhere to camera angles, led to his being sacked, to be replaced by a member of the entourage Russ Abbott. I had seen Russ with the Black Abbotts many times at the Shakespeare club, and they were brilliant. An anecdote which may shed light on Freddie's problem. Eddie, a friend of mine, was at a Liverpool party in the 60s, when he was approached by a London promoter, a bit of a hard case, who asked who the guy was doing impressions and making everyone laugh. Eddie took the London guy over and introduced him to Freddie, as the promoter believed he could arrange work for him down south. After a few minutes Eddie heard a commotion, and the Londoner had his hands around Freddie's throat. Separating them Eddie asked what was the problem. The Cockney replied: "What's the problem" I'm trying to talk serious business and this berk is answering in a Donald Duck voice!" The last time I saw Freddie he came into the Lucy in the Sky cafe in Cavern walks, and sat with Tommy and I, and had us in stitches. Freddie was a comedy genius, but like many such talents, was self-destructive.
Last Edit: Feb 22, 2017 11:02:04 GMT by brewmaster
Little Carla Dianee Powsey, was the only female that showed up that day, except for the photographer Astrid Kirchherr in 1964,
at St. Georges Hall in Liverpool.
She was very excited that day and had her father bring her very early to the set. She was one of the first to arrive and can be seen down in the front, hugging her guitar, at the bottom left of the photograph. Astrid gave her one pound for showing up that day.
Although "Merseybeat" refers to Liverpool groups, it is important to remember that we also exported the sound, especially to Hamburg. The most significant event in this process was the opening of the Star Club in April 1962. The Kaiserkeller and Top Ten catered to a passing trade of mainly drunken matelots and local gangsters. The Star Club was firmly aimed at teenagers who wanted to meet and dance to Rock and Roll, and in that way had a similar clientele to the Cavern. These kids then wanted to emulate the groups they saw, and German lads started forming bands. Obsiously, learning the words to American records was even more difficult for these lads, but they were often helped by visiting Scousers, although some did insert some naughty words. Similarly, I think it was Kingsize Taylor who suggested that a local group adopt the name "the Four Skins" The Star Club held a competition, which was won by the Rattles. When I was at the Star Club I was impressed with the Rattles, as they really were playing Merseybeat. Bob Wooler signed them, and in late 1963 they did some dates at the Cavern.
[The Rattles with Bob Wooler]
Although venues in Hamburg were limited, there really was only the Star Club operating by then, the Rattles had a good career, and made several records...
The Rattles, with many changes of line-up, are still performing.
Frank Dostal was the lead singer in that group for awhile. He is also married to Mary McGlory of the Liverbirds. He's 71. *btw he owns George's old Hofner 40. (I put up a post on the Paul's Hofner thread.)
Couple of points. In the St Georges Hall image is it possible that Astrid took that image as the acts were not ready. Look at how many arte not looking at the camera; Rory's pulling his collar up; Lou and Johnny arnt even looking forward.
As for The Rattles I discovered them though the solo work of Achim Reichel the former guitarist.