Interestingly, I got Ferry Cross The Mersey the film as a Christmas gift. Have you seen it?
Not for years. I must check it out again. I was in Waterstones this morning and noticed this book Ringo Starr and the Beatles Beat It's a hefty tome, and much of it is about drum technique, so I won't be buying it. I browsed the early part and there are some nuggets. We discussed Lowlands above; and apparently the youth club was called "The Pillar Club" I'd never heard that name before. Apparently George met Pete Best there. The club closed in 1966 and the room has been left untouched ever since. Also included, sections/interviews with all of the Beatles' drummers, including Tommy Moore.
Last Edit: Jan 15, 2017 14:50:20 GMT by brewmaster
One of the younger groups I saw a lot was The Hideaways, again Bob Wooler managed them so they appeared on the Cavern a lot.
Uniquely, the group featured an American lad on bass. John Shell was called up for national service and, tragically, was killed in Vietnam. Guitarist Frankie Connor later wrote the book Liverpool: It All Came Tumbling Down. about the changes in the city over the years. Frankie currently presents regular weekend programs on Radio Merseyside, playing sixties music and interviewing personalities from the era.
Frankie co-wrote this number...
.... filmed at the notorious Grafton
Last Edit: Jan 16, 2017 11:53:52 GMT by brewmaster
Finally got my copy of "Ferry Cross The Mersey" today. Will be watching it tonight. I did a little searching and found that ferry is still around! The 'Royal Iris of The Mersey' since 2001. Before that, 'MV Mountwood' from 1959. A few bumps and bruises along the way, but the lady still sails!
*I think I'll start a rumour that it was named after Rory's sister.
I used the feries many times. Originally, there was a service to New Brighton as well. A couple of the ferries had seen service at Dunkirk. Bob Wooler organized the "Beat Boat" events, with groups playing aboard.
We have an appearance of maybe Liverpool's First Supergroup. At Litherland Town Hall on Thursday Oct. 19,1961 when Gerry & The Pacemakers and The Beatles appeared on stage together forming THE BEATMAKERS. It was a fun time for all! When after a few pints by everyone it was decided that they would go on together. With John starting out on piano and ending with him under the piano on his back playing the sax.....then the curtain was slowly lowered. Ha-Ha
The lineup for that night was: John Lennon on Piano and Sax (for one number), Paul McCartney on rhythm guitar, George Harrison on Lead Guitar, Pete Best sharing one drum kit with Fred Marsden, Gerry Marsden sharing vocals with Karl Terry, Les Chadwick on Bass, and Les Maguire on Sax.
Songs that they did that night: Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On What'd I Say Red Sails In The Sunset Hit The Road Jack
I mentioned earlier about groups coming from "over the water", which was from the Wirral. Comprising such areas as Birkenhead, Wallasey, Liscard etc, the Wirral was, back then, in the county of Cheshire, while Liverpool was in Lancashire. In the Seventies it was all amalgamated as "Merseyside" There was a thriving scene over there, with venues such as the Majestic cinema in Birkenhead, and the Kraal Club in New Brighton, so naturally, several groups were formed over there. The Undertakers were one such group. Featuring a saxaphone [played by Brian Jones] they developed a stage act around a coffin, and were very popular.
They played the obligatory season in Hamburg, then continued to establish themselves with audiences in Liverpool, being voted 12th in the first Merseybeat poll.
The Undertakers turned down a management contract with Brian Epstein, and, like the Searchers, signed a recording contract with Tony Hatch. In my opinion many really good Merseybeat groups were given poor material to record, and the records released by the Undertakers were a weak reflection of their stage act.
The group is featured, amongst other, in this TV program....
Jackie Lomax was laterrecorded by George Harrison for Apple. Surviving members of the Undertakers still play locally.
One of the most significant groups on the scene was Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes. Ted Taylor had been in a Skiffle group [the James Boys] then in 1958 he joined The Dominoes and concentrated on Rock 'n Roll.
By the time they played their first Cavern gig, in 1961, they were billed as "Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes" Several members had notable careers swapping into other groups. Bassist Bobby Thompson joined Rory Storm for a time; while drummer Gibson Kemp joined the Dominoes from RSATH. A "senior" figure was Howie Casey, who had the distinction of playing in the first Liverpool Rock band in Hamburg. Howie deserves a section all to himself. His sax lent the Dominoes a very distinctive sound. He had a great career, eventually becoming a session musician before recording and touring with Wings.
Cilla Black joined them as a regular vocalist, until Summer 1962 when the group was offered a stint in Hamburg. Cilla stayed in Liverpool, and was eventually signed by Brian Epstein. The Dominoes went down a storm at the Star Club, and were offered a residency.
In some way this meant that they kind of missed out on the Merseybeat boom back home. In Hamburg they recorded numerous albums, some under the name The Shakers. [Kingsize recorded on various record labels under a bewildering variety of names; he didn't seem to worry about contract obligations!]
One of my favourite of their releases was this version of an American tune...
They also covered the Solaman Burke song "Stupidity" which gave them a number one hit...... in Germany; it didn't do much in Gt Britain. They returned to England in 1964, and I saw them at the Odeon, Liverpool on the Chuck Berry/Carl Perkins tour, and they were brilliant. Shortly afterwards they broke up, and Ted returned to being a butcher for several years, before playing gigs again both in Liverpool and in Hamburg. Ted has a tendency to distort history a bit, but he is without doubt, one of the original Rockers. Here Kingsize is playing at a Star Club reunion, and is joined onstage by Chris Farlowe and Cliff Bennett, two of the best voices in British Rock.
Last Edit: Jan 25, 2017 12:07:52 GMT by brewmaster
Another group who were prominent at the time were The Mojos. Originally called The Nomads, they changed to Mojos in 1963. the line up included Stu James, who had attended the Liverpool Institute on piano originally, before switching to guitar. Nicky Crouch, a terrific guitarist, who had played with Faron's Flaminoes joined on lead guitar.
Alan Williams ave them a residency at the Blue Angel, which, at the time, was the most prestigious club in the city. The inevitable stint at the Star Club, Hamburg followed.
The Mojos made a couple of decent records, including....
.... as well as this pounding number....
After the Hamburg trip they picked up Lew Collins, who had previously played bass with The Georgians. Lew went on to an acting career....
Drummer Ainsley Dunbar went on to form The Retaliation, then played with Jefferson Airplane.
With a nod to the title of this thread, let's have a look at the Searchers.
School friends John McNally and Mike Prendergast had played in various Skiffle groups before deciding to link up, They recruited Tony Jackson on bass, while Billy Beck joined to front the group as lead vocalist, taking the stage name "Johnny Sandon" from a pub which reputedly had the longest bar in the town.
Finally Mike, who shortened his surname to "Pender" brought in another school-mate Chris Crummey, as drummer. Chris changed his surname to "Curtis"
They adopted the group name based on the superb John Wayne Western "The Searchers"
[Johnny Sandon and the Searchers playing at the Odd Spot, in Bold Street, Liverpool]
With this line up they became very popular, placing fifth in the first Merseybeat poll. They had their Cavern debut on 5th April, 1961.
However, Johnny Sandon elected to join the highly accomplished Remo Four, and the Searchers remained a four-piece, with Tony taking the lead vocal job.
Les Ackerley became their manager, and as he owned the Iron Door club they became a fixture their. In early 1962 Horst Fascher visited Liverpool to recruit talent for the forthcoming Star Club, and the Searchers were signed up for a Hamburg season.
The Searchers had a very distinctive sound. A good blend of vocal harmonies, backed by a strong instrumental base, with John McNally creating a very distinctive strumming from his Hofner Club 60 guitar. I saw them a few times, and they were certainly one of the best around at the time.
Back in England a recording contract with Tony Hatch saw their debut single "Sweets for my Sweet" go to the top of the hit parade. Other numbers followed including the terrific "Needles and Pins" which, for the first time featured Mike as lead vocalist. This eventually led to Tony Jackson quitting, to be replaced by Frank Allen, bassist with Cliff Bennett's Rebel Rousers, who they had befriended in Hamburg.
Since then they have had various changes in personnel, but today the Searchers remain one of the few Merseybeat groups still performing and touring all over the world.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Lee Clarkson, bass player for the revived Fourmost, on the 21FRETS Forum. Although none of the members of the group are from the original band, they still use instruments and dress from the 60's, playing live gigs in and around Liverpool and England.
The "Remo Four" were always considered one of the top groups on the scene. Formed by guitarist Colin Manley, they originally concentrated on instrumentals, and Colin was generally considered to be the equal of Hank Marvin. In 1963 they were joined by Johnny Sandon from the Searchers, and under the name "Johnny Sandon and the Remo Four" recorded for Pye. This is their best known record....
.... however they failed to break through nationally, and Sandon left, to be replaced by Tommy Quickly. They recorded a few more records, including this which was an obvious return to their instrumental origins....
..... the video was recorded during a long season at the Star Club Hamburg. Eventually members left, and Tony Ashon and Roy Dyke teamed up with Kim Gardner to enjoy success as the trio "Ashton, Gardner and Dyke". Colin Manley backed Freddy Starr, before joining the "Swingin Blue Jeans" He died in 1999.