Various Artists – Beat, Beat, Beat! Volume One – The Mersey Sound & Other Mop Top Rarities 1962 – 1963 (2001)

FrontCover1Castle Music deserves some kind of an award for their Beat, Beat, Beat series — and even more honor because it’s unique; no other label, including EMI and English Decca, would have the courage or ambition to go up through three years of the British beat and British Invasion booms, single by single, and B-sides, focused on a single label. There are about 150 minutes of eminently enjoyable, delightfully danceable British Invasion-style music on this two-CD set, filling it to overflowing, and don’t let the fact that most listeners have only heard of maybe three of the three dozen acts featured put you off. Usually, with a compilation like this, covering the complete generic output of a particular label — in this case, England’s Pye Records — for a specific period, there are lots of apologies to be made and explanations to be given about why various tracks should be tolerated. Not so here — every track on this set has value precisely as what it was in 1962-1963: eminently listenable, usually exciting and diverting rock & roll. For starters, any Dave Clark Five fans worthy of the name are probably going to have to own this set because of the two early tracks by the group, “That’s What I Said” and “I Knew It All the Time,” which open these two CDs — they’re about as good as anything else the band ever recorded, and very catchy.

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A pair of early dance cuts by the Roulettes at the outset of their career are no less compelling. Erky Grant & the Earwigs may have been a less-compelling talent, but even they had a rhythm section that could pound out a solid dance beat, and generated one solidly memorable song in “I’m a Hog for You Baby.” Nelson Keene, Bobby Shafto, and Dickie Pride, all late-’50s popsters, didn’t do a bad beat-style single in “The Kissing Had to Stop,” masquerading as the Guv’ners. Much more interesting is the harmony-based trio the Kestrels and their cover of “There’s a Place,” which attempts (successfully) to lay a more ornate and soulful vocal take on the early Lennon/McCartney original. In this company, the Searchers sound like world-class talents, but they’re not that far above, say, Danny Stormthe Viscounts (featuring future songwriter/manager Gordon Mills), who tried for a Merseybeat/harmony approach on “It’s You” and “I’ll Never Get Over You.” Johnny Sandon & the Remo Four show why both singer and band were able to endure as potential breakout talents for years on the enjoyably frantic “Lies” and the ballad “On the Horizon.” Those who are curious about the Undertakers, a top soul outfit from Liverpool who somehow never made it despite enjoying the publicly stated fandom of the Beatles, can start here, and folkish, harmony-based the Overlanders are similarly well represented. Future Graham Nash collaborator and Threshold Records artist Gregory Phillips is also here, doing the Billy J. Kramer-style “Angie,” and the disc ends with the Brian Epstein client Tommy Quickly and reliable Pye mainstays Joe Brown & the Bruvvers. Enjoyable as the first disc is, disc two is even better, showing off the label’s slightly more sophisticated later-1963 vintage efforts at emulating the Mersey sound as it became established, with serious and more compelling talents, including the Puppets (produced by Joe Meek), the Chants (superb singers who not only were based in Liverpool, but were black as well), and the Migil 4 (soon to become the Migil 5, a top bluebeat outfit).

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There are several examples of good early versions of songs that would later manifest themselves as hits in the hands of other bands, including Johnny Sandon & the Remo Four’s recording of “Magic Potion,” the Sundowners’ interpretation (complete with electric guitar) of “House of the Rising Sun,” and Pat Harris & the Blackjacks’ “Hippy Hippy Shake,” done in a high-energy Brenda Lee style. The sound is excellent throughout, giving good, solid, even pumped-up play to the bass and rhythm sections that will tell you why many of these groups came off so well when they played live. (by Bruce Eder)

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Oh boys and girls … what a great, sentimental trip in the very earlydays of British Beat …

And I will dedicate this entry to all these unknown heroes of teh times of Merseybeat:

The Roulettes – Buddy Britten & The Regents – Carter-Lewis – Joe Brown – Erkey Grant & The Eerwigs – The Guv’ners – The Kestrels – The Viscounts – Johnny Sandon & The Remo Four – The Hi-Fi’s – The Undertakers – The Overlanders – Gregory Phillips – The Bruvvers – The Puppets – The Chants – Nicky James – The Sundowners – Danny Storm & The Strollers – Pat Harris & The Blackjacks – The Migil 4 – Jeannie & The Big Guys – Dickie Rock & Miami Showband

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Tracklist:

CD 1:

Dave Clark Five feat. Mike Smith:
01. That’s What I Said (Clark/Ryan) 2.19
02. I Knew It All The Time (Murray) 2.25

The Roulettes:
03. Hully Gully Slip ‘N’ Slide (Vandyke) 2.09
04. La Bamba (Traditional) 2.31

Buddy Britten & The Regents:
05. My Pride, My Joy (Britten) 1.54

Carter-Lewis:
06. Here’s Hopin’ (Reed/Stephens) 1.59

Joe Brown:
07. What’s The Name Of The Game (Westlake/Subotsky) 2.34

Erkey Grant & The Eerwigs:
08. I Can’t Get Enough Of You (Mills)  2:22
09. I’m A Hog For You Baby (Leiber/Stoller) 2.08

The Guv’ners:
10. Lat’s Make A Habit Of This (Reed/Murray) 2.02
11. The Kissing Had To Stop (Howard/John) 2.00

The Kestrels:
12. There’s A Place (Lennon/McCartney) 2.16

The Searchers:
13. Sweets For My Sweet (Pomus/Shuman) 2.28
14. It’s All Been A Dream (Crummy) 1.50

The Viscounts:
15. It’s You (Mills/Paul/Wells) 2.11
16. I’ll Never Get Over You (Mills) 1.55

Johnny Sandon & The Remo Four:
17. Lies (Manley) 2.08
18. On The Horizon (Leiber/Stoller) 2:23

The Hi-Fi’s:
19, Take Me Or Leave Me (Bennett/Higgins) 2.01
20. I’m Struck (Bennett/Higgins) 2:51

The Undertakers:
21. (Do The) Mashed Potatoes (Rozier) 2.14
22. Everybody Loves A Lover (AdlerAllen) 2.17

The Overlanders:
23. Summer Skies & Golden Sands (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 2.32
24. Call Of The Wild (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 3.07

Gregory Phillips:
25. Angie (Springfield/Slater) 2.00
26. Please Believe Me (Beveridge/Oakman) 1.52

Tommy Quickly:
27. Tip Of My Tongue (Lennon/McCartney) 2.09
28. Heaven Only Knows (Rapaport/Murray) 2.21

Joe Brown & The Bruvvers;
29. Sally Ann (Klein) 1.57
30. There’s Only One Of You (Klein/Brown) 2:35

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CD 2:

The Puppets:
01. Everybody’s Talking (Cap) 2.01
02. Poison Ivy (Leiber/Stoller) 2.09

The Chants:
03. I Don’t Care (Amoo) 1.57
04. Come Go With Me (Quick) 2.32

Johnny Sandon & Remo Four:
05. Yes (Leiber/Stoller) 2.35
06. Magic Potion (Bacharach/David) 2.19

Nicky James:
07. My Colour Is Blue (James) 2.18

The Undertakers:
08. What About Us (Leiber/Stoller) 2.40
09. Money (That’s What I Want) (Bradfod/Gordy) 2.53

The Sundowners:
10. Baby, Baby (Takes) 2.12
11. House Of The Rising Sun (Traditional) 2:54

Danny Storm & The Strollers:
12. Say You Do (Storm/Pritchard) 2.10
13. Let The Sun Shine In (Barberis/Weinstein/Randazzo) 2.27

Pat Harris & The Blackjacks:
14. Hippy, Hippy Shake (Romero) 2.25
15. You Gotta See Your Mama Ev’ry Night (Rose/Conrad) 2.10

The Overlanders:
16. Movin’  (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 2.31
17. Rainbow (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 2.30

The Migil 4;
18. Maybe (Flynn/Madden) 2.24
19. Can’t I ? (Lovett) 2.29

The Searchers:
20. Sugar & Spice (Nightingale) 2.16
21. Saints & Searchers (Traditional) 3.18

Jeannie & The Big Guys:
22. Don’t Lie To Me (Dawson/Ford/Hiller) 2.19
23. Boys (Farrell) 2.06

Tommy Quickly & Remo Four:
24. Kiss Me Now (Martin) 1.55
25. No Other Love (Could Ever Be The Same) (Leonard) 2.00

The Chants:
26. I Could Write A Book (Rodgers/Hart) 2.02
27. A Thousand Stars (Pearson) 1.56

Dickie Rock & Miami Showband:
28. Boys (Farrell) 2.40

The Searchers:
29. Needles & Pins (Nitzsche/Bone) 2.14
30. Saturday Night Out (Anthony/Richards) 1.47

CD2A

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Ca. 1963 excerpt from Mersey documentary on the music scene, featuring The Undertakers (Jackie Lomax, Chris Huston, Geoff Nugent, Brian Jones, Bugs Pemberton) at the Iron Door Club in Liverpool.

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