The History of Mayfield Records

Mayfield Records was formed by Joe Flannery in Liverpool in 1981 as an offshoot of his agency Carlton-Brooke Enterprises. At that time Joe had been in partnership with Clive Epstein, brother of Beatles manager the late Brian Epstein, since the late 1970s (ostensibly to manage Liverpool band Motion Pictures). Previous to this, during the 1960s, Joe had been directly involved in the emergence of the Beatles in 1962. Indeed, for over a year, the Carlton-Brooke agency ran in tandem with NEMS Enterprises with Joe handling the bulk of the Beatles’ gigs away from Liverpool. Joe and Brian had been close friends since childhood, and Joe became a close personal friend and confidante of the young Beatles. When the sacked Beatles drummer Pete Best refused Epstein’s offer of joining another of Epstein’s stable, Joe placed Best in his brother’s group Lee Curtis & the All Stars.

A Beatles contract from the early years

Joe and Frankie Vaughn

The popularity in West Germany of Lee Curtis & the All Stars in 1963, necessitated a move there and, between 1963 and 1967, Joe Flannery was directly involved in the management of the Star Club in Hamburg and its assorted franchises across Germany. Joe booked most of the artists who appeared at this world-famous club (including, amongst many others, the Animals, the Pretty Things, the Rattles, the Hep Stars, the Action, Spooky Tooth and the great Jimi Hendrix). Joe also promoted his own roster of artists which, by this time, included singer Beryl Marsden and the female R&B band, the Liverbirds. He returned to Liverpool in 1967, disillusioned with the rock scene in Germany and distressed at the death of his old friend, Brian Epstein.
Joe’s partnership with Clive Epstein was ill-fated - according to Joe, Clive was rather fixated with attempting to recreate his brother’s success in the music industry - and it had already dissolved well before the latter’s untimely death in 1988. Carlton-Brooke continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s, however, (for example, Joe worked with Hall and Oates in New York in the mid-80s and put together boy band Ecos, now B.B. Mack, in the late 1990s)and Mayfield continued to release the odd (in some cases very odd!) recordings until the late ‘80s.

Joe and Paul

These records are now very rare and, although not directly related to any output by the Beatles, are highly collectable owing to Joe’s close (and continuing) relationship with the former Beatles and the Epstein family.

In more recent times, the label was somewhat becalmed as a result of Joe’s gradual move into semi-retirement (he now handles only one artist or group at one time - his current project being the exciting Liverpool-based band Cirkus). During the summer of 2000, however, Joe Flannery’s biographer, Mike Brocken (one of the few people in the world to hold both an MA and PhD in Popular Music Studies) was granted permission by the man himself to use Mayfield as the imprint for his new Merseyside reissues label project; Joe remains as Hon. President and consultant thus creating a unique and authentic continuum between the era being represented and the actual reissues.
Work is now afoot to release some of the most rare Merseyside-based beat, R&B, rock, folk, country and dance band music of the past 60 years or so. But Mayfield will be doing so in a very different way. Each CD will be hand-crafted and personalized in such a way as to make every copy not only an entertaining historical document, but also a unique artifact in its own right. Sleeves will be designed by Steve Hardstaff, a renowned artist who not only worked on Peter Blake’s ‘Sgt.Pepper’ project as a young art student, but was also closely involved in the great Eric’s club of the 1970s; he, too, has a specialist blues reissues label of his own - Pigmeat Records (see below for discography) which can be obtained via Mayfield Records.  

Joe with Cilla Black at her book signing

Each Mayfield CD will also be individually numbered and, where possible, signed! Sleeve notes will be extensive with (correct!) information being provided by Mayfield’s own in-house data base. This data base contains thousands of song titles, songwriters and record companies. In addition, it is hoped that the Chester Record Collector’s Co-operative will also be involved in cross-referencing - and all at a price to the customer of only £9.99 per CD. Truly a label by record collectors for record collectors!

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