This is Mersey Beat (3) : Blues, Folk & Beatnicks

Please don’t presume that you have missed volume one and two of the series! Rather perversely, we have decided to use the title (and begin at ‘volume three’) as a small tribute to the two John Schroeder-produced long players made for the independent Oriole Records in 1963 and 1964.

The Clayton Squares

These two ‘This Is Mersey Beat’ compilations were deliberate attempts to cash in on the Mersey boom but they also represent an important phase in the history of the British recording industry. Schroeder actually ventured north and recorded the bands in situ, as it were (they were probably considered to be ‘field recordings’ by a few London-based record people!). 
The now long gone Rialto Ballroom – a splendid building constructed on Parliament Street, Liverpool 8 by British Gaumont between the wars – was the venue for these ‘field recordings’ and although Schroeder’s musical tastes were not exactly in tune with the varied sounds replete on Merseyside at that time, he did understand the cultural importance of this ‘thing’ called Mersey Beat and the two albums (and our thus dedicated series) stand as a testament to his historical responsiveness. The original recordings are now very rare but worthy of investment.

The Almost Blues

Adrian Henri

Sadly, Oriole always lurched from crisis to crisis and was eventually swallowed up by ATV/Pye. They did enjoy one or two hit records with the likes of Clinton Ford, Chas. McDevitt and Maureen Evans (and actually released a few Tamla Motown recordings under licence – ‘Fingertips 1&2’, for example by Little Stevie Wonder!) but then, as now, independent record companies found the going very tough.

 

Oriole enjoyed a brief flirtation with Chicago-based Mercury records in the 1950s and their budget arm – Realm – was responsible for a few valiant blues offerings (Lightnin’ Hopkins springs to mind) but, in truth, they were never long for this world. One can only presume that the Sanctuary/Castle/Sequel conglomerations have the masters of these historic recordings, having purchased the entire Pye back catalogue some years ago. An intelligent and sympathetic reissue is long overdue – 180 gram vinyl, perhaps? (improbable!).

The Hideaways


Track Listing

1. The Hideaways (live at the Sink club, Hardman Street, Liverpool, 1965). Black Night (Alexander)/Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (McDaniel).   9. T.L.’s Bluesicians (acetate recorded at CAM Studios, Moorfields, Liverpool, 1964). Down The Road, A-Piece (Walker).
2. The Almost Blues (b side of one-off ‘Unicord’ single recorded at CAM Studios, Moorfields, Liverpool, 1964). Jerk (Eddie Williams).   10. The Klubs (recorded for commercial release [single CAM 682] at CAM Studios, Moorfields, Liverpool, 1968). I Found the Sun (Klubs).
3. The Liverbirds (recorded in West Germany, 1964). Got My Mojo Working (Foster).   11. The Almost Blues (demo recorded at Abbey Road Studios, 1969). Loveitis (Harvey Scales).
4. The Crofters (recorded for commercial release [E.P. CAM 22] at CAM Studios, Moorfields, Liverpool, c. 1967). Sally Free and Easy (Tawney).   12. The Leesiders (recorded at Zella Studios, Birmingham, 1970). Mick’s Rag (Bob Buckle).
5. T.L.’s Bluesicians (acetate recorded at CAM Studios, Moorfields, Liverpool, 1964). Times Are Hard, Baby (Walker?).   13. The Klubs (recorded for commercial release [single CAM 682] at CAM Studios, Moorfields, Liverpool, 1968). Ever Needed Someone (Klubs).
6. The Clayton Squares (live at the Cavern, Mathew Street, Liverpool, 1965). Watch Your Step/Hey Good Lookin’ (Williams)/Tell Me How Do You Feel.   14. Jimmy Campbell (recorded in London, 1970). Dulcie (It’s December) (Campbell).
7. The Almost Blues (a side of one-off ‘Unichord’ single recorded at CAM Studios, Moorfields, Liverpool, 1964). Just Won’t Do Right (Brown).   15. Adrian Henri/Lawnmower (recorded at S.O.S. Studios, 1988). In The Midnight Hour (Henri – Pickett, arr. Peters).
8. The Liverbirds (recorded in West Germany, 1964). Leave All Your Old Loves (Birch).   16. Supercharge (recorded for commercial release [Stag Records] at Abbott Sound Studios, Chester, 1974). Tune, Gap, Clap, Fig (Donnelly)/Still Alive and Well (Derringer).

 
Tracks 1, 6 thanks to Frank Connor; tracks 2, 7, 11, 15 courtesy of Groovin’ Records;

Tracks 3, 8 by permission of Pam Birch (wie gehen sie?); tracks 5, 9, 16 courtesy of JJ Records Ltd. Grateful thanks to Jimmy Campbell, songwriter extraordinaire, for his kind permission to use track 14. I will always be in Bob Buckle’s debt - not only for track 12 - but also for his tuition and patience. One of this country’s greatest songwriters, Cyril Tawney, wrote track 4 and Liverpool’s wildest ever band was responsible for tracks 10 and 13 – grateful thanks to all.
 

Extended Sleeve Notes : Portable Document Format (.pdf)

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