Friday, June 4, 2010

V.A. - MERSEY BEAT


Mersey Beat is one of the better collections of its kind to come directly from EMI, encompassing obvious high points in that company's mid-'60s history (though not the Beatles, who cannot be compiled without their permission), along with some too-little-regarded tracks from the vaults.

Thus, alongside "How Do You Do It" and "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Gerry & the Pacemakers, "A Little Loving" and a soaring rendition of "The In Crowd" by the Fourmost, "Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Hippy Hippy Shake" by the Swinging Blue Jeans, and "Do You Want to Know a Secret" from Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, listeners get "I Know" and "Am I Dreaming" by Tiffany; "Tears on My Pillow" and "You Don't Have to Whisper" by her backing band, the Dimensions; the thumping harmony-highlighted rocker "I Really Do" by Earl Royce & the Olympics; and the frantic-paced "Rip It Up" by the Valkyries. This is all entertaining stuff, plus there are three genuine lost classics, the devastating "Break-A-Way" by Beryl Marsden; the pounding, smooth Kinks-like hard rocker "I Gotta Woman" from the Black Knights; and "Magic Potion" by the Koobas, done at a tempo half as fast as the version by the Searchers. Much of this material (though not all) is available elsewhere, though not mastered as cleanly or brightly as it is here. The annotation is minimal, but the sound quality and the combination of sounds are so compelling that even this reviewer, who has a shelf full of this kind of material, had to buy this as soon as he saw it. And the Koobas cut will be a real revelation for anyone only familiar with their later stuff.

1. Gerry & The Pacemakers - How Do You Do It (1:56)

2. The Fourmost - A Little Loving (2:07)

3. The Swinging Blue Jeans - Good Golly Miss Molly (2:06)

4. Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas - Do You Want To Know A Secret (2:04)

5. Tiffany - I Know (2:17)

6. Earl Royce And The Olympics - I Really Do (2:03)

7. Valkyries - Rip It Up (1:45)

8. Black Knights - I Gotta Woman (1:58)

9. The Dimensions - Tears On My Pillow (2:37)

10. The Kubas - Magic Potion (3:37)

11. The Fourmost - The In Crowd (2:33)

12. Valkyries - Whats Your Name (1:48)

13. Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas - Little Children (2:47)

14. Earl Royce And The Olympics - Que Sera Sera (2:56)

15. Gerry & The Pacemakers - I Like It (2:15)

16. The Dimensions - You Don't Have To Whisper (2:45)

17. Black Knights - Angel Of Love (2:38)

18. Rory Storm & Hurricanes - America (2:36)

19. The Kubas - I Love Her (2:36)

20. Gerry & The Pacemakers - Ferry Across The Mersey (2:25)

21. Tiffany - Am I Dreaming (2:33)

22. Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas - Bad To Me (2:21)

23. The Swinging Blue Jeans - Hippy Hippy Shake (1:45)

24. Beryl Marsden - Break-A-Way (2:43)

25. Gerry & The Pacemakers - You'll Never Walk Alone (2:37)
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