Saturday, November 14, 2009

Beat in Liverpool Buchclub EP

from JANCY

For many Liverpool groups of the mid sixties the dividing lines between soul and R&B was
never clearly drawn and this was especially true in the case of the Clayton Squares. From its
early beginnings in 1964 as the first local band to feature a two sax line-up, the Clayton Squares
embraced a very broad range of music in their repertoire - as is evident by the presence of the
Hank Williams track on this compilation. Pete Dunne (guitar and organ) had previously been
with the Flintstones and bassist Geoff Jones had been with the Georgians - another Quarry Bank
Grammar School R&B outfit. Les Smith (tenor) was fresh from art school, Terry Hines
(vocals), Bobby Scott (drums) and Mike Evans (alto) completed the squad.
The aforementioned Terry Hines was an extrovert with a very distinctive jazz-inclined voice.
According to alto player Mike Evans, Hines once sang an entire set with his back to the
audience and without even removing his duffle coat and scarf! Their repertoire ranged from
Buddy Guy's 'the First Time I Ever Met The Blues' and Bobby Parker's 'Watch Your Step'
(featured here) to the Bacharach-David composition 'Always Something There To Remind Me'.
In the spring of 1965 Terry Hines was replaced as vocalist by Denny Alexander from the
Kinsleys and the repertoire of the band shifted accordingly to reflect the new singer's interests in
Atlantic and Stax soul music. Songs by the likes of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett were
included and the band attempted to reflect a kind of Stax-cum-Muscle Shoals sound around the
clubs of Liverpool. In fact, Mike Evans has even suggested that the 'Squares were one of the
first groups in the entire country to play 'In The Midnight Hour'.
By 1965 they were playing the Cavern three or four times each week. Additionally they were a
very popular club act throughout the North West of England. Under the guidance of Cavern disc
jockey Bob Wooler, the group built a considerable local following and for a time in 1965 were
regarded as the 'next big thing'. They released a single on Decca - 'Come And Get It', produced
by Ian Samwell - which went straight to number one on the Liverpool charts. An appearance on
'Ready Steady Go' seemed to guarantee their future but the band then appeared to press a selfdestruct
button. Mike Evans simply remarks, "We blew it".
The 'Squares turned their back on Bob Wooler and signed with notorious London manager and
entrepreneur Don Arden. In their search for glory, they upped sticks to London but soon
discovered that London was full of "mod-style showbands". Within a comparatively short space
of time they drifted into obscurity. Apart from one other rather average Decca single ('There She
Is') nothing further was 'officially' recorded and the material on this album is the only footage of
the group at their peak of their popularity (spring, '65). Within 12 months or so of this recording,
the group had disintegrated.

Frankie Connor – broadcaster/deejay at BBC Radio Merseyside and former Hideaway
introduces the Hideaways and the album.
“It’s incredible to think as I sit here at home in January, 2002, that I’m about to recall an
obscure occasion that happened almost 37 years ago.
It was April 1965 and I played rhythm guitar with a local 5-piece R&B group the Hideaways.
School friends Ozzie Yue, John Shell and John Donaldson formed the group some 18 months
earlier; I joined just three months later. The line-up was then completed in early 1964 by the
arrival of harmonica player Judd Lander.
During the spring of 1965 we met two gentlemen from the Netherlands. They were putting
together a book to be titled ‘Beat in Liverpool’. The main focus of the book was to follow
around two local Liverpool groups – mainly, actually, the Clayton Squares – and the
The pair came to several Hideaway gigs around the city, namely the Cavern, the Iron Door, the
Way Down, the Mardi Gras and the Sink Club. I can’t recall if they recorded us at all of the
clubs mentioned (I seem to remember the equipment being a tape recorder over the shoulder
and a hand held microphone thrust into the air in the middle of the audience!) – but I think not.

I heard about a book only available on the continent about the Liverpool scene of the mid-1960s. Of
course, by this time there was nothing particularly unusual about that, but I also heard that a disc
was included with this book containing a recording of previously unheard live tacks from the
Clayton Squares and the Hideaways. I asked friends and fellow musicians to find a copy for me
but all to no avail. It was not until the late 1980s that a good friend – Dave Carlyle – discovered
one and purchased it for me.
I was a little disappointed to being with: the book was written in Dutch! However I eventually
gleaned a great deal from the text with careful reading and the superb photographs in stark black
and white were very atmospheric. There were many photos of the Clayton Squares, of course,
but there were also several of the Hideaways. Of particular poignancy were the shots of our
bass player John Shell in our favourite meeting place, the Kardomah Café in Whitechapel. John
could be seen with his then girl friend Elaine Curtis. They were, in fact, married shortly after
these photographs were taken. Sadly (tragically, in fact), John was to lose his life in the Vietnam
War (he was born in Dallas in 1947) leaving Elaine a teenage widow.
There was also that recording (the real reason I am penning these notes now) – the only known
live recording of the original Hideaways. The recording is rather primitive but to judge by
modern recording standards is to entirely miss the point. We always enjoyed playing the Sink
Club in Hardman Street, Liverpool. The owner, Neil English was also a very fair guy to us and
in 1965 every Wednesday night was ‘Hideaways Night’. The recording captures a wonderfully
distinctive vignette from one such night.
I sing the first number, the Arthur Alexander song ‘Black Night,’ and Ozzie Yue takes the vocal
on Bo Diddley’s ‘Keep Your Big Mouth Shut’ (by this time a staple of R&B bands all over the
country). I really do think that the recording captures the essence and the rawness of the kind of
material the Hideaways enjoyed playing. It wasn’t ‘rocket science’, but we were only 17/18
years of age, we loved our music, we really were great friends, and, as you might be able to
detect, we had a very loyal and vociferous following who shared our love of rhythm and blues.
Frank Connor
B.B.C. Radio Merseyside.

Die Platte bringt Life-Ausschnitte aus den Shows zweier in Liverpool besonders populären Gruppen,
der "Clayton Squares" und der "Hideaways".
Entscheidend für die Aufnahmetechnik war das Bestreben, möglichst viel von der Atmosphäre der Show
wiederzugeben. Der harte, die natürlichen Tonwerte verzerrende Klang der übersteuerten Lautsprecher,
die Schwingungen der unter dem ohrenbetäubenden Lärm vibrierenden Wände und Gewölbe, das rhythmische
Händeklatschen, die Zurufe und das Mitsingen der um die Gruppe versammelten weiblichen Fans, diese
für den akustischen Eindruck der Show so wichtigen Elemente sollten erhalten bleiben.
Die Hi-Fi Qualitäten erschienen uns beim dokumentarischen Charakter dieser Aufnahme zweitrangig.


The Clayton Squares at the Cavern Club
Watch Your Step
Hey, Good Locking
Tell Me How Do You Feel


The Hideaways at the Sink Club
Black Night
Momma, Keep You Big Mouth Shut

release only 1965/66 in germany with book "Beat in Liverpool"
Buechergilde Gutenberg, Frankfurt am Main
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