THE MERSEYBEATS – IN FOCUS

Their record releases reviewed


Here are some of my random thoughts and words about The Merseybeats over the years. All of the original Merseybeats blog posts on my old website have since been deleted so no label scans or picture sleeves are available. Instead, I’ve used images scanned from ’60s teen magazine ‘Girl’.

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”I Stand Accused” / ”All My Life” (Fontana TF 645) December 1965

There is something about this track that I find fascinating. It certainly isn’t the melody – there’s not really a tune you can whistle. Maybe it’s the intriguing lyric which holds the attention, or perhaps it’s that insistent thump beat which persists throughout – together with an underlying tinkling effect.

More likely, it’s a blend of all these factors. In any event, it’s a disc that’s well worth hearing, and one which must stand a chance.

Flip: Tempo slows for this wistful number. Not so forceful as the top side, but more melodic. Mainly solo voice, with harmony and handclapping support. (NME review – December, 1965)

Kit Lambert production for the recent hit-makers and a song that has a load of power, a repetitive quality that is very commercial and some first rate vocal touches. It builds well, too, holding the interest at a mid-tempo styling. Should be a sizeable hit. (Record Mirror – December, 1965).

Charted: 38 

(17/08/16)

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”I Love You, Yes I Do” / ”Good, Good Lovin” (Fontana TF 607) September 1965

Produced by Who co-manager Kit Lambert it has a rater dated sound. A James Brown song but lacking impact. (Record Mirror review – October, 1965)

A change of style for The Merseybeats showcases them in a beat-ballad, ”I Love You, Yes I Do, ” belted on a deep echo by the leader with ’oh yeah’ falsetto chanting and humming. Crashing drums and a plodding thump beat complete the backing.

Rather a strange disc, really – a blend of sweet corn and the Liverpool sound! But it’s a strong melody and a powerful performance, which should be more than sufficient to sell it. Fontana label.

In complete contrast is the wild ravin’ rocker ”Good, Good Loving,” with raucous guitar work, handclaps, shout style vocal and enthusiasm a-plenty. (NME review – October, 1965)  

Charted #22

(11/08/16)

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”Don’t Let It Happen To Us” / ”It Would Take A Long, Long Time” (Fontana TF 568) May 1965

In some respects, The Merseybeats remind me of The Searchers – possibly because their harmonies are subdued and not overbearing. On Fontana, they offer a soothing rockaballad with a lilting beat and captivating guitar figure, ”Don’t Let It Happen To Us.” More appealing than punchy, and could do better than their last.
”It Would Take A Long Time” is a happy-go-lucky jog trotter with a country feel, featuring the lead singer.  (NME review – May, 1965)

Difficult one to predict right now…..but The Merseybeats certainly do a very good job on it. The old Shirelles’ number, slightly strained after effect-wise here. Good beat. Certainly a good song. (Record Mirror review – May, 1965)

(11/08/16)

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”Last Night” / ”See Me Back” (Fontana TF 504) October 1964

Technically, ”Last Night” (Fontana) is one of the best discs The Merseybeats have yet recorded. But they may have difficulty climbing high with it, due to the current intense competition from other groups. A mid tempo shaker with a typical Liverpool sound – vibrant unison vocal, strumming, pounding beat, and ear catching harmonies – it has a melody that grows on you. I wasn’t so keen at first, but after three spins I\’d changed my mind.

An even more strident sound for ”See Me Back.” The heavily insistent beat is irresistible, but the melody takes a back seat. (NME review – October, 1964)

Latest from the frilly Liverpool team is again on the ballad kick. It’s a plaintive soft shuffle beater with a build-and-build sound and tender vocal work in strange contrast to the bizarre appearance. Heavy slow beat and good tune. Obviously a hit. Flip is a solid thumper with a medium pace beat and fair tune. (Record Mirror review – October, 1964)

Charted #40

(11/08/16)

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”The Merseybeats” (Fontana) June 1964

On to The Merseybeats, who turn in a surprisingly versatile performance all the way. Why surprising? Simply because it’s easy to get the wrong impression about a group’s capabilities purely from singles. On this powerful collection, the boys really ring the changes.

There’s a stack of originals. But also things like Richard Tauber’s old big-tenor song ”My Heart And I”, Rodgers And Hammerstein’s ”Hello, Young Lovers”, Irving Berlin’s ”The Girl That I Marry”.

Off we go, ”Milkman” is perky, brisk, written by Tony Crane and Johnny Gustafson. A nice opener. But ”Young Lovers” really swings, with lead voice galloping a beat laden track. ”He Will Break Your Heart” next, followed by ”Funny Face” – a new song of that name.

A talkie-sort of opening which is quite effective. ”Really Mystified”, with it’s hand-clapping insistence, comes off well at mid tempo. Then comes ”The Girl That I Marry”, delicately harmonised, utterly different – and compulsively satisfying.

”Fools Like Me” has a country styled approach. Then comes ”My Heart And I” – unusual. Sam Cooke’s ”Bring It On Home To Me” gets a rather inferior treatment mainly because they can’t find the true Gospel feeling. ”Lavender Blue” gets an efficient Sammy Turner type treatment. ”Jumping Jonah” rocks like crazy and ”Don’t Turn Around”, a Lee Stirling number, is a good finale.

Summing up: Colleague Norman Jopling says: I think a little more care could have been taken over some of the slower tracks. Then it could have been a similar level to, say, the Stones or Beatles LP.
And I say: I think it’s an excellently varied set. I was knocked out by their efforts to create (a) versatility and (b) originality. (Record Mirror review – June 1964)

(10/08/16)

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”Wishin’ And Hopin” / ”Milkman” (Fontana TF 482) July 1964

Dusty Springfield is enjoying a chart success in the States with Burt Bacharach – Hal David number ”Wishin’ And Hopin,” and I’m quite sure The Merseybeats will do so in this country. Although not written specially for them, it’s a melodic and subdued rockaballad of the type they do so well.

Unusually conceived clipped staccato phrases, it develops into a lilting theme well suited to this group’s hushed-voice approach. The rhythm is compelling, with tambourine prominent. Should do well!

An orthodox twister of no outstanding merit apart from it’s insidious beat, the Tony Crane – Johnny Gustafson composition ”Milkman” nevertheless makes an adequate B-Side. On Fontana. (NME review – July, 1964)

The Bacharach – David number is given a smooth ballad treatment from the lads who put a lot of genuine feeling in it. A different sort of ballad sound with a powerful build and build sound. It’s already a hit for Dusty in the States, and it must be a very big one for this competent group here.  

Flip comes from their LP and the film ”Just For You”. It’s a jaunty light-hearted beat ballad with a good danceable beat. (Record Mirror review – July, 1964)

Charted #13

(10/08/16)

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”Don’t Turn Around” / ”Really Mystified” (Fontana TF 459) April 1964

Another in the ballad vein from the team who are growing in popularity every week. It’s a good song, better even that ”I Think Of You”, and it should do at least as well in the charts. Good stuff and well performed. These lads are the Liverpudlians with a difference. Flip is a beatier number with good vocal work and an organ backing up heavily. (Record Mirror review – April, 1964)

It took about eight weeks for The Merseybeats’ ”I Think Of You” to register in the charts, but I’m confident their follow up ”Don’t Turn Around” (Fontana) won’t take nearly as long. It’s another captivating melody by the same composer as their current hit, Lee Stirling.
This new one doesn’t have such a pronounced Latin beat as it’s predecessor, but I particularly like the piano trills which offset the vocal phrases. What a refreshing change to hear a subdued Liverpool sound!

The unison vocal ”Really Mystified” is not outstanding material. But the boys still manage to inject personality into this medium twister. (NME review – April, 1964)

Charted #13

(09/08/16)

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”I Think Of You” EP (Fontana TR 17423) March 1964

Someone once said ”You can’t be sure of anything any more.” The speaker wasn’t making particular reference to the world of Big Beat, but he might well have been. However, it’s an accepted fact that The Merseybeats have come, and they’ve come to stay!

We knew they were here to stay as soon as their first disc, ”It’s Love That Really Counts”, hit the charts – the first ballad-styled record by a group to get there and stay there since ”beat” became a household word.

They followed this superb number with an even greater hit – ”I Think Of You”, the feature number of this EP. The first inkling of the future of this disc was when The Beatles, who made up the panel on ”Juke Box Jury”, voted it as a resounding hit! Proving them right, The Merseybeats coasted easily into the Top Ten with their Latin-styled winner.

songs:
”I Think Of You”
”Mister Moonlight”
”It’s Love That Really Counts”
”The Fortune Teller”

(09/08/16)

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”On Stage” EP (Fontana TE.17422) March 1964

Someone once said ”You can’t be sure of anything any more.” The speaker wasn’t making particular reference to the world of Big Beat, but he might well have been. However, it’s an accepted fact that The Merseybeats have come, and they’ve come to stay.

We knew they were here to stay as soon as their first disc. ”It’s Love That Really Counts”, hit the charts – the first ballad-styled record by a group to get there and stay there since ”beat” became a household word.

The impact of this first disc was phenomenal. They were featured on top beat shows on television, including ”Go Man Go!” and ”Ready Steady Go!”. Their appearances at such top clubs as Manchester’s Oasis required that sure trade-mark of success – police protection! Their first appearances on AR-TV’s ”Ready Steady Go!” caused such excitement that they were immediately contracted to make a return appearance, featuring the exciting numbers to be heard on this EP.

Charted #2 

songs:
”Long, Tall Sally”
”I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry”
”Shame”
”You Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover”

(08/08/16)

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”I Think Of You” / ”Mr. Moonlight” (Fontana TF 431) December 1963

The successful group get another gentle type ballad on this number and the boys sing very well. There’s a good sound here, and the whole thing is packed with appeal. It may not make the twenty, but it should partially repeat the success of ”It’s Love That Really Counts.”
Flip is an atmospheric beater. (Record Mirror review – December, 1963)

Charted #2

(08/08/16)

THE MERSEYBEATS – ”It’s Love That Really Counts” / ”The Fortune Teller” (Fontana TF412) August 1963

Newcomers to the Fontana label are The Merseybeats with ”It’s Love That Really Counts.” Pleasant surprise is the leisurely nature of the number. The melody, too, is particularly attractive. ”The Fortune Teller” is faster, beatier, and more in keeping with the Mersey sound. Unfortunately sound is all it’s got: the song itself is weak. (NME review – August, 1963)

Guess where this group comes from! Group vocal vie with lead guitar and somehow melt and mould the lyrics – above average – to suit their own purposes. Lacks the really powerful beat but it’s a well handled debut for all that. Melody is slightly complex but not too tricky to retain, nut-wise. Their harmonic ideas are quite excellent.

Flip is a lot faster and shows, again, that this group are not content to stick entirely with the current trends. They don’t mind a touch of the experiments. (Record Mirror review – August, 1963)

Charted #24

(08/08/16)

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