A splendid time is guaranteed for all

So you think you’ve heard it all before? There’s definitely a case to be made for Sgt Pepper being the most over-rated album ever. For years, it regularly topped ‘best album’ polls whether voted for by critics or fans. But at some point over the last 15 years, it started to fall from favour. Overfamiliarity means it is now often passed over, with Abbey Road having become the more highly regarded album from The Beatles output (I prefer A Hard Day’s Night, Revolver and the White Album myself, thanks for asking!). Pepper may still make the top ten in these polls, but it’s not the talking point it once was.

However, giving the album my full attention for the first time in many years the other night (and at high volume), I found myself hearing it with fresh ears and a new perspective. Part 1 of the Merseybeat mixtape (covering the years 1963 to 1967) put the album firmly in context, and clearly showed what a huge leap forward this brilliantly inventive album was at the time. McCartney’s fluid and melodic bass playing throughout the album steals the show. The Indian percussion on Within You Without You is another highlight, as is Lennon messing around at the end of Lovely Rita. While listening, I found myself noticing long-forgotten small details and was thoroughly swept along by the music, smiling and laughing along the way.

Overrated or underrated? Listen again…

Anyway…

My thanks to Steve Roberts for choosing two great albums and sharing his stories of the Liverpool music scene. Whilst Sgt Pepper may have been familiar to most who were there, I think it’s probably fair to say that very few had heard the Rockin’ Horse album before, myself included. It’s the mark of good songs that after just one listen (and several days later) I still find myself humming them. With echoes of Badfinger and latter day Beatles, the nearest comparison I can draw is the first Big Star album, particularly the songs of Chris Bell. Definitely one to check out if you’re partial to a bit of 70s power pop.

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I’d also like to thank Roy Berry for sending me a couple of Merseybeat rarities to include on the ‘mixtape’, and to Brett, Matt, Rick, Jonathan and the other Steve for bringing Liverpool records to share. An extra ‘thank you’ to Matt for the photos.

The next session is on Thursday 10th April – Sun Records and The Million Dollar Quartet, hosted by record club regular Bill Jubb. More details soon.

MUSIC PLAYED

Listen to the digital highlights mix here.

The Beatles – I Feel Fine (7”, Parlophone, 1964)
Cast – Alright (7”, Polydor, 2005)
The Teardrop Explodes – Bouncing Babies (7”, Zoo Records, 1979)
The Teardrop Explodes – Books (7”, Zoo Records, 1979)

The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Parlophone, 1967. 2012 reissue)

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Side One: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends/Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds/Getting Better/Fixing A Hole/She’s Leaving Home/Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite

Side Two: Within You Without You/When I’m Sixty-Four/Lovely RIta/Good Morning, Good Morning/Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)/A Day In The Life

The Tambourines – Taxman (live) (She Blows My Mind EP, Long Beach Records, 1991)
Kenny Everett – Nice Time (7”, Deram, 1969)
Freddie Starr and The Midnighters – It’s Shaking Time (7”, Decca, 1963)
Rain – Lemonstone Desired (7”, Columbia, 1991)
Unknown – Eleanor Rigby (white label)
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Souvenir (Architecture & Morality, Dindisc, 1981)
The Wild Swans – Revolutionary Spirit (12” Zoo, 1982)
Frank Sidebottom – Twist And Shout (Medium Play EP, In Tape, 1990)
The Hokum Clones – Breakin’ From A Jailhouse Blues (7”, For Us Records, 2003)
Echo & The Bunnymen – Rescue (Songs To Learn And Sing, Korova, 1985)

Rockin’ Horse – Yes It Is (Philips, 1971. Sing Sing reissue, 2012)

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Side One: Biggest Gossip In Town/Oh Carol, I’m So Sad/You’re Spending All My Money/Baby Walk Out With Your Darlin’ Man/Don’t You Think I Ever Cry/Yes It Is

Side Two: Stayed Out Late Last Night/Delicate Situation/Son, Son/Golden Opportunity/I’m Trying To Forget You/Julian The Hooligan

merseymontage

The Real People – The Truth (7” Columbia, 1991)
Half Man Half Biscuit – Dickie Davies Eyes (7”, Probe Plus, 1986)
The Norrie Paramor Orchestra – Theme From Z-Cars (7”, Columbia, 1962)
The Lightning Seeds – Pure (7”, Ghetto Recording Company, 1989)
The Scaffold – Lily The Pink/Thank U Very Much (EP, EMI, 1977)
Ken Dodd – Tears (20 Golden Greats, Warwick Records)
Lily Savage – Tough At The Top (12”, Nightmare Records, 1988)
Alexei Sayle – Play That Funky Music Jewish Boy (Panic, CBS, 1985)
Norman Vaughan – Things Are Swingin’ (A Touch Of The Norman Vaughans, Pye Golden Guinea, 1968)
Arthur Askey – I’m A Little Wrong Note (Hello Playmates, Oriole, 1957)
Jimmy Tarbuck – Let’s Dance (Jimmy Tarbuck, RCA Victor, 1968)

Merseybeat (…and beyond) mixtape

reel1 reel2
The Big Three – Some Other Guy (1963)
Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas – Bad To Me (1963)
The Fourmost – I’m In Love (1963)
The Swinging Blue Jeans – You’re No Good (1964)
Gerry & The Pacemakers – Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying (1964)
The Eyes – She (1965)
The Mojos – Everything’s Alright (1964)
The Merseys – Sorrow (1966)
The Kirkbys – Penny In My Pocket (1966)
The Searchers – Popcorn, Double Feature (1967)
Wimple Winch – Save My Soul (1966)
Koobas – Gypsy Fred (1967)
The 23rd Turnoff – Michael Angelo (1967)
The Remo Four – In The First Place (1967)
Jackie Lomax – Sour Milk Sea (1968)
Stealing Sheep – Genevieve (2012)
Miles Kane – Better Left Invisible (2011)
The Coral – Don’t Think You’re The First (2003)
The La’s – Feelin’ (1990) Shack – Cup Of Tea (2006)
Ian McNabb – Liverpool Girl (2001)
Half Man Half Biscuit – The Trumpton Riots (1986)

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2 thoughts on “A splendid time is guaranteed for all

  1. Actually I believe that every Beatles fan invariably likes just about every album as “BEST” over the course on ones life. At my present point in life Rubber Soul has been spinning on my turntable fairly frequently these days. Very nice Mixtape by the way.

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