23 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "Penny In My Pocket" / "I Hope You're Happy" (Fontana TF 916) March 1968

This could easily be a hit; good song, and a welcome return for the duo after a year off the disc scene. Harmonica added. Just missed a tip, but I feel I'll be proved wrong (Record Mirror review - March, 1968)

Record Mirror advert - March 1968

22 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "The Cat" / "Change Of Heart" (Fontana TF 845) June 1967

The Merseys sing a little song of jealousy on this rock-a-beater item with them in fine vocal form. It has a good tune and a grow-on-you appeal. Nice. And should give them their first hit since "Sorrow."
Flip: penned by Tony, features some barrel-house piano, a stomping beat and soft vocals. (Record Mirror review - June, 1967)

A David and Jonathan composition - and a real pile driver it is, too. Am exhilarating thumper, with an absorbing lyric which makes up for what it lacks in melody. The Merseys generate an intriguing vocal sound, often taking off into flights of falsetto. A wild, twangy, instrumental passage completes a disc that has all the hallmarks of a hit. But I have to be cautious about it's chances, as the group's been out of the limelight for a while.
Flip: a bouncy, jog trotting rhythm, highlighted by tinkling barrel-house piano. Almost in the Good-Time style. Again, a commendable vocal blend.  (NME review - June, 1967) 

NME - January, 1967

21 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "Rhythm Of Love" / "Is It Love?" (Fontana TF 776) November 1966

In some ways, the strongest yet from the duo. Lyrics praise the swivel-hip movement of a girl walking and the boys create some devious but exciting vocal movements. Builds well at fast tempo and doesn't let up on atmosphere. Highly commended.
Flip: a fair enough beat ballad but rather rambling. (Record Mirror review - December, 1966)


'Sorrow'  was discovered on the 'B' side of The McCoys 'Fever' by a guy called Ray, who worked for Kit and Chris. He said we had to listen to it 'cause there was something about it that he thought could be turned into a great record. It was a very Neil Young type of vocal and too country and western sounding. We loved it. So I rearranged the harmonies and decided to add a strange vocal line that was sung after the main line and that was it, we knew we had a winner.

We'd got Jimmy Page, Jack Bruce and Clem Cattini to play on it in a small studio in Denmark Street. We changed it again and then got a bigger band, including John Paul Jones (Jack Bruce couldn't make it to the second session), Jimmy Page, Clem Cattini, Benny Green and many more infamous musicians and did the song live at CBS Studios in New Bond Street, London.
This version remained in the vaults but can be found on the CD "Unearthed Merseybeat"

The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and the Troggs stopped us getting to number one but they were all classic records and we realized that at the time. To this day I still like 'Sorrow' and have never got fed up or bored with it. (Billy Kinsley). For more information about The Merseys go here.

20 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "So Sad About Us" / "Love Will Continue" (Fontana TF 732) July 1966

I like the way The Merseys always succeed in maintaining a strong melodic content, despite the fast moving pace. This is such a catchy tune that it opens with a la-la chorus, before breaking into an absorbing vocal blend.

Storms along at a stirring pace, accentuated by tambourine and cymbal crashes, plus brass in the deep background. A Pete Townshend number which deserves to be big.

Flip: Tempo slackens to slightly under medium pace. This has a pronounced plaintive feel, and a rippling accompaniment with a clavioline effect. (NME review, July 1966)

Pete Townshend song, faintly reminiscent, but a strong, repetitive line about it. The boys get a big, rather brash sound going, building well - The Phil - Dennis arrangement is cleverly designed to off-shoot the voices. A compulsive, odd worded, hit sound all round. Flip is gentler but also sound. (Record Mirror review, July 1966)

RAVE - July 1966


17 August, 2016


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 

Edsel vinyl compilation from the 1980s exploring The Merseybeats Beat and Ballad cuts

three Merseybeats members with Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp in the background

14 August, 2016


THE ROBB STORME GROUP - "Here Today" / "But Cry" (Columbia DB 7993) August 1966

The Beach Boys were probably America's biggest pop group import into Britain during the mid sixties but very few UK outfits recorded their songs. But here's one by The Robb Storme Group who at the time were the regular backing group of Paul & Barry Ryan.

"Here Today" is a cut from "Pet Sounds" and is ably covered here, the arrangement from Wilson Malone is neat and tidy, the vocal harmonies are excellent too. It must have been a daunting task to even get close to The Beach Boys original.

The flip "But Cry" is also good. Both sides have never troubled the compilers either, but if anyone should ever create a Beach Boys collection of songs recorded by other groups and artists The Robb Storme Group should receive some serious consideration.

Wilson Malone and other members became The Orange Bicycle and the former released a very sought after and expensive solo album on Morgan Blue Town in 1969. Lewis Collins, the actor who played Bodie in "The Professionals" was the bass player in The Robb Storme Group!

Robb Storme (vocals)
Tony Ollard (guitar)
Lewis Collins (bass)
Jim St. Pier (piano)
Wilson Malone (drums)
songs recorded at: Landsdowne Studios, London

13 August, 2016


THE MINDBENDERS - "Schoolgirl" / "Coming Back" (Fontana TF 877) November 1967

Everyone will know The Mindbenders hit "A Groovy Kind Of Love" but few will realise that afterwards their singles got progressively wigged-out, including this no hit wonder "Schoolgirl" from late 1967.

I doubt many would have even heard the record never mind bought it, because as was usually the case, the squaresville BBC banned "Schoolgirl" for it's lyrical content about teenage sex and pregnancy. Perhaps this is why The Hollies version, recorded during February 1967 was never released at the time. They would have known that being regarded as a pop group, under-age sex was always gonna be a difficult concept to sell on a record. The Standells also recorded a version!

Regardless of all of the idiotic notions "Schoolgirl" is a memorable song, written by hit-maker Graham Gouldman, who also produced both sides of the disc. Gouldman would become a full time member of The Mindbenders in 1968.

For reasons unknown to me, The Mindbenders re-recorded "Schoolgirl" for this single release. They recorded it earlier in the year and that version can be heard on their "With Woman In Mind" album released during April 1967. This single cut has wah-wah guitar and strings and is perhaps a little more psychedelic.

The B-Side "Coming Back" is also great inventive pop psych featuring not one but three fade-outs and is non-album and very obscure.

Promotional singles sent to Radio Stations and the music press featured a glossy fold out picture sleeve showing a blond go-go girl wearing a school uniform.


11 August, 2016


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

Norway release


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)

Record Mirror - December, 1964


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

10 August, 2016

THE MERSEYBEATS - THE MERSEYBEATS (studio album on Fontana)

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)


NME - June 1964

Record Mirror - June 1964