Mersey Beat '62-'64
(The Sound of Liverpool)
By Bill Harry
In the 1974 I was approached by record producer Andrew Lauder who wanted to compile an album of groups from the original days of the Mersey Sound. As the original master tapes for the Oriole albums ‘This Is Mersey Beat’ Volumes One and Two had been wiped out for re-use at Oriole, I lent my original copies for Andrew to be able to include tracks on this compilation.
In addition I prepared a dummy Mersey Beat issue to be included with the album.
Looking at the dummy issue recently I thought that some of the items I wrote for them might be interesting to include on the site.
The cover was partly a replica of one featuring the Searchers from February 13 1964. The additional copy I’d written was called:
Goodbye To The Cavern & All That!
“Liverpool is a place of slogans. Wherever you may go there’ll be bold messages painted across walls in whitewash or paint, whether hailing the name of a new gang, extolling the Pope, proclaiming solidarity with the Trade Unions or screaming of the plight of a city which is being destroyed. Sprawled across a new church were the words ‘Don’t build churches, build houses.’ That is the sort of feeling in Liverpool today when the entire city centre is being flattened to make way for motorways, skyscraper hotels and characterless concrete office cells.
“The people? They’ve been shoved out to the Estates in Skelmersdale, Kirkby, Speke.
“Perhaps some indication is given here in why no new Liverpool sound was able to develop. In less than ten years the face of Liverpool has changed so drastically, despite the protests of the people who once lived there, that you are left with vast sites where houses once stood, empty but for a new breed of grass.
“The original Cavern is gone. Knocked down to make way for an air vent for a new underground station. In its way an historical attraction and magnet for tourists, it has become as expendable as everything else that has come under the breakers’ hammer. The Mardi Gras has been flattened to be replaced by a multi-story car park and most of the other venues have been either knocked down or blown out.
“The Rialto Ballroom, where John Schroeder recorded 24 groups in two-days for the ‘This Is Mersey Beat’ albums, is a warehouse; The Tower Ballroom, site of the major promotions, was burned down; the Liverpool Stadium, a popular venue since the first memorable concert when Gene Vincent appeared with top local groups, is soon to be knocked down; Stanley Stadium is gone; the Locarno is now a sporting club.
“The Depressing list goes on.
“Today, all the atmospheric places where the Mersey Sound pounded out nightly, have been replaced by a completely new type of venue: the plush pub and cabaret club.