Looking for the Mersey Beat Vol 1 no. 13 Jan 1962 for my dad. He has the record that the paper was on the cover and I wanted to make a really nice display with the record and the paper that was on the cover. He kinda only wants the authentic one but I’m not sure if they even exist anymore, please email me and let me know if I can buy a copy or a reprint or something please.
Reprints of that particular issue are available on www.rockandpopshop.com)
John and Maureen Breslin
Thank you Bill Harry, for this great site and for all things Liverpool. I’ve twice been to your great city. I feel there are great similarities between my home, Boston, Massachusetts and yours.
If you bump into a very nice man named Bernie Evans, please tell him "hello" from John and Maureen, in Boston, U.S.A. He was nice enough to give us a grand tour of the Jacaranda, which was a thrill.
I’m not sure that Liverpudlians fully understand the great impact the sons and daughters of your city had on so many of our lives, here in the States. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for instilling a little bit of the "Liverpool life" in this skinny Irish 10 year old from Massachusetts [in 1964].
(Dear John and Maureen,
People from Liverpool are always referred to as Liverpudlians or Scousers, but did you know that the proper term from someone from Liverpool is actually ‘Liverpolitan’? If Bernie reads the site he’ll get your message.
The Beatles appeared twice in Boston: at the Boston Garden on 12 September 1964 and at the Suffolk Downs Racetrack on 18 August. I’m looking for someone to write a ‘Beatles in Boston piece for the site.)
An interesting article about the Beatles in Nottingham. I was 17 years old when they appeared in the Co-op Ballroom and spent about eight hours chatting to them. I was too young to work behind the bar so my job was collecting empty glasses. Before the concert I didn't even know who they were.
At 6pm I went up to the ballroom in the staff lift with Paul and John - and didn't recognize them. Those eight hours with them (in our staff canteen) as with their music, has had a tremendous influence upon my life.
By the way, after the concert their manager went to the cloakroom and grabbed a pile of coats. Unfortunately my coat was among the pile, bought by my mother six weeks previously. Pity about the coat but what a memory! During that year under the same circumstances I met and chatted with almost all the top bands, Beatles, Swinging Blue Jeans, Mersey Beats, Animals, Kinks, Four Pennies etc etc etc. What a year!
I’ve just recently come across your online ‘Mersey Beat’ site by accident – isn’t Google wonderful! While being personally more associated with Chester than Liverpool. I remember the original 'Mersey Beat' paper well.
Regarding your mention that the River Park Ballroom was ‘famous in Chester’, my memory is that at one time the River Park Ballroom most certainly was for a night out but during the time in question it was literally going down hill fast due to various establishments in and around the city that were in direct competition with it for likewise business. I suspect the introduction of those early evening bingo sessions just about kept the cash flow positive. That was until the inevitable losing out by the mid 60s to the likes of Mecca and Rank’s nationwide chain of more customer friendly mega prize bingo halls along with the rise of the ubiquitous discothèque.
For a mere unattached youth of some 16 going on 17 years of age the River Park Ballroom was not a place one went looking for casual opposite sex company by virtue of the fact that there were rarely any of the unaccompanied variety there. Put that together with a license to sell alcohol and an apparent harmless chat to a pretty face was not without its risks. Being that the odd flare-up of sporadic violence from time to time was not an uncommon occurrence between seemingly male virility offended parties.
Me, I was just there to hear what was coming out of those amplifiers and as long as I didn’t bring any unwelcome attention upon myself nobody seemed to bother if I was under-aged or not. Nevertheless, it was a relatively cheap night out - the bar takings somewhat making up for that not being taken on the door.
Although, long since demolished, the River Park Ballroom used to stand on the Grosvenor Park side of the junction of Union Street / Vicars Lane with Love Street. In appearance it was a rather weather beaten looking, stand-alone, medium sized and predominately wooden single
story structure that if my memory serves me correct was comfortable with about 250 to 300 patrons in attendance. Once inside, everything was on the one level with no steps to trip oneself up on.
The sound, especially the vocals, had a tendency to get progressively distorted the greater the volume and the faster the tempo. Acoustically, the room was better suited to slower tempo and less driving numbers. Between songs, when it was raining heavily, one could hear the rain bouncing off that part of the roof directly above the dance floor
I seem to remember things getting underway round about the 8 o’clock mark and winding up, after the bar closed come 10.30, at about 11. There were normally two groups on the bill doing approximately two 40 minute slots apiece. However, on the occasion of a late start the group playing opening support would usually be forced to reduce its playing time.
The Hignetts of Chester, of whom the then River Park Ballroom manager [Ken Hignett] was one, were a well-known family in and around the city for their various local business activities. Having by then long established a pair of very popular and well run Fish & Chip shops of the old fashioned, sit down to eat off a plate with a knife and fork, variety - no Chinese or McDonald / Burger King outlets in them days. I wish I had a pound for every time my father used to say, "I could just do with some fish, chips and peas, two rounds of bread 'n' butter and a sit down cup of tea at Hignetts" when he was feeling a bit hungry.
While I'm 99% certain that the Hignett family did not own the freehold of the River Park Ballroom being that it was situated on the very edge of Grosvenor Park and therefore City of Chester land, I strongly suspect that their names were somewhere on the leasehold agreement.
Re the appearance of Johnny Hutchinson with the Beatles on August 16 1962: although, I was unaware at the time that Pete Best had been given the ‘push’ – I was there [at the River Park Ballroom] that night because I can remember the presence of a seemingly out-of-place Big Three drummer on stage with the Beatles.
And regarding Adrian Barber’s coffins: Yes, I can well remember those Big Three black coffin style amps. At the end of the night I seem to recall them being wheeled upright across the dance floor, out the front entrance and onto the pavement for eventual insertion into a waiting van.