Behind The Scenes 1
Congratulations to Mike Pender. he had a night off last week, just before the night of the Searchers' New Brighton Show, and could be expected reasonably to stay at home.
He didn't, however, but went to help judge a Rose Queen competition in Mossley Hill, together with his wife.
The appearance was at St. Anthony of Padua's youth club and was a special favour to Fr. Ignatius, the pop-picking Franciscan priest who runs the club.
One of the biggest attractions on the fabulous package show which brought
Kingsize Taylor & the Dominoes back to Liverpool at last was Howie Casey.
Howie, of the saxophone and hat, was one of the first Merseyside stars and had he stayed around could have been bigger than anyone.
He was on the first record to be made by a Liverpool group, with the Seniors, which included Derry Wilkie and Freddie Starr.
Now rumour has it that an enterprising manager or group may take it into their head to try to entice Howie back to his homeland.
The only pity is that if this comes about, then the fabulous Dominoes will suffer - and it's bad enough
they're staying away so long without their sound being impaired too.
A visiting group were all ready for the photographs to be taken the other day, unconcerned about the fact that they were posing in the middle of a busy road.
Suddenly a car came down the road behind the photographer - and hooted noisily.
The photographer nearly jumped out of his skin - and the group being well brought up lads nearly laughed their heads off.
But the biggest laugh of all was from the driver. It was Gerry Marsden, just back from the USA - and everyone was laughing at the chaos he'd caused as he drove away waving.
Back in Liverpool for a brief visit was Bryan Collings, former manager of the Rialto.
Bryan, who was a scene stalwart for years, says he misses Merseyside very much down in
London, where he now manages the Finsbury Park Majestic.
"There's quite a scene down there too," he claims, "and some of the stage acts and general presentation of groups could teach Liverpool groups a thing or two."
Bryan added that he sees people occasionally from up north and would be glad if anyone playing in London looked him up.
"Incidentally," he put in, "if there's a group who'd like to back a great R&B singer called Johnny Apollo in London - then do get in touch. He's a really good boy and he wants a Liverpool backing outfit.
Is there a positive move to oppose Blue Beat here on Merseyside? John Carney, outspoken leader of the Mersey Blue Beats believes there is - and says so forcefully.
"We find this opposition from promoters and ballroom managers," he told me.
"It seems as if they are reluctant to book us - or even to consider us - in case we harm the image of nothing but Mersey Beat for Merseyside.
"In fact," went on John, "we get a great reception wherever we play. Kids like us and so do older folk. But if we manage to get one booking - and we've played at all the major venues on the scene - we rarely get another."
John, who is 20, and who plays drums, adds that it has happened more than once that a promoter has refused the Mersey Blue Beats a booking saying that no one wanted their sound.
"Then a couple of weeks later the promoter has come up with his own Blue Beat group," added John. "There ain't no justice."
For the record, the Mersey Blue Beats have a very pleasant sound - if you like Blue Beat. They're bouncy, bright and possibly have an attractive future.
They've been together since about Christmas and have regular bookings at the Locarno and Hope Hall.
Their line-up is: John Carney, drums; Billy Cookson, 19, lead; Jimmy Bannon, 20, bass; John Ustch, 18, rhythm; John Hart, 26, saxophone and Jamaican Joe Ailey, 19, vocalist.