On the Bank Holiday Monday, the stages were filled with tribute acts such as Robbing Williams, Definitely Mightbe, Perfectly Frank, the Bleached Boys, Squeezed and Nearly Dan. The new Liverpool bands included Amsterdam with their local classic, Does This Train Stop On Merseyside. I went to an exhibition of Beatles photography at the Iconography gallery and found Robert Whitaker signing prints. The Liverpool Echo proclaimed “Beatles Reunion Planned in 08″, a definitely mightbe story that Paul and Ringo would perform together.
This Is Merseybeat at the Empire was precisely that. The compere Billy Butler asked the audience to switch off their mobile phones “as it is interfering with our pacemakers”. The show opened with The Undertakers with three original members – Jackie Lomax, Brian Saxophone Jones and Geoff Nugent – recreating Just A Little Bit. Lomax, who has been living in California for over 30 years, sounded great. Kingsize Taylor, about to move to Hamburg, joined them for his raucous Stupidity. Beryl Marsden gave spirited performances of Everybody Loves A Lover, To Love Somebody and a boy’s song, Hi-Heel Sneakers.
Ray Ennis of the Swinging Blue Jeans bubbled with Scouse humour. When someone shouted, “I’m from Venezuela”, he looked at his watch and said, “You’ve missed your last bus.” It was good to hear some misses (It’s Too Late Now, Promise You’ll Tell Her) amongst the hits (Hippy Hippy Shake, You’re No Good) and I loved their versions of Shakin’ All Over and Don’t Make Me Over.
The Merseybeats with two originals, Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley did their hits, I Think Of You, Wishin’ And Hopin’ and Sorrow as well as Live And Let Die with laser lights and a stunning Let It Be Me. The Searchers (John McNally and a near original Frank Allen) were very good, but like the Blue Jeans, they take their hits a little too fast. The ballad, Somebody Told Me You Were Cryin’, was a showstopper and the rockabilly Seven Nights To Rock wasn’t far behind.
There were still events on the Tuesday but by then so many fans had been in The Cavern that it was unbearably hot. The Spencer Davis Group was excellent with the drummer taking a solo on I’m A Man whilst drinking a pint. Eddie Hardin on the Hammond was the equal of Steve Winwood on Gimme Some Lovin’ and Spencer himself did a fine job on Keep On Runnin’, although the higher notes eluded him. Miller Anderson shone on a killer House Of The Risin’ Sun. The bill also featured Joey Molland from Badfinger but the humidity was so horrible that I had to leave. The next day I bumped into a very hoarse Molland in the street. “Did you enjoy the show?” he croaked. “Sorry, Joe, it was too hot for me.” “That’s your trouble, Spencer, no stamina.”