(11) SOME OTHER GUYS – 32 MERSEYBEAT NUGGETS (1990, Sequel NED LP 102 (2LP), (NEX CD 102 (CD)) Pye is known for the Searchers but the label also had Johnny Sandon, Tommy Quickly and several other acts. It wasn’t difficult to come up with 32 key tracks for this compilation, although the Wackers, who weren’t from Liverpool, were included for sheer nerve. Among the gems are the Chants’ “I Could Write A Book”, the Remo Four’s “Peter Gunn” (which was praised by Duane Eddy) and the ‘Takers, actually the Undertakers, with “If You Don’t Come Back”. Solo singles recorded by Chris Curtis and Tony Jackson after they left the Searchers are included, as well as two tracks by Paddy, Klaus and Gibson – Messrs Chambers, Voorman and Kemp, respectively.
(12) WHAT ABOUT US? – MORE MERSEYBEAT NUGGETS (1992, Sequel NEX CD 204) 24 tracks from the Pye vaults and effectively, the ones left off the first volume. The title track is a fine cover of a Coasters’ song from the Undertakers. With “Donna Means Heartbreak” and “On The Horizon”, Johnny Sandon shows that he was an excellent beat-ballad singer and the Chester band, Jeannie and the Big Guys, were underrated.
(13) THIS IS MERSEYBEAT (1996, Hallmark 304422) Well, no it isn’t. This budget CD compilation features one El Cheapo remake after another, none of which improve upon the originals with Billy J.Kramer faring particularly badly and Gerry Marsden on autopilot. Geoff Nugent’s Undertakers perform “Barefootin'” and “Ferry Cross The Mersey”, but otherwise all the performers have recorded the material before. The album also includes three songs from the Tony Sheridan/Beatles session including “Sweet Georgia Brown”. “Sweet Georgia Brown” may mean little to you but, in 1987, Sheridan’s version was subject to an 18-page analysis in the academic publication, “Popular Music”, with Peter Doggett’s comment on the bass playing coming under close scrutiny!
(14) MERSEYBEAT (2006, Sanctuary CMEDD 1204, 2-CD) 50 track compilation, mostly from the Pye archives. There are a few EMI tracks “How Do You Do It”, “Hippy Hippy Shake”), but the Beatles are represented by “Ain’t She Sweet” and there is nothing from Decca. I’m also dubious about the credentials of the Wackers and Greta Ann. Good to have around and a couple of surprises are “It’s A Crime” (Kirkbys) and “It’s Almost Good” (Eddie Cave and Fyx).
Whilst the CDs above concentrate on previously issued material, I would strongly recommend UNEARTHED MERSEYBEAT, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 on Viper (CD016, CD027 and CD032). Each album contains 20 unissued or extremely rare Merseybeat tracks and there is some superb material here.