Tuesday, June 22, 2021

 The Merseybeats / The Merseys - I Stand Accused – The Complete Merseybeats and Merseys Sixties Recordings

With bands like The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and The Searchers all exploding on the scene, Liverpool in the early 60‘s was a hotbed of musical activity.  Amongst the other bands that were part of the explosion and actually shared their band name with that scene were The Merseybeats. While they only released one album, one EP and a handful of singles, they had several hits including the ballads “I Think Of You, “It’s Love That Really Counts” and “Don’t Turn Around” all of which really showcased their strong vocals harmonies.  In addition to the hits there were many other standout  tracks like their covers of “Fortune Teller”, “Mister Moonlight” and “Shame Shame Shame” (the latter very reminiscent of early Rolling Stones).  Unfortunately that success was fleeting for them and they broke up in 1965.  A year later founding members Bill Kingsley and Tony Crane formed the band The Merseys, releasing several singles that maintained a similar sound to their prior band and having a hit with their cover of The McCoys song “Sorrow” (this song was later covered by Bowie on Pin-Ups).  All of their recordings from these releases are included in this excellent two-disc box set, along with some demos and unreleased tracks.  In addition to all this they’ve also compiled all the tracks from various groups that splintered off from the band during this time period.  One of these is a track by The Kinsleys, a short-lived band formed by bassist/vocalist Billy Kinsley after he left the band for a short while in 1964.   There are also ten outstanding songs from various bands led by Johnny Gustafson, who was vocalist and bassist after Kinsley left the band and is also notable later on as a member of Roxy Music and the Ian Gillan Band.  These start with a couple solo singles, then one from Johnny and John and finally two more with The Quotations (the latter 2 bands also included former Merseybeats drummer John Banks).   With the addition of a 24 page booklet full of pictures and an outstanding essay outlining the history of the band and it’s various offshoots I Stand Accused is an excellent and extremely comprehensive look at this era of The Merseybeats.  

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