Graham Reid | | 3 min read
So much to enjoy about this quick cash-in on the Beatles.
And none of it to do with the music.
First there is the album title where – to avoid legal ramifications? – they use “Beattle”. Although on the label it is the more traditional spelling “Beatle”.
Then there is the problem of what the band's name is.
On the front they are called the Liverpool Kids.
On the back they are The Liverpool Moptops.
And on record itself they are The Schoolboys.
In the notes about the Liverpool Moptops they are described as “four young men” although the cover only shows three people – and none of them look especially “young”.
But to quote that more fully: “The Liverpool Moptops – these four young men, with a group of excellent musicians, have adopted the style of BEATLING, the hottest craze in show business on either side of the Atlantic”.
Yes, so much to enjoy . . . and we have yet begun to dig.
The clues are in those lines note: “show business” sounds very American (as does the music, more of that in a minute) but things get murky too.
The liner notes say the Beatles (that's the actual Beatles) “will shortly appear on the Ed Sullivan Show” which dates this some time before February 1964 and later that the “craze” of Beatling is so powerful that “a small clip on the Jack Parr Show of the original artists resulted in the sale of over a million albums, at a high price, and this was without the American public ever having seen or heard this group in the flesh”.
A clip of the Beatles appeared on the Jack Paar Show on January 3 1964 – which narrows down the release of this album to between that date and February 9's Sullivan appearance.
But the only albums by them available in the US at the time (as the liner notes suggest) was the Vee-Jay Introducing the Beatles which didn't sell a million
Meet the Beatles! (released January 20 in the US) certainly did, but over the following months.
So the cover notes were either out of date when they were written or prescient.
As to the music?
The only Beatles' song they cover is She Loves You (badly, lyrics misheard) and otherwise only Why Don't You Set Me Free (which cops it's melody and rhythm from I Want to Hold Your Hand) has much in common with the Beatles.
Even these sound more like very minor songs by the Merseybeats-meets-Bobby Rydell's Wild One.
There is prominent saxophone and on the weird Swinging Papa – which sounds more like Joey Dee and the Starlighters – they mention the “candy store” and that Papa “can't even do the Stroll”.
So we understand immediately that this is not just an American cash-in but one still stuck in about 1960.
In fact if it had come out then it might have been heard as halfway decent because on the second side Thrill Me Baby is sung by what sounds like a black r'n'b singer and I'm Lost Without You is New Orleans-styled piano pop in the manner of Fats Domino.
They do run out of Beatle-puff after the first two songs on side one and halfway through the second side the producer has clearly said to the band they need more filler because Pea Jacket Hop and the oddly titled but rather good Japanese Beatles are both instrumentals by the fairly accomplished studio band.
And there you have it.
Beattle Mash – or Beatle Mash – by The Liverpool Kids, or The Liverpool Moptops, or the Schoolboys.
Take your pick.
Actually don't bother.
I listened so you don't have to.
Elsewhere occasionally revisits albums -- classics sometimes, but more often oddities or overlooked albums by major or obscure artists -- and you can find a number of them starting here