Liverbirds, The (aka The Liver Birds)

Band members               Related acts

  line up 1 (1962-63)

- Valerie Gell -- rhythm guitar, backing vocals 

- Irene Green -- vocals 

- Sheila McGlory -- guitar, backing vocals 

- Sylvia Saunders -- drums, percussion


  line up 2 (1963-67)

Pamela Birch (aka Pamela Burch) (RIP 2009) -- vocals,

  lead guitar (replaced Irene Green) 

- Valerie Gell -- rhythm guitar, backing vocals 

- Mary McGlory -- bass, backing vocals 

- Sylvia Saunders -- drums, percussion




- The Bikinis (Mary McGlory)

- The Debutones 

- The Demoiselles (Sheila McGlory)

- The Gilded Cage

- Tiffany (Irene Green)

- Tiffany's Dimensions (Irene Green)





Genre: garage

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Liverbirds

Company: Star Club

Catalog: 158 003 STY
Year: 1965

Country/State: Liverpool, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: German pressing; stereo pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5395

Price: $150.00


All girl rock groups have become common place in this day and age, but back in the early 1960s they were a rarity.


Inspired by Liverpool's roaring music scene, rhythm guitarist Valerie Gell, singer Irene Green, former Bikinis bassist Mary McGlory, sister/guitarist Sheila McGlory, and drummer Sylvia Saunders formed The Debutones in early 1962.  Following popular trends they initially started out as an  instrumental-focused quartet, but following popular trends, quickly incorporated pop and R&B influences into their repertoire.  Within a year, not interested in following the band to Hamburg, Germany, Green and Sheila McGlory were gone, replaced by former folkie/guitarist Pamela Birch.  Green reappeared as a member of Tiffany's Dimensions, going on to record a pair of solo singles, while McGlory joined The Demoiselles.  The revamped group also opted for a name change - The Liverbirds.  


Pamela Birch - Valerie Gell - Sylvia Saunders - Mary McGlory


Unable to generate much attention locally, at the recommendation of manager Joe Flannery, like many other Liverpool bands in 1963 the band packed up and relocated to Hamburg where the local press dubbed them 'The female Beatles' helping them become one of the more popular expatriate bands on Manfred Weissleder infamous Star Club circuit.  Having signed a short term contract, the band returned to Liverpool, but were greeted with total indifference.   Certain that he could capitalize on their all-girl lineup, in 1964 Weissleder offered them a contract on his Star Club label.  They once again packed their bags for Germany, making their debut with the single 'Shop Around' b/w 'It's Got To Be You' (Star Club catalog number 148 508 STF).   That was followed by a second 45 'Diddley Daddy' b/w 'Leave All Our Loves In the Past (Star Club catalog number 148 526 STF).



While they weren't major sellers the 45s did well enough for their label to finance an LP.  Sonically "The Liverbirds" was a bit on the raw side, though that proved the perfect setting for The Liverbirds' raw and pounding sound.  Anyone expecting to hear something in the Cella Black, or Lulu pop vein was definitely in for a major shock.  While they weren't the most accomplished Liverpool-based outfit you'd ever heard, these ladies generated more energy and enthusiasm than most of their male contemporaries.  Musically the set featured a mixture of popular American R&B and soul covers.  There was also one original - the Birch penned ballad 'Leave All Your Old Loves'.  The arrangements seldom strayed far from the originals, but the girls' sheer energy managed to make the performances worthwhile.  Highlights included 'Can't Judge a Book By Looking at the Cover', 'Talking About You' and a rocking 'Mona'.  At the other end of the spectrum, their isolated stabs at more pop-oriented material including 'Love Hurts' and 'Leave All Your Old Loves' were simply painful.  Clearly these tough chicks just weren't meant to cut a sappy ballad.  Like I said, not the most original LP you've ever heard, but something I've actually put on CD-R for personal use.  I would have paid to see them live ...  Doubt they had attitude?  Check out this Star Club promo picture:


Mary McGlory - Valerie Gell - Sylvia Saunders - Pamela Birch 


"The Liverbirds" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Johnny B. Goode  (Chuck Berry) - 2:25

2.) Can't Judge a Book By Looking at the Cover   (Ellington) - 2:59

3.) Love Hurts - 3:00

4.) Talking About You  (Chuck Berry) - 3:03

5.) Mona    (MacDaniel)- 3:22

6.) Money   (Gordy - Bradford) - 3:10


(side 2)
1.) Too Much Monkey Business   (Chuck Berry) - 2:38

2.) Road Runner   (MacDaniel) - 3:06

3.) Diddley Daddy  (MacDaniel) - 3:48

4.) Hands Off  (McShann - Bowman)  - 2:35

5.) Before You Accuse Me - 2:42

7.) Leave All Your Old Loves   (Pamela Birch) - 3:00

8.) Got My Mojo Working   (Foster) - 3:18



Maybe not a major surprise, but there isn't a great deal of online information to be found.  The best site I've stumbled across is located at:





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  More of the Liverbirds

Company: Star Club

Catalog: 158 021 STY

Country/State: Liverpool, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: German pressing

Available: --

Catalog ID: 5956

Price: $200.00



I'd been looking for a copy of their sophomore LP for years and finally found a copy in a cutout bin at a Richmond, Virginia store that dealt primarily in heavy metal ...  beats me how it got there, but I was more than happy to take it home.



Produced by Siegfried Loch, 1966's "More of The Liverbirds" wasn't a major departure from The Liverbirds debut album.  Like the first LP, the sophomore set featured a mixture of American and UK covers; the one exception being Pamela Birch's 'Why Do You Hang Around Me'.  Exemplified by tracks like 'He's Something Else' and 'Why Do You Hang Around Me' the sound may have been slightly brighter and more sophisticated this time out (thanks to engineer H.G. Dozel) and the earlier emphasis on classic rockers was modified to include a couple of more recent numbers such as The Yardbirds' 'For Your Love'.  Still, if you were looking for cutting edge (circa 1966) musical sophistication and originality, this was clearly not the album for you. That said, a large part of the band's charm lay in their 'mean girl' image and their raw, live sounding performances. You clearly weren't going to buy a Liverbirds album expect to hear the cutting edge sophistication of "Revolver".  Unfortunately, while the debut album managed to capture at least some of those characteristics, in trying to clean up their sound, the unintended consequences were to demonstrate the band's limited technical proficiencies.  Shrill and out of tune vocals, clumsy instrumental performances; it was all here.  Most folks will find the results amateurish, or simply appalling, but there's also a smaller group that will appreciate the results.


- The song may have been little more than a loving homage to a favorite food, but with Pamela Birch giving the song a sly, slinky edge (and a great little guitar solo), 'Peanut Butter' came off as nifty rocker.   Easy to see why it was tapped as a single.   rating: *** stars     

- Wow, 'It's So Exciting' was rough.  I'm not sue who handled the lead vocals, but the poor woman sounded like she was slowly being strangled.  The song was actually a decent little rocker, but that screeching lead vocal !!!   Giving credit where due, Birch turned in a nifty little riff at the end of the song.   rating: ** stars     

- With a weird Greek influence (the arrangement included an odd organ and someone trying to play a balalaika, or a poor tuned acoustic guitar), the ballad 'He Hardly Call Me Honey Anymore' was a strange creature.  Apparently intended to show the group's commercial potential, the results were fascinatingly strange.   rating: *** stars     

- Their cover of The Yardbirds 'For Your Love' was far more impressive.  While it wasn't going to make you forget the original, there was something charming in their enthusiastic, if slightly flat performance.  Kudos to drummer Sylvia Saunders who gave it her all in a losing attempt to keep up with the rest of the band.   rating: *** stars     

- For a bunch of English chicks, these ladies could sure sound foreign, occasionally singing with an accent that sounded like they from the Balkans, or perhaps Mars.  Again, I'm not sure who was handling lead vocals on this one, but the poor woman simply couldn't stay in tune to save her life.  Luckily the backing vocals were pretty good and the song itself was a nice slice of early-1960s pop.   rating: *** stars

- You almost had to laugh when hearing their cover of the Chuck Berry chestnut 'Around And Around'.  Your typical group of high school, or college kids could have turned in a more competent cover of the tune, however you had to admire The Liverbirds' earnest attempts to sound tough.  Of course your personal dental hygienist was meaner.   rating: ** stars   

- How could you not like a song with a lyric that included the phrase "every time I kiss your lips, you taste like pork and beans ..."?  Clearly this wasn't the smoothest cover of Lieber and Stoller's 'Down Home Girl' you'll ever come across.  'Course that raw, under-produced edge was also a part of the song's charm and Birch turned in a great low-tech solo.   rating: **** stars 

- Complete with multi-part vocal arrangements and a bubbly melody, 'He's Something Else' was probably the most commercial and musically sophisticated track on the album.  It didn't do much for me the first couple of times I heard it, but I have to admit that the track ahs consistently grown on me.   rating: **** stars 

- Hum, The Liverbirds do Motown ...  Well, even though the ran through it at hyper speed  I can guarantee this version won't make you forget Martha and The Vandellas original.   rating: *** stars   

- The album's lone original, the Birch-penned 'Why Do You Hang Around Me' was one of the album's surprising highlights.  Boasting a Merseybeat flavor and an arrangement far more sophisticated than the rest of the collection, the song served to show the direct they could have taken with a bit of creative freedom.  Birch also turned in her prettiest guitar solo on the track.   rating: **** stars 

- With a slight modification to the lyric, their cover of Doug Sahm's 'He's About A Mover' was a brilliant slice of proto-punk.  Unlike much of the album, The Liverbirds seemed to be having fun on this one and the resulting enthusiasm shone through the performance.  Almost as good as the original !!!   rating: **** stars 

- Their cover of Don Convay's 'Long Tall Shorty' was equally impressive - with a  loose and kickass performance it was unfortunate the rest of the album didn't reflect the same sense of fun and enthusiasm.    rating: **** stars   


The album was tapped for a single in the form of: 




- 1966's 'Peanut Butter' b/w 'Why Do You Hang Around Me' (Star-Club catalog number 148 528 STF) 


YouTube has a cool black and white performance of the song:

'Peanut Butter'


While it isn't an album you'll play all the time, you have to admire these ladies.  Even though they're all but forgotten today, they literally served to open the doors for female rockers ...   


"More of the Liverbirds" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Peanut Butter   (Goldsmith - Smith - Barnum - Cooper) - 2:45

2.) It's So Exciting   (Leiber - Stoller) - 1:50

3.) He Hardly Call Me Honey Anymore    (B. Andriani - Doc Pomus) - 1:55

4.) For Your Love    (Graham Gouldman) - 2:22
5.) Oh No Not My Baby    (Gerry Goffin - Carole King) - 2:40

6.) Around And Around    (Chuck Berry) - 3:10


(side 2)
1.) Down Home Girl   (Leiber - Stoller) - 2:38

2.) He's Something Else   (R. Shorter) - 2:38
3.) Heatwave   (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland) - 2:33

4.) Why Do You Hang Around Me   (Pamela Birch) - 2:23

5.) He's About A Mover   (Douglas) - 2:38

6.) Long Tall Shorty   (Don Covay - Abramson) - 3:25



There was also one last non-LP single:



- 1966's 'Loop De Loop' b/w 'Bo Diddley Is A Lover''  (Star Club catalog number 148 554 STF).  Released in Germany their final 45 went top-5 in Germany.


YouTube has a German television performances of the song:

"Bo Diddley Is a Lover"



The group apparently continued performing until early 1968.  They toured extensively, including Japan and subsequently seem to have recorded a couple of tracks as The Gilded Cage.  


With the Liverbirds history, Birch spent a couple of years playing with an Iranian-based cover band.  In 1971 she returned to the UK, but by 1974 was back in Hamburg where she became an A&R person for Warner Brothers.  She also worked part time as a DJ at local clubs and hotels, joining a loose knit collaboration of local musicians known as The Rock Circus.  Having long made Hamburg her home, the 65 year old Birch died in October, 2009.


Mary McGlory also remained in Germany, married Die Rattles member Frank Dostal and today runs a Hamburg music publishing company called Ja/Nein Musicverlag.