The Liverpool Five


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1963) As the Boasters

- Dave Burgess (aka Dave McCumiskey) -- bass  
- Ken Cox -- lead guitar  
- Ron Henley -- keyboards 
- Steve Laine -- vocals 
- Jimmy May -- drums, backing vocals  

 

  line up 2 (1963-67) As The Liverpool Five

- Dave Burgess (aka Dave McCumiskey) -- bass  
- Ken Cox -- lead guitar  
- Ron Henley -- keyboards 
- Steve Laine -- vocals 
- Jimmy May -- drums, backing vocals  


  line up 3 (1967-69)

- Ken Cox -- lead guitar  

NEW - Fred Dennis -- bass (replaced Dave Burgess)
NEW - Mark Gage -- keyboards (replaced Ron Henley) 
- Steve Laine -- vocals  
- Jimmy May -- drums, backing vocals  


 
line up 3 (1969-70)

- Ken Cox -- lead guitar 
- Fred Dennis -- bass

- Steve Laine -- vocals 
- Jimmy May -- drums, backing vocals
NEW - Gary Milkie -- keyboards (replaced Mark Gage)

 

 

 

 

- The Boasters (Jimmy May, Ken Cox, Ron Hensley, Steve Laine,

  and Dave McCumiskey)

- Common Market

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Liverpool Five Arrive

Company: RCA Victor

Catalog: LPS-3583

Year: 1966

Country/State: UK / US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: stereo pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5141

Price: $25.00

 

I bought this one without knowing anything about the band and with relatively low expectations - perhaps they'll be semi-competent Mersybeaters ...   Turns out these guys are quite good and one of the more interesting stories in early-to-mid 1960s rock.

 

Forget the name.  None of the original lineup had any connection with the city of Liverpool.  Bassist Dave Burgess was Cumbrian, while guitarist Dave Cox, keyboard player Ron Henley, singer Steve Laine and drummer Jimmy May were all from London.  As The Boasters they'd recorded a single and an EP for the German International label. By1963 they'd decided to cash-in on Merseybeat, changing their name to Teh Liverpool Five, scoring a contract with Pye Records' budget Piccadilly subsidiary.  The band made their recorded debut the following year with the single 'Lum D' Lum D' High' b/w 'Good Golly Miss Molly' (Piccadilly catalog number 1255).  While the single did little commercially, it generated enough attention for them to find work throughout Europe.  With help from their German-born manager, credited to The 5 Liverpools, they even managed to record sophomore single for CBS Germany.  The group also won an opportunity to tour Southeast Asia and perform at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics where they were billed as the 'Official Rock and Roll Representatives'.  Here's where it starts to get weird.  Returning to the UK from their Tokyo shows, the band stopped in the Philippines where they played a concert for the US Embassy in Manila.  The American ambassador was so impressed with the group that he arranged for them to tour US military bases throughout South Asia and eventually acquire American work visas.

 

By 1965 the band had relocated to Spokane, Washington where they hired Paul Handler as their manager and subsequently signed with RCA Victor.  Working with producer Al Schmitt the band spent the next two years releasing a surprisingly impressive and diverse (if commercially disappointing) series of 45s:

 

- 1965's 'Heart' b/w 'I Just Can't Believe It' (RCA catalog number 47-8725) 

- 1966's 'She's Mine' b/w 'Sister Love' (RCA catalog number 47-8816) 

 

In spite of the lack of national success, 1966 saw RCA Victor release a Liverpool Five LP - the Al Schmitt produced "Liverpool Five Arrive".  While you could hardly be blamed for expecting to hear a lame set of Merseybeat exploitation numbers, the truth was anything but that ...  Compiling the group's earlier singles and new studio material, the album served to spotlight the band's considerable talent.  Laine was an excellent and adaptable lead singer, while the rest of the band could pound it out with the best of the competition.  Sure they wore the requisite mop top haircuts and narrow ties, while tracks like 'A Shot of Rhythm and Blues' could have easily been mistaken for the Fab Four, but the rest of the album offered up a mixture of popular pop and soul covers that were far more distinguished making it clear these guys were far more than mere Beatles imitators.  Tracks like the opening rocker 'She's Mine', a cover of Petula Clark's 'Heart' and a fuzz guitar propelled 'I'm Not Your Stepping Stone' (far tougher than The Monkees version) showcased their garage rock credentials, while covers of Curtis Mayfield's 'Sister Love' and 'Let the Sun Shine In' offered up first-rate blue-eyed soul.  In fact the only real disappointment here was the lame Cockney-esque 'What a Crazy World (We're Living In)'.

 

"Liverpool Five Arrive" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) She's Mine   (Dave Burgess - Ken Cox - Ron Henley - Steve Laine - Jimmy May)  - 2:20  rating: **** stars

Wow !!!   Kicked along by some proto-heavy metal Ken Cox guitar, this group original simply simply slayed most of the competition.  Garage rock seldom sounded as taunt while retaining a highly commercial edge.   The refrain on this one still pops into my head at unexpected times.  Wish the tune were loner.   As mentioned, it was tapped as a single:

- 1966's 'She's Mine' b/w 'Sister Love' (RCA catalog number 47-8816) 

2.) Sister Love   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:40  rating: *** stars

So it wasn't nearly as good as The Impressions' version, but for a couple of thin, pale English guys, their cover wasn't half bad.

3.) I'm Not Your Stepping Stone   (Tommy Boyce - Bobby Heart) - 2:35  rating: *** stars

If you group up with The Monkees, or Paul Revere and the Raiders versions, this one will sound familiar.  The basic song structure remained unchanged, but the LP5 version was definitely rawer and more garage-sounding.  Nice Yardbirs-styled lead guitar.   It probably would have benefited from improved production.  To my ears the song sounds tinny and echoy.   

4.) A Shot of Rhythm and Blues   (T. Thompson) - 2:04   rating: **** stars

In spite of the title, 'A Shot of Rhythm and Blues' offered up a nice Merseybeat-styled track.  Steve Laine trotted out his best faux Beatles voice for this one.

5.) Let the Sunshine In   (Barberis - Teddy Randazzo - Weinstein) - 3:28   rating: **** stars

Nice jazzy vibe on this one.  It also served to showcase their first rate harmony vocals.

6.) What a Crazy World (We're Living In)   (Alan Klein) - 2:14    rating: ** stars

I think Joe Brown did the original (it was featured in the film "What a Crazy World"). Brown's version was very English music hall-flavored.   To be honest, the LP5 version sounded like something Peter Noone and Herman's hermits might have done.  Not exactly the highlight of their recording career.

 

(side 2)
1.) That's What Love Will Do (To You)   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:10
   rating: **** stars

So if you were going to do a cover then it made sense to at least have good taste in your choices.  Kudo to these guys for going with Curtis Mayfield.  You read it before, while it wasn't nearly as good as The Impressions' version, but coming from a couple of thin, pale English guys, their cover wasn't half bad.  Extra star for their lovely, breezy arrangement.

2.) Just a Little Bit   (D. Gordon) - 2:13   rating: *** stars

Nice garage-tinged update of the standard ...

3.) Hey Little Girl   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:16   rating: *** stars

Again, nice enough, but their third Impressions cover wasn't going to make you forget the Mayfield original.  

4.) I Just Can't Believe It   (Barry DeVorzon - Bodie Chandler) - 2:10  rating: **** stars

Draped in some excellent fuzz guitar, this rollicking tune was another album highlight..  Little bit of Righteous Brothers vibe in the vocals.  

5.) Sticks and Stones   (T. Turner) - 2:11   rating: *** stars

I knew Ray Charles' version of this one and interestingly Laine seemed to be trying to turn in a Charles influenced vocal.  Nice Ken Cox lead guitar.   

6.) Heart   (Petula Clark - Aber - Tony Hatch) - 3:28  rating: **** stars

The closest thing to an outright rocker Petula Clarke ever wrote and recorded.  That said, you'll be hard pressed to recognize this as the song Clark scored a hit with.  Easily the best rocker on the album; it should have been a massive hit for the band.  As mentioned, the song had previously served as the RCA Victor debut:

- 1965's 'Heart' b/w 'I Just Can't Believe It' (RCA catalog number 47-8725) 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Out of Sight

Company: RCA Victor

Catalog: LPS-3682

Year: 1967

Country/State: UK / US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4534

Price: $40.00

 

 

Produced by Al Schmitt, 1967's "Out of Sight" is simply an overlooked genre classic.  Offering up another mixture of covers and original material, the album showcased the group's almost chameleon-like ability to mix US and UK sounds. Propelled by Steve Laine's voice, the band exhibit the flexibility and enthusiasm necessary to handle everything from blue-eyed soul ('Any Way That You Want It'),  to Mersybeat ('Baby, Out of Sight') and tough-as-nails garage rockers ('I Can Only Give You Everything'). While the whole album was worth hearing, the group were at their best on harder rocking numbers such as 'Piccadilly Line', 'Gotta Get a Move On' and the slinky 'Do You Believe'.  Elsewhere, they turned in a nice cover of The Who's 'My Generation'.  The band also enjoyed their lone brush with American commercial success via the single 'Anyway That You Want Me' b/w 'The Snake' (RCA Victor catalog number 47-8968).  This is one that grows on me more every time I play it.


"Out of Sight" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Any Way That You Want It   (Chip Taylor) - 2:35

- 1967's 'Anyway That You Want Me' b/w 'The Snake' (RCA Victor catalog number 47-8968)

2.) My Generation   (Pete Townsend) - 2:58

3.) Piccadilly Line  (Steve Laine - Ron Henley - Jimmy May - Dave McCumiskey - Ken Cox) - 2:49

4.) I Can Only Give You Everything   (Scott - Morrison - Coulter) - 2:39

5.) Baby, Out of Sight  (Steve Laine - Ron Henley - Jimmy May - Dave McCumiskey - Ken Cox) - 2:14

6.) Gotta Get a Move On    (J.S. Jones) - 2:31

 

(side 2)
1.) She's Got Plenty of Love   (Stephen Jones) - 2:35

2.) Do You Believe  (Steve Laine - Ron Henley - Jimmy May - Dave McCumiskey - Ken Cox) - 3:21

3.) The Snake   (Oscar Brown Jr.)  - 2:40

4.) I'm Your Hootchie Coochie Man   (Willie Dixon) - 5:07

5.) Get Away   (M. Portz - C. Portz) - 2:04

 

While I've never heard them, there are at least two non-LP singles:

 

- 1966's 'New Directions' b/w 'What A Crazy World (We're Living In)' (RCA catalog number 47-8906) 

- 1967's 'Cloudy' b/w 'She's Got Plenty Of Love' '(RCA catalog number 47-9158).

 

 

 

 

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