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If this book by 'Mr. Mersey Beat' Bill Harry could be combined with Manfred Kuhlman's "The Sound With The Pound: An Anthology of the 60s Mersey beat Sound" it would probably produce the definitive Mersey Beat bible, combining Bill's memories of one who was there at the time with Manfred's exhaustive research after the event. I found the opening four chapters to be fascinating; Bill was at Liverpool Art College with John during the evolution of the Beatles and went on to promote them through his magazine Mersey Beat. As someone from Merseyside it also made me very nostalgic with the mentions of Liverpool street names and venues in neighbouring towns - the Plaza, St. Helens; Quaintways, Chester; La Scala, Runcorn and the Floral Hall, Southport.

However, Bill goes on to portray the Mersey Beat boom as part of a wider blossoming of the music scene on Merseyside with chapters on black music, folk, country and western, female acts, religious groups and even poetry. And while it was good that these important elements of the Liverpool Scene were noted, I wasn't convinced by this theory and much in these paragraphs seemed to be based on anecdote and research and lacked the personal involvement of the earlier paragraphs. Strangely he misses out jazz from this round up (the Cavern was originally a jazz club) despite being involved in the jazz scene himself.

Nonetheless this is an essential text for any student of the Beatles and Mersey Beat, with a thorough survey of the whole scene including groups, fans, venues, promoters, compares etc. Also, I admire the attempt to put Mersey Beat into a wider cultural context, even though I didn't consider that this was successfully demonstrated.
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on 27 April 2013
It was 1962 when the first mention of the Beatles appeared in the print of a national music paper and that was Record Mirror.A brief article of one of Bill Harry's famous lists to show Liverpool hosted so many groups yet according to this book Harry had tried to interest the music press into publishing a feature which showed there was more to the city than Billy Fury or the Vernons Girls.
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on 30 October 2015
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