Gerry And The Pacemakers were one of the most popular groups of the mid-1960s British Invasion. While their song, "Ferry Cross The Mersey," was a big hit, and is well-known, few people, including myself, have seen the movie of the same name, which is out on DVD (Ferry Cross The Mersey-Starring Gerry and the Pacemakers-DVD), but I wonder if it is an official issue (it appears to be a bootleg).
The FERRY CROSS THE MERSEY soundtrack album was released on EMI's Columbia Graphophone label in the U.K., and United Artists Records (the film's distributor) in the United States. It has been released on CD in various formats, and I purchased two versions back in 2009. My comments for both versions follow.
Version 1: Ferry Cross The Mersey - Mono & Stereo
This 1997 CD issue, like all of the releases in the EMI 100th Anniversary CD series, has the mono and stereo versions of the album. In addition to the title track and the international hit "It's Gonna Be Alright," there are seven other terrific GATP tunes, and three by other Brian Epstein artists: The George Martin Orchestra's great instrumental "All Quiet On The Mersey Front," Cilla Black's beautiful ballad, "Is It Love?," written by her future husband, the late Bobby Willis, and The Fourmost's beat ballad "I Love You Too." For some reason, these tracks were removed from the United Artists LP. George Martin's "All Quiet On The Mersey Front" was released by United Artists as a standalone single (UA 831) in the U.S.; Cilla's "Is It Love?" became the title track of her only Capitol Records album (Capitol (S)T 2308), apparently released around the same time as The Early Beatles (The U.S. Album) (Capitol (S)T 2309). Cilla never became as big in the U.S. as she was in her home country; her only U.S. hit was "You're My World" (Capitol 5196). The Fourmost's "I Love You Too" was apparently never released in the U.S.A.; they were between labels in 1965, having been dropped by ATCO Records the year before; they would be picked up by Capitol in 1966, but were no more successful there then at ATCO.
Version 2: Ferry Cross The Mersey (Soundtrack) Remastered & Expanded
This 2009 remastered re-release has only the 1997 mono version of the soundtrack, but adds 16 bonus tracks, including a "no strings" version of the title track, plus 15 songs done by the other artists who appeared in the film. mostly "second-wave" Liverpool groups, including Earl Royce & The Olympics, The Black Knights, The Blackwells, and The Kubas. Most of these songs appeared on various Columbia and Parlophone singles in the U.K.; however, three of them appeared on the United Artists soundtrack album: "I Gotta Woman" (not the Ray Charles song) by The Black Knights, "Shake A Tail Feather" by Earl Royce & The Olympics, and "Why Don't You Love Me" by The Blackwells. These three songs appear in both mono and stereo mixes; all other tracks on the CD are mono. While these extra tracks are interesting, one can understand why none of these bands were successful; they sound like poor man's Beatles, BBC style.
Gerry and The Pacemakers only made two albums for EMI during their tenure there; this soundtrack, and 1963's How Do You Like It, which I purchased at Tower Records in 1997, long before Amazon.com existed. Two later albums on the U.S. Laurie label, I'LL BE THERE and GIRL ON A SWING, plus Capitol of Canada's GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS...TODAY!, consisted of singles, B-sides, EP tracks, and many songs that were unreleased in Britain until years later, on the You'll Never Walk Alone box set.
There are other versions of FERRY CROSS THE MERSEY available. There is the German Repertoire Records version from 2005 with 14 bonus tracks, mostly late-period GATP songs, and the How Do You Like It / Ferry Cross the Mersey two-fer from 2002, which has both albums on the same CD in stereo, according to other reviewers, despite the "mono" markings on the packaging. If all you want is the basic soundtrack, get the 1997 version; if you're interested in the other artists in the film, get the 2009 version. In addition to HOW DO YOU LIKE IT? and the two versions of FERRY CROSS THE MERSEY, I also own the Collectables Records two-fer, Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying / Second Album, which has all of the songs from the group's first two U.S. Laurie albums, including all of the HOW DO YOU LIKE IT? tracks, plus hit singles, and the out-of-print Best Of: The Definitive Collection, which has 25 of their big hits, including many in first-time stereo.
Yes, Gerry And The Pacemakers were a very fine band. Someday, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame will give them the recognition they deserve.