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I heard Brian Matthew mention this new compilation from BGO on a recent edition of Sounds of the Sixties. It gathers four US-only albums released by the Laurie label in the States between 1964 & 1966 and the chronology is therefore a bit different to the UK release of some of the tracks. The two CD set is nicely presented and annotated with good re-mastered sound and lots of information in the booklet. Check out the band's discography on Wikipedia and you will see that this older twofer How Do You Like It?/Ferry Cross The Merseyfrom EMI would make a good companion volume, or the more recent four CD setYou'll Never Walk Alone (The EMI Years 1963-1966) is the one for us completists!

BGO have produced a good value set which Gerry's many fans will be pleased to add to their collections. The more casual fan would probably be better off with one of the many Greatest Hits type compilations that are currently available. I will give BGO the full five stars for this worthy addition the Gerry & the Pacemakers catalogue.
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on 28 February 2016
INTRODUCTION:

Gerry & the Pacemakers is a merseybeat pop-rock band from Liverpool, England, consisting of Gerry Marsden (vocal, guitar), Leslie Maguire (piano), John Chadwick (bass) and Freddie Marsden (drums). I first noticed this group in March 1963, when their first hit “How Do You Do It” shot to Number 1 in UK! And their two subsequent releases, “I Like It” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, also landed in Number 1 spot in UK. With the British Invasion in early 1964 led by the Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers was actually more popular in US than in UK. They have 14 charted singles on Billboard Hot 100 (from 1964-1970) vs 9 in UK (1964-1965). Further, they have 4 album releases in US (being reviewed here) vs only 2 in UK. Just like the Beatles early in their career, the UK and US albums are completely different. To discuss the band, one must spotlight Gerry Marsden. He is a Singer, a Writer, a Showman, a Visual Performer and a Talented Musician.

CONTENT:

BGO, a reputable reissue label from UK, has finally released on 2 CDs the four domestic albums that were only released in US. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a track listing, I have compiled a detailed song listing (with album label & number, chart positions, singles chart positions in UK, US (Billboard Hot 100) & Canada (CHUM), with personal comments) which is as follows:

Disc 1:
DON’T LET THE SUN CATCH YOU CRYING (Laurie 2024)(US 29/1964):
01 Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying (UK 6/1964; US 4/1964; CHUM 5/1964)*written by Marsden
02 I’m The One (UK 2/1964; US 82/1964; Canada CHUM 1/1964)
03 Away From You (US b-side to Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying, 1964)(UK b-side to How Do You Do It, 1963)*written by Marsden for his girlfriend, later wife, Pauline Behan
04 Jambalaya (US b-side to I Like It, 1964)(Canada CHUM 8/1964)
05 Maybellene
06 You’ll Never Walk Alone (UK 1/1963; US 48/1965)(also US b-side to How Do You Do It (1964)*I feel this is one of the best version of this lovely song
07 How Do You Do It (UK 1/1963; US 9/1964)
08 You’re The Reason (US 117/1965)(US b-side to Give All Your Love To Me, 1965)
09 Don’t You Ever*written by Marsden
10 Summertime (Canada b-side to Summertime, 1964)
11 Slow Down
12 Show Me That You Care*written by Marsden
SECOND ALBUM (Laurie 2027)(US 129/1964):
13 I Like It (UK 1/1963; US 17/1964; Canada CHUM 6/1964)
14 A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues
15 Where Have You Been
16 Here’s Hoping
17 Pretend (US b-side to Ferry Across The Mersey, 1965)
18 The Wrong Yo Yo*rad. Arranged by Marsden
19 Chills
20 You Can’t Fool Me
21 It’s Happened To Me*written by Marsden & Chadwick
22 It’s All Right (UK b-side to You’ll Never Walk Alone, 1964)
23 Slow Down*a repeat from first album
24 Jambalaya*a repeat from first album

Disc 2:
I’LL BE THERE (Laurie 2030)(US 120/1965; Canada CHUM 5/1965)*technically, Ferry Across The Mersey on United Artists label was released prior to I’ll Be There; still considered Third Album on Laurie:
01 I’ll Be There (UK 15/1965; US 14/1964)*one of the great songs by Bobby Darin
02 What’d I Say
03 Rip It Up
04 You Win Again
05 You You You (US b-side to I’ll Be There, 1965; UK b-side to Ferry Across The Mersey, 1964)*written by Marsden
06 Now I’m Alone*written by Marsden
07 My Babe
08 Reelin’ And Rockin’
09 Count The Tears
10 Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
11 It’ll Be Me
12 Skinny Minnie (US b-side to I’ts Gonna Be Alright, 1965)
GIRL ON A SWING (Laurie 2037)(Uncharted, 1966)*rare gem; CD debut:
13 Girl On A Swing (US 28/1966; Canada CHUM 5/1966)
14 The Way You Look Tonight (US b-side to Girl On A Swing, 1966)
15 Guantanamera
16 Pretty Flamingo*pretty version of Manfred Mann’s hit
17 At The End Of The Rainbow
18 Looking For My Life (Canada, Uncharted single, 1966)(Capitol 72439)
19 The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine (Canada b-side to Looking For My Life, 1966)
20 See You In September
21 Who Can I Turn To
22 Without You (US b-side to La La La, 1966)*written by Marsden
23 Strangers In The Night
24 La La La (US 90/1966; Canada CHUM 17/1966)

As per the usual high remastering standards at BGO, the sound is superb! There is a 20-page booklet with very enjoyable essays, rare photographs and the front covers of all 4 LPs were featured. (too bad all on one page…unlike Real Gone Music, each LP front cover occupying one single page!)

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I have 15 Gerry & the Pacemakers CDs, mostly Greatest Hits or Best Of variety. My favourite is a 4 CD box set on EMI, called You’ll Never Walk Alone (The EMI Years 1963-1966), containing 121 songs, with unreleased tracks, early and no strings versions, all the UK releases, plus some in US and Canada, many in both mono and stereo. Priceless! The only other one that you will need is Ferry Across the Mersey, available as a 2 LPs on 1 CD at a cheap price. Plus this current 2 CD set, with all their 4 LPs released in US, including the rare, never released Girl On A Swing. If you like Gerry & the Pacemakers, you should also buy the DVD It’s Gonna Be Alright 1963-1965, available as part of the British Invasion box set (my review elsewhere) or separately. It contains genuine original footage.

As a charity single in 1989, Gerry Marsden recorded Ferry Across the Mersey with Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and the Christians, and it became a Number 1 hit in UK! Gerry was awarded the MBE in 2003, and still performs with a new set of Pacemakers, and he says, “I’m the one who needs the pacemaker.” Great sense of humour!

This 2 CD set has great sound and is a good way to collect Gerry & The Pacemakers. Naturally, this set is highly recommended.
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on 5 January 2014
Gerry & the Pacemakers held the the UK record for the first three singles reaching No. 1
The third one " You'll never walk alone " being adopted by Liverpool FC
Self-penned songs " Don't let the sun catch you cryin' " & " ferry across the mersey ( film score )were very successful but my personal favourite is " girl on the swing " inspired by his girlfriend / wife Pauline .
This record is essential listening for 60's music fans
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on 4 March 2015
A wonderful package with great sound (the same as on the 4cd box from several years ago) and an excellent booklet.
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on 8 October 2015
I had to buy this because I didn't have any of their Albums all I had was the Best of them
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on 5 April 2015
Really like this c d it's great for listening in the car it brightens up my day
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on 25 March 2014
Many songs from the time when I was young and a scooterboy. Missing some of the hits they were known for - as Ferry Cross the Mersey .
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on 8 November 2014
Excellent oldies by the group.
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on 7 April 2016
Great CD can't stop listening
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on 23 July 2014
No problems really enjoyable
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