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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 September 2012
Forgetting the groups of which everyone has heard, for students of Merseybeat, the best things to be released in the past decade or so is the three CD series from Viper. Of those 60 tracks, just 17 were from the pre Klondike era (that is pre-1963) and many of those were poorly recorded on rather primitive home equipment. Unfortunately, as no-one had any reason to keep anything in those days the tapes were more often than not re-used, a fate that also befell anything that was recorded on stage, which is why there's next to nothing around from this period. Many thought the well had run dry until someone recently discovered something rather exciting; a complete 45 minute live show by Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

Taped on 5th March 1960 at the Liverpool Hall (known as the Jive Hive), Crosby, 15 live songs, top and tailed by so-brief-you'll-miss-it stage announcements, are augmented by four home recordings. What makes this find historically important is twofold; this is the only known performance of a complete show by a Merseybeat artist before Christmas 1962 to have surfaced, and it's the earliest known recording to feature one Ringo Starr. This month (September) is also the 40th Anniversary of Rory Storm's death.

Due to the archaic nature of the recordings (one mic was taped to the singer's microphone; the other hung over the stage) the vocals are far more prominent and the backing does seem rather out of time. Despite the best efforts of everyone, including Rory trying to sound as American as possible even during song introductions and failing miserably, the audience doesn't appear too enthusiastic. The Hurricanes get their turn on two instrumentals and `Bye Bye Love', complete with stressed "baibee", all three of which has the drums overpowering the guitars. Those who think Liam Gallagher was the first to use a sneering style of singing, listen to `C'Mon Everybody' and you'll know. The closing announcement thanks the group but it sounds as if the audience is otherwise engaged.

Not blessed with the best voice, and he carries over his faux American twang to the four, undated but certainly committed to tape before June of that year, front room recordings, which is really annoying, Rory was probably a better showman than singer but don't dismiss this because of that. Listening to his between song patter, you know where comedian Freddie Starr got his influence for his own on-stage accented jabber. (Thinking about it, maybe that's not the best legacy to have left.) Alvin Stardust, who was his brother-in-law, was also motivated by Rory in his appearance. This CD, along with six studio recordings, is all there is from 'Mr Showmanship' and though it might not get removed from its case all that often, it is a part of history and for students of Merseybeat it's an essential purchase.

The 12-page inlay has some nice photos, not all unseen, and is a decent read and it makes you wonder what else might be out there languishing, forgotten, in a box in someone's loft.
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on 23 September 2012
Discovered by the sister of the late singer Irene Caldwell on a reel to reel tape this is more important as a musical document than of some underrated singer who tried to sound like Cliff Richard sounding like Elvis.
The fact will always remain that because Ringo Starr was the drummer the Liverpool group known as Rory Storm & the Hurricanes will always have a degree of fame in spite of less than 10 recorded tracks most of which were on a Various Artists LP called Merseybeat with a single one produced by Brian Epstein of a song from West Side Story.But imagine the chosen song had been Now Is The Hour which ends this session.It had been revived by Gene Vincent same as You'll Never Walk Alone and cut have easily hit (the song had first hit in the States by Gracie Fields in the late 40s)
Irene Caldwell was married for a time to one Bernard Jewry who became Shane Fenton and later Alvin Stardust
The name also meant that 2 lots of Hurricanes would play in Hamburg the others being former hitmakers Johnny & the Hurricanes.
And with the Hurricanes'version of Honey Don't here it would mean that Ringo Starr had played on it BEFORE the Beatles
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on 5 March 2015
great to have this album. and what a sad loss. there are some aspects of rorys performances which to me seem strangely ahead of their time. his vocal style puts me in mind of he punk period and the various london bands around the time. after playing the album through i became aware of this.
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on 13 November 2012
For a performance recorded at a club, the sound is remarkably good. The CD is a valuable item for any Beatles fan because, of course, Ringo's playing drums. The CD sounds like the band is having fun, although the skill of the musicians is a bit basic. All in all for an historical piece this CD is worth the price.
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on 24 February 2013
I always wanted to hear what the beat groups of Liverpool sounded like before Beatlemania and this is a fair appraisal yes there are bum notes and out of tune guitars at times but this is excellent sound for 1960 and very raw and crisp music. Rory Storms vocals are better on some songs than others but nevertheless i would of liked to have seen them live judging by this CD!!!
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on 10 January 2014
Nobody can deny that this gem of a find is an important historical document from a time when The Beatles were about to emerge. Nothing much exists from around this period, especially Live recordings, and this has Ringo Starr on drums!! But, Oh to have a Hamburg Beatles Live show from 1960 during the Stu Sutcliffe era!!! That would be a real gem!!!
The sound quality of this recording is excellent for its time and there is no doubting that Rory Storm was a great frontman and showman with his attempts at copying the rockers of the period, but here the positives end for me.
For the most part the band is out of time with the vocalist and each other. Each song seems laboured in the extreme and the audience reaction between songs sums it up for me. There is little or no enthusiasm from the crowd, if indeed it was a crowd. The backing vocalists are also out of time with each other. It's very easy to see why The Beatles emerged from the hundreds of Liverpool bands to become what they were.
The popular myth is that Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best in the Beatles in mid 1962 due to his superior drumming ability. Well on the evidence of this 1960 recording he had a long way to go!!! His drumming on this recording leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. Out of time and variations in the speed of his drumming are two of the problems. I suspect the real reason Best was ejected was his popularity with the girls and the fact he didn't "fit in" with the other 3. On most of the recordings i've heard featuring Pete Best his drumming was very good!!
Ending on a plus note, the bonus Demo recordings at the end of the disc are quite nice. The harmonies on these are much better and there is a nice version of Cathy's Clown included.
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on 27 September 2012
is Ringo Starr playing drums on this recording or not?:
Ringo denies he's the drummer on newly discovered Rory Storm tapes

According to Ringo, the tapes of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes that surfaced recently do not feature him on drums. In a statement issued through his publicist he denies that he was on the tapes, reported to have been recorded in 1960 at a club called the Jive Hive. He said, "It's not me, that was done after I'd left to join the Beatles."
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on 17 December 2012
What a find! At last some Rory Storm, rough and ready playing but fantastically alive performance Historically important for all you Liverpool beat fans. Get it!
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on 28 December 2012
Walk into any communion hall and club in the early 1960s on a Saturday night and you would hear groups sounding just like Rory Storm and the Hurricanes - fake American Elvis singing style, bum guitar notes, crashing drums, thumping bass. No finesse, just energetic, loud rock with the volume pumped up. This CD sounds exactly like those days. It's brilliant because it's so unpolished. A fab trip down memory lane, when groups played real music and didn't just pose for the cameras.
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on 22 April 2013
I was present when this was recorded at the jive hive Crosby I wasa 18 year old rocker and a regular at St Luke's Crosby great days
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