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Class of '64 

Began recording at Amadeus Studios in May 1988 and finished 12 months later.  This was the first record produced on the Holly Records label.  It was only released on vinyl and is no longer available although some copies were not sold.  This LP was featured in Record Collector 2002 at 15 but is now worth more.  All the tracks from the LP were put on to the first CD- Cavern DaysClass of 64 LP cover

Original Sleeve notes written by Bob WoolerThis is how they appeared on the LP back cover;

When Frankie Connor and his fellow songwriter Alan Crowley dreamed up the idea for this LP to mark a quarter of a century of their music making in their home town it was a thoughtful gesture of Frankie's to bring me - a superannuated swinger out of reclusion to write some reminiscences for the record.

As the Daddy-o of deejays in Liverpool I was actively involved in the pioneering days of merseybeat when it first reared its ugly head in 1957 and for the next decade or so I kept my finger on its pulsations and watched it triumph (for some) in the scouse sound sixties.

Incidentally, the Liverpool Echo should take credit for coining the term Mersey Beat for 32 years ago in November 1957 it started carrying under that heading a weekly piece by a columnist called Jazzman.  31/2 years later the name was adopted as the title for the beat music bible "MERSEYBEAT" by its founder editor Bill Harry.  Also as I felt the name was fitting I suggested to Billy Kinsley and Tony Crane (who can both be heard on this record) that they rename their then group and call it the Merseybeats.  The rest was history - and hysteria!

In those distant Dansette days when a single cost about six bob (30p), we had here in Liverpool our own cottage industry - only it was more like a wattage industry!.  That's when something like 300 local rock'n'roll groups rang the decibels of change and the tills were alive with the pound pound pound of music.

Those were the days (my friend ),  when so many high-rise hopes simply crashed to earth on a low pavement - that was where the leading H.P. finance house was in Nottingham, a place which is bound to strike a chord with so many musicians of the time.  Truvoices in the bewilderness you might say  (come to think of it, it's much  the same now, nothing really changes does it?)

To this day, and we're now at the end of the Eighties, when I look at the entertainments page in the Echo - at one time it used to be called the Jazz and Beat column - I find it quite remarkable to see that some of yesteryear's veterans are still going strong wowing audiences at clubs and pubs around the scene.

The line ups may be different now but the front singer is the genuine article.  People like Faron (The Flamingos) Karl Terry (The Cruisers) and Geoff Nugent (The Undertakers)to mention just a few.

It's quite amazing...I wonder if any of today's groups (sorry bands) will be around playing live music to audiences in an equivalent number of years in say 2015?

It just goes to show that like the teen pan alley records of the fifties old rock 'n' rollers do not die, they just fade away!

But enough of this ruminating otherwise these sleeve notes will end up looking like the small print of a Lewis Buckley contract (now that really dates me!)

Also on this record are Billy Butler (Tuxedos) Mike Pender (Searchers) Kenny Parry (Liverpool Express) and Ozzie Yue who along with Frankie and others of fond memory -  was in the Hideaways.

They first impacted at the Cavern 25 years ago in 1964 - hence the title of this record, The Class of  '64 - and they played the famous beat basement more times than any other group, including the Beatles.  Quite a cellar-bration!

Frankie though has more strings to his guitar than just making music and writing songs.  In 1986 he co-authored (with his brother Freddy) the best selling book "It All Came Tumbling Down" about the many changes - in the name  of progress - that have taken place in his home town.

A recently screened BBC TV programme dealt with this subject and showed Frankie singing one of the tracks on this album - his song of hope "Good Morning Liverpool".

And on that optimistic note I'll bow out and wish you happy listening

Bob Wooler -   resident disc jockey/compere/booker at the Cavern, Liverpool 1961-67

Lark Lane Liverpool - March 1989

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Sadly Bob Wooler passed away in 2002                      

 

   Cavern Days - 'Class of 64'

Recorded at Amadeus Studios, Liverpool over a three month period from September 1992. It has all twelve tracks from the original album "Class of 64" plus an additional six tracks picture of Cavern Days CD coverincluding the official record for Radio City Gold's children's charity.  This CD was originally released on the Cavern Records label for Holly records.

Listen to samples from this CD

Original Sleeve notes

This CD is dedicated to Buddy Holly and The Everley Brothers whose influence on us all is immeasurable.

Additional thanks to John O'Brien, Lol Whitty, Dave Dover, Dave Goldberg, Eric Everglade and finally special thanks to Bob Wooler (Cavern DJ 1961-67).  "A true voice in the Bewilderness" whose wit and Woolerisms are quite lgendary.  He has our respect, and we are grateful for his friendship.  F.A.B

                                       

    Many Happy Returns

 
Recorded at Fedora Street Studios, Liverpool in November 1997.  This album was released to celebrate 30 years of local broadcasting at Radio Merseyside.Picture of Many Happy Returns CD cover

Listen to samples from this CD

Original Sleeve notes  (courtesy of Spencer Leigh, Liverpool author)

 

I'm writing this as Liverpool and the world are celebrating the 40th anniversary of John Lennon meeting Paul McCartney.  Thinking about it, I realise that every successful group depends on somebody meeting somebody else - and this is true of the Class of 64.

The backbone of Class of 64 is the friendship between three Liverpool musicians.  In 1964 Frankie Connor of the Hideaways met Alan Crowley of the Tuxedos and Billy Kinsley of the Merseybeats for the first time, hence the use of their initials, FAB, for the prefix of the record's catalogue number.  The label is called Holly because of their shared love for the Lubbock singer-songwriter.  In the album,  Frankie and Alan duet on "Do It Right Now" in which a friend at this session described as the song Buddy Holly never wrote.  It could also be a nod to the Liverpool entrepreneur Sir John Moores as the title reflects his philosophy of life.

The first album by Class of 64, was released on vinyl in 1989 and made its way on to CD, under the title of "Cavern Days" and with bonus tracks, in 1995.  Frankie Connor and Alan Crowley wrote the songs while Billy Kinsley produced.  They sang and played together but they also recruited seven guest vocalists on the 18 tracks.  The album sold well on Merseyside and beyond -"Poor Boy From Liverpool" has become a key song in the Merseybeats act, while "Give A Child A Chance" was an official record for a children's charity.

Following a popular album is difficult but the Class of 64 has succeeded with "Many Happy Returns".  The quality of the material is all-important and I like all 18 of Frank and Alan's new songs, many of which are excellent.  They haven't objected when their guests have wanted to reshape the songs and hence, some guest vocalists become guest songwriters.  They wanted material that their performers can sing comfortably and Frankie, for example, is full of praise for the way Richie Routledge of the Cryin' Shames has adapted "Aint Life A Bitch" for his own, groove-laden style.

I have watched this project grow with the year.  I have seen their enthusiasm as one musician after another agrees to take part, and their happiness when another contribution has been added to the digital databank.  Billy J. Kramer has cut his best track in years with "I'm The One Who Loves You" (great guitar from Billy Kinsley) and Beryl Marsden can match any Motown singer with her breathy phrasing in "Frankie's In Love". (Incidentally, Alan wrote the lyric after he heard Frankie eulogising  over his new cat).

There are enough trainspotting elements to make this album a mainline station.  First, there is the pleasure in recognising old friends.  Some return from the previuos album - Tony Crane of the Merseybeats, Dave Kerrigan of the Richmond Group, Kenny Parry of Liverpool Express and Albie Wycherley, Billy Fury's brother.  Last time we had the song, "Faron Was Here Too", this time we have the new-styled, whispering Faron, plus the gravel-voiced Ray Scragg from the Dennisons, the romantic side of Mike Byrne, and a gutsy vocal from the hardest-working musician on Merseyside, Geoff Nugent of the Undertakers.  I'd never heard Colin Manley sing lead before - he's very good, rather like George Harrison in places.  Billy Kinsley always has shades of Paul McCartney in his voice and he combines Macca with Rod Stewart in the anthemic "Little Bit Of Heaven".

Kenny Johnson has control of the Sonny Webb-site and when I hear "Don't Be Afraid Of Love" and "Rock 'n' Roll Wreck", I wonder why this man hasn't had hit records.  I love his little laugh during "Rock 'n' Roll Wreck" - touches like that are hard to pull off.

The second trainspotting element relates to the songs themselves.  Frank and Alan are fond of writing songs as homages for their heroes. "29 Derby Lane", the address of the Ethel Austin warehouse where Frank and Dave Kerrigan worked, is reminiscent of the Kinks.  The warmth of the sun is conveyed in "I'll Keep You Safe And Warm", a glorious homage to the Beach Boys featuring Frankie Townsend in a swelter of high-voiced harmonies.  I noted references to Dr Hook, Albert Lee, Richie Jones and Eddie Cochrane, and I'll leave you to find them and spot others for yourself.  Just as the controversial mural of Liverpool personalities at Radio Merseyside omits the Beatles, I didn't hear shades of the Fabs in anything, but "Call Me Tonight" is reminiscent of their middle-of-the-road cover, "Till There Was You".

I've heard tributes to many late performers, but I've never heard one about Bobby Darin until now. "Borrowed Time" conveys the problems of his short, tortured life and I love the snatches of "Dream Lover" included in the performance.

Then there's the excellent musicians.  Judd Lander of  the Hideaways plays harmonica on hit records by Culture Club and the Spice Girls but here he adds his mouth-organ, gob-iron, harp, harpoon, what you will to "Think I'm Comin Down With You" and "That's What I Call Love".  Beryl Marsden supplies backing vocals for "Little Bit Of Heaven" and the instrumental highlights include Andy Bournes sax break in "We're On The Right Road Now", the funky guitar of Gary Murphy in "Aint Life A Bitch", the ultra-fast picking in "Raisin Hell" by Len Whitehead and Colin Manley's own lead playing.  Plus the talented Kenny Parry's distinctive guitar in "Rock 'n' Roll Wreck"- "Don't Be Afraid Of Love".  The Class Of 64 meets the Class of 97 when Tony Crane is supported by his son, Adrian's lead guitar on "Chained To You".

No doubt about it.  In terms of Liverpool music, the Class of 64 have graduated with honours.

    The Class of  '64' - Chapter IV - The Story So Far...

 

 
This album was recorded in May 2001 at Fedora Street Studios, Liverpool and contains 13 original tracks.  The CD was released 12 years after the release of the first album.

chapter IV album cover

Listen to samples from this CD

Since 1989, "The Class Of 64" have released 4 albums, written and produced over 50 original songs, performed by many legendary 'Merseybeat'  artists.  This particular 'Class' is very flexible and has had as many as 60 musicians and vocalists contributing over the years.  We sincerely hope you enjoy Chapter IV - The Story So Far...  F.A.B

 

I Never Met Colette (CD single) - Albie Wycherley

This 4 song CD was produced by Billy Kinsley at Fedoro Street Studios, Liverpool.  All the songs are written by Frank Connor and Alan Crowley.  The title track was written to commemorate the life of Billy Fury (Albie's brother).  The track 'Helpless' appears on 'Cavern Days' and 'I Know I've Got A Heart' appears on 'Many Happy Returns'. 

CD cover to 'I Never Met Collette'This CD is not available to buy from us.  It can be purchased from Ozit records, PO box 116, Northwich, Cheshire CW9 5UG.  For enquiries email Chris Hewitt.

 

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Copyright © 2004 Spencer Lowe: