Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Liverpool Echo or Rev-Ola is the new black

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Yesterday at work when I saw news of this reissue , I brightened up and got excited as hell, thinking, 'Wow, Rev-Ola delivering the goods, again - scratch another notch on their already battle-scarred bed-post!' But then I paused, re-thought, reflected: 'Jeez, when isn't Rev-Ola delivering!' Why they're busier than a free-clinic doctor in a developing country with an exploding birth-rate...to make a sloppy and boring analogy. And you know what's coming next! That's right, the predictable, facile segue about what's neither sloppy nor boring is this happy, hoppin' little disc that just begs to be your own! This album was made to order - why shouldn't my writing be likewise?

Actually, this record is much too good for such a phone-it-in review. For as far as 'Beatles-in-the-'70s' records go, the Liverpool Echo LP easily sits on par with the likes of Rockin' Horse, the Liverpool Express and Utopia's 'Deface The Music.' And unlike these LP's, whose main goals seemed to be to recreate the sonic verisimilitude of the early Beatles, the Liverpool Echo does this while simultaneously not skimping on the Cavern Club vigor and dynamism that made the pre-fame Fabs so compelling.

THE BACK STORY: Vet'rin psych rockers, Martin Briley and Brian Engel, late of Mandrake Paddle Steamer ('Strange Walking Man'), making ends meet in the early '70s with session work. Offer comes in from London to cut an entire album of rocking Mersey Pop Beatles-sound-a-likes of the sacred '63 vintage, to foist on the young-ins and make a little off the ten-year cycle of Liverpuddlian nostalgia. From such admittedly low expectations, the end-result could easily have been some rose-tinted horror worthy of starring David Essex or Alvin Stardust (or for that matter, Peter Frampton or Elton), with an authenticity factor just south of Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids. Thankfully, and not a little miraculously, the Liverpool Echo players took obvious, loving care in crafting what was, for all intents and purposes, a cheap cash-in collection. Still, perhaps cognizant of the prevailing tat and pomp-rock winds and the little hope a Mersybeat sound stood in penetrating the carapace of a mass consciousness dominated by the colossi of Rod, Marc and Tull, the songs created by the Liverpool Echo were imbued with an intense personalism and lyrical directness, as if Briley, Engel and Co. were employing the disposable premise and intent of the album to document important events in their lives - writing as much for themselves as they were for an audience (now that's what I call a run-on sentence!).

...and you can pretty much write the coroner's report yourself - no autopsy required. A true lost treasure, plucked from the ash-can. Thanks, as usual to Rev-Ola. What can possibly be next in their great, lost '70s pop restoration campaign? Hackamore Brick? Sleepy Hollow? I, for one, can't wait to see and take great comfort that this album may finally reach the audience it so richly deserves.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Sleepy Hollow, ooh, let's hope so!