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Ghost Canyon

Title - I Stand Accused: Complete Merseybeats & Merseys
Artist - The Merseybeats / The Merseys

For those not in the know, I Stand Accused: The Complete Merseybeats and Merseys Sixties Recordings (out June 18th, 2021 via Grapefruit/Cherry Red Records) features everything known to have been recorded by both acts, including demos, out-takes, alternative versions and home recordings.

The set also incorporates the various splinter projects that took place during the same time-frame, with a pseudonymous single as Crackers joined by some highly sought-after 45s involving Merseybeats drummer John Banks and former Big Three bassist Johnny Gustafson, who had briefly replaced Kinsley in The Merseybeats.

Emerging from the Liverpool group scene during the goldrush years, The Merseybeats combination of Everly Brothers-style vocal harmonies and adroitly-chosen beat boom ballads saw them record several hit singles (including I Think Of You, which reached the Top Five), a brace of very popular EPs and a self-titled album that spent a couple of months in the LP charts.

After their superb version of I Stand Accused (a big favorite of local teenager Elvis Costello, later to cover the song) failed to become the huge success that it deserved to be, group leaders Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley reinvented themselves as vocal duo The Merseys, who recorded one of the classic mid-Sixties pop hits in Sorrow, subsequently quoted in Beatles track Its All Too Much and taken back into the charts a few years later by David Bowie.

Sorrow was followed by a handful of Merseys singles that, although less successful, are now highly regarded by admirers of late Sixties British pop and psychedelia, and are now legitimately assembled under one roof for the first time.

CD 1: The Merseybeats
1. Its Love That Really Counts
2. The Fortune Teller
3. I Think Of You
4. Mister Moonlight
5. Long Tall Sally
6. Im Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry
7. Shame
8. You Cant Judge a Book By The Cover
9. Dont Turn Around
10. Really Mystified
11. Milkman
12. Hello Young Lovers
13. He Will Break Your Heart
14. Funny Face
15. The Girl That I Marry
16. Fools Like Me
17. My Heart And I
18. Bring It On Home to Me
19. Lavender Blue
20. Jumping Jonah
21. The Things I Want To Hear (Pretty Words)
22. Wishin and Hopin
23. Last Night (I Made A Little Girl Cry)
24. See Me Back
25. Dont Let It Happen To Us
26. It Would Take a Long, Long Time
27. I Love You, Yes I Do
28. Good, Good Lovin
29. Soldier of Love
30. I Stand Accused
31. All My Life
32. Our Day Will Come
33. Nur Unsere Liebe Zahlt (Its Love That Really Counts)
34. Nur De Allein (I Think Of You)

The Merseybeats were one of the lesser Liverpool bands, who rode to some success on the coattails of the better groups. Over these two new CD compilations, the songs clearly inform you why they had some success and also why it was so limited.

The two ballads that were their biggest hits, I Think Of You and Dont Turn Around (the latter not even included here) are nice songs which suit their style and the singers voices, for sure, but the rest of the culled tracks do not match up to them, in my humble opinion.

However, and that said, I am not dismissing this wondrous 2CD set just for that personal opinion, no, far from it, for I believe like many bands of that time, they were very young, musically immature, but the sounds that they made were remarkably polished; hence their ability to catch the wave of popularity before it inevitably (except for the really good bands ala the Beatles and such) ebbed away.

Opening on the gentle finger-snap melodies of Its Love That Really Counts, the frenetic Fortune Teller, the swarmy ballad I Think Of You, and both the rhythmic Mister Moonlight, other stand out cuts here on the first disc include the addictive rampage of Im Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry, the lovely hipsway of Really Mystified, the yearning ballad Lavender Blue, the lo-fi Last Night (I Made A Little Girl Cry), the foot-stomper of a title track I Stand Accused, and the inventive, German-sung pairing of Nur Unsere Liebe Zahlt (Its Love That Really Counts) and Nur De Allein (I Think Of You).

CD 2: The Merseys and Beyond
1. Sorrow
2. Some Other Day
3. So Sad About Us
4. Love Will Continue
5. Rhythm of Love
6. Is It Love?
7. The Cat
8. Change of Heart
9. Penny In My Pocket
10. I Hope Youre Happy
11. Lovely Loretta
12. Dreaming
13. Honey Do
14. It Happens All The Time
15. Sorrow (Alternative Version)
16. Nothing Can Change This Love
17. Do Me A Favour
18. Just To Be With You
19. Sweet Day
20. Take Me For a Little While
21. Make Me Your Number One
22. Bumper to Bumper
23. Scrape My Boot
24. Cool It
25. Mark of Her Head
26. Hello Memories
27. Pretend
28. So How Come (No-One Loves Me)
29. All I Have To Do Is Dream

The second disc opens on the massively popular hit Sorrow and backs that up seamlessly with the lush orchestrations of the lo-fi Some Other Day, the tambourine-imbibed So Sad About Us, and both the medieval backdrop-imbued Love Will Continue and the dancefloor spin cycle of Rhythm of Love.

Other stands outs include the ferocious pop edge of The Cat and the trippy hippy sounds of Penny In My Pocket, with others such as the pop-tastic Lovely Loretta, the pop blues of the brilliant horn-led Bumper to Bumper, and both the catchy Pretend and an aching rendition of All I Have To Do Is Dream, all adding to the musical magnificence of this new set.

A 2-CD digipak release, I Stand Accused features many superb full color photos as well as a new 9,000 word essay that covers the fascinating careers of both bands, including their relationships with the pre-fame Beatles and Brian Epstein, their adventures with The Who (with whom they shared the same management team, leading to John Entwistle and Keith Moon playing on a handful of Merseys tracks) and their unwitting part in the tale of Pete Bests dismissal.

CD 1:
1-2 Single, Fontana TF 412, released August 1963; 3-4 Single, Fontana TF 431, released December 1963; 5-8 EP, Fontana TE 17422, released March 1964; 9-10 Single, Fontana TF 459, released April 1964 11-20 From the album The Merseybeats, Fontana TL 5210, released June 1964; 21 Not originally released, recorded 1964; 22 Single, Fontana TF 482, released July 1964; 23-24 Single, Fontana TF 504, released October 1964; 25-26 Single, Fontana TF 568, released May 1965; 27-28 Single, Fontana TF 607, released September 1965; 29 Not originally released, recorded late 1965; 30-31 Single, Fontana TF 645, released December 1965; 32 From the album This Is Merseybeat Vol. One, Oriole PS 40047, released July 1963; 33-34 Single, German Fontana 269 310 TF, released June 1964.

CD 2:
1-2 Single, Fontana TF 694, released April 1966; 3-4 Single, Fontana TF 732, released July 1966; 5-6 Single, Fontana TF 776, released November 1966; 7-8 Single, Fontana TF 845, released June 1967; 9-10 Single, Fontana TF 916, released March 1968; 11-12 Single, Fontana TF 955, released July 1968; 13-14 Crackers single, Fontana TF 995, released January 1969; 15 Not originally released first version, recorded early 1966; 16 Not originally released, recorded 1966; 17 The Kinsleys, not originally released, recorded 1964; 18-19 Johnny Gustafson single, Polydor BM 56022, released August 1965; 20-21 Johnny Gustafson single, Polydor BM 56043, released January 1966; 22-23 Johnny & John single, Polydor BM 56087, released June 1966; 24-25 The Quotations single, CBS 3716, released September 1968; 26-27 The Quotations single, CBS 4376, released July 1969; 28-29 The Merseybeats, not originally released home demos, recorded December 1962.

Official 2CD Purchase Link