‘Let’s Stomp!’ is the title of a splendid new 3CD, 93 track compilation from Cherry Red imprint Strawberry that chronicles the phenomenon that was 60s Merseybeat, arguably the single most important musical movement in British pop history., Spearheaded by the Beatles, it changed  the whole pop music landscape – kicking out the old, staid ideas and values and bringing in excitement and innovation.  

Sadly, for obvious reasons , there are no Beatle tracks in the collection – but almost anyone and everyone from that magical, 60s Scouse era is included. There are plenty of big, hit-making names – the Searchers, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Merseybeats, the Swinging Blue Jeans and Cilla Black amongst them. They line up alongside a litany of could’ve beens and might’ve beens – bands like Them Calderstones, the Clayton Squares, the Kirkbys, Savva and the Democrats and the Perishers and dozens of others. Hit makers or not,  what they all have in common is raw enthusiasm, energy and a simple love of making music for its own sake.

From the SJF point of view there’s plenty of specific interest. First off there are two tracks from one of the UK’s  first black harmony groups, the Chants. Their inclusions are ‘I Don’t Care’ – an odd hybrid of doo-wop and the Four Seasons sound and a lively cover of the Del Vikings’ ‘Come Go With Me’. One of the Chants, Eddie Amoo, of course went on to be a  mainstay of the Real Thing, while there aren’t that many groups who can say that the Beatles sometimes worked as their backing band!

The second real point of interest for us here @ SJF is the number of soul covers that the Merseybeat bands took on. There’s dozens here and, surprisingly, some are quite obscure. So, who in 1966 knew about Marvin Gaye’s ‘No Good Without You Baby’? Well Paddy, Klaus and Gibson did … and what a good job they made of it! And who in the mid-60s had copies of Bobby Bland’s ‘Cry, Cry, Cry’.  It was  clearly known in Liverpool – witness the Roadrunners’ emotional cover!

Amongst the other soul covers are versions of ‘Bye Bye Baby’ (Tony Jackson and the Vibrations), ‘Beechwood 4-5789’ (Ian and the Zodiacs), ‘The In Crowd’ (the Fourmost) and  ‘Please Stay’ (the Crying Shames)… there’s plenty more too!

‘Let’s Stomp’ also offers plenty of rarities – like tracks from Jackie Lomax (arguably the UK’s finest  60s blue-eyed soul singer never to have made it!) and a cut from West End theatre impresario and beleaguered Everton FC charman, Billy Kenwright!. Fronting the Runaways, his track is a ‘I Want To Go Back There Again’ … the classic Chris Clarke song!

This ‘Let’s Stomp!’ is a wonderful time piece and  a must have for anyone who purports to be a serious music collector, Out now!