TONY SHERIDAN (real name Anthony Esmond Sheridan McGinnity , no wonder he changed it!) sadly died in 2013, aged 72. Though the singer/guitarist is not that well-known in the mainstream, his place in music history is secured by his liaison with a band of aspiring young musicians from Liverpool – yes, the Beatles!

Beatle buffs know the story – but a brief recap. The Fabs came to Hamburg Germany in 1961 to play the clubs in that city’s notorious red light district . Indeed “Beatleologists” will   tell you that it was in clubs like the Top Ten and the Kaiser Keller that they really learned their craft. In Hamburg they came into contact with Tony Sheridan, then a noted UK rock ‘n roller. When he needed backing musicians he regularly  used the young Scousers and when he was invited to cut some records “the boys” were his first choice as session players. One of the records that Polydor  released on Sheridan and the embryonic Beatles was a rocking version of ‘My Bonnie’ and its eventual release in the UK promoted Brian Epstein to check out the Beatles – and the rest…

Despite the importance of Sheridan in the Beatle story, not that much is available on him on record – save, of course,  for the tracks he cut with the Beatles. Now archive label, Jasmine, have rectified that situation via the release of a massive 31 tracker which collates almost everything Sheridan recorded in Hamburg with a few little extras.

It’s not clear exactly which tracks featured  the Beatles (either as a band or individually) but sound wise, it’s clear that Sheridan’s  rocking attack and ferocity was a big influence on the young mop tops! Hence the album title, ‘The Teacher’.

The repertoire is chiefly covers of R&R classics (like ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’’), crazy versions of the well-known (e.g ‘My Bonnie’) alongside the odd soul cover (try a German language version of Ben E King’s ‘Ecstasy’!). All are delivered with a massive enthusiasm and passion and without Sheridan, who knows what the Beatles might have  become? Interesting!