Here's an underplayed album that probably is not what you expect - The Amazing Adventures of the Liverpool Scene (1969). Looking at the cover, it seems like just another cheap record capitalizing on Beatlemania. A cover featuring a gang of Liverpudlians looking young and hip certainly fits the profile of a low budget Beatle knock off. Thankfully, it's not even close. This is an album of free form poetry about Che Guevara, Batman, and LSD intermixed with talented musicianship.
First of all, the Liverpool moniker was no longer as fashionable as it was back in 1964. And unlike the Buckinghams who were actually from Chicago, these guys were really from Liverpool. In fact, the people on the album cover (which include the bandmembers) are in front of a British pub where the band regularly performed and lived on the second floor.
They started as poets, integral parts of the Mersey Sound. It's claimed that Alan Ginsberg, the guru of the beat generation and LSD-aholic, was a big fan of their work. Personally, I'm a fan of the big fat singer, Adrian Henri, who I'm told would bounce and flail around on stage in big sweaty leaps and twirls. Apparently, he could balance a beer on his belly while downing another. Impressive.
I'm actually not a big fan of poetry. Most of it sounds like pretentious garbage to me. However, The Liverpool Scene surprises me a few times on this album, and I found myself actually digging it. They actually received a lot of criticism in their day for making poetry into pop - something more listenable and digestible for schleps like me. The Liverpool Scene was content that their poetry didn't begin with a capital P, but rather was not too distantly related to pop music (Gasp!) and could be enjoyed by your average teenager (the horror!).
Take for instance my favorite track on the album, "Batpoem":
Download the song here
Anyway, I'm trying to be better about my contribution to the vintage sharity community that is growing every day, and so I'm ripping the whole album these days, rather than just a couple songs. Here's the track listing:
Tramcar to Frankenstein
The Amazing Adventures of Che Guevara (part 1)
Burdock River Run
The Amazing Adventures of Che Guevara (part 2)
The Amazing Adventures of Che Guevara (part 3)
Percy Parslow's Hamster Farm
Happy Burial Blues
The Amazing Adventures of Che Guevara (part 4)
Download the entire album here. But be forewarned - some of these tracks begin as pompous spoken word crap, but, given time, they turn into pretty good pop songs. Enjoy!
Note: The Che Guevara pieces are just quick spoken-word segments; so, I've combined them with their proceeding tracks. Thus, "The Amazing Adventures of Che Guevara (part 1)" is on the same track as "Gilders, Parks".