19th June 1976
ON THE LIVERPOOL EXPRESS
(BUT NOT ON THE BEATLES BANDWAGON)
By Adam Cummings of Record Mirror
LIVERPOOL IS experiencing the Second Coming. If you thought the place was over the hill once the Beatles split up, then here’s a group to make you think again.
You may have heard a record called ‘You Are My Love’ by a new group, Liverpool Express. It’s a soft harmonic ballad that grows on you and could make the charts very shortly.
Bass player Billy Kinsley first turned professional when he was 15 in a group called the Mavericks. Rising on the back of the success of the Beatles, they changed their name to the Merseybeats, and recorded a song called ‘I Think Of You’ that shot up the charts to Number 5 in 1964.
When the band broke up two years later after further hits, Billy teamed up with the lead singer, Tony Crane, to form the Merseys. Their first single was ‘Sorrow’, more recently covered by David Bowie, which put them back into the Top Ten. Tony left to go into cabaret so Billy drifted into session work.
Drummer Derek Cashin met up with Tony Coates and Roger Craig to form Paper Chase.
How did Billy meet the other three to form Liverpool Express?
“Every Wednesday afternoon,” explained Billy, “all the groups around Liverpool get together and play football over at Skelmersdale.
“One afternoon I went along for my usual game and met up with Derek, Tony and Roger. We all thought we could have a good thing going for us.
“We hit the road in June, 1975. Our first single, “Smile” failed to make it but now the new one, ‘You Are My Love’ looks like being a hit.”
What did Billy think when David Bowie covered ‘Sorrow’ for the ‘Pin Ups’ album?
“I was really knocked out, he used to come and see us when we gigged in London but I didn’t like the way he did it. Our version was different from the original by the McCoys. Their version was more like Country & Western.”
Two years ago, Billy was invited to tour America on a Merseybeat revival tour.
“It was great out there,” he said. “In fact I went along as one of Gerry and the Pacemakers. Only two of the band’s had the original line-ups, the Searchers and Hermans Hermits.”
The Liverpool tag in the name conjours up memories of the Mersey sound, so why the name?
“I didn’t want it,” said Billy. “I was sick to death of the Mersey tag, but we couldn’t think of a suitable name and eventually came up with Liverpool Express.”
Did the Beatles influence the group?
“A great amount. I was 14 when I first saw them and just starting to learn how to play so you can imagine how much they influenced me. Tony had never played a guitar until he heard ‘Please Please Me’. Up till then he wasn’t interested in music.”
Is the band’s sound an up-dated version of the Beatles’ music?
“No, we don’t want to be associated with them. In the Sixties every band rode on the crest of the Beatles. But now there are a lot of good bands making it from Liverpool with their own music, such as Supercharge.”
Is the single representative of the band?
“Yes, we do a lot of soft material,” he said. “I really like it but we’re not really a harmony band. Our voices don’t blend that well except on the single.”
Billy has done a lot of session work for Apple, working with George Harrison and Paul McCartney. He also played on a number of those budget LP’s but would rather like to forget about that!
Did playing sessions mean that it was difficult for you to play in a permanent band?
“No, it’s great. I’ve learnt different techniques and watched different producers as this can only help the band.”
Liverpool Express have their first album out around the end of July.
“We really want to make it,” said Billy. “I would have packed it in if I thought we wouldn’t make it, but I think we will.