Pete Best

Casbah Coffee Club: Birthplace of the Beatles

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One has to admire Pete Best's perseverance. Since 1988, he has tried to establish himself as a "rock & roll artist" while trading on the fact that he was the original Beatles drummer. The money he made from Anthology 1 has allowed him to record and issue CDs both independently (as with this release) and through distributors such as Cherry Red. Either way, his audience is small, most likely consisting of very loyal Beatles fans. It would be nice to report that this is a fun, rocking CD; sadly, this is not the case. Casbah Coffee Club happens to be one of the worst albums he has issued. The tracks are old rock & roll standards that were originally on the jukebox in the actual Casbah Club. As fans know, the Beatles appeared there under the name Silver Beatles, but at that time Pete Best was not their drummer (he joined after that, just before their famous Hamburg stints). The song selections are fine; it is the performance that's a problem -- lackluster would be putting it mildly. Billy Kinsley's vocals are thin, and he sounds downright bored with the material. The only tolerable moment on this album is the instrumental "Red River Rock." It is interesting to note that the lineup here is the same from his 1988 appearances, including musicians who have not played with him since 1992. One wonders, then, when exactly this CD was recorded. The front sleeve features a photo taken at the Silver Beatles' debut performance in the club, but other than that, this issue is entirely passable. Even collectors may have some difficulty sitting through it.

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