The Liverbirds

From Merseyside to Hamburg: Complete Star Club

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The Liverbirds' story reads better than it plays, since as neat as the idea of an all-girl, mid-‘60s band from Liverpool playing raw rock & roll on their own instruments sounds, they really weren't all that accomplished, or original. Still, if you have any interest in this group at all, this is one-shop stopping for their legacy. All 29 tracks they recorded for the German Star-Club label are here, the 79:56 running time pushes the CD format's storage space to its absolute limit. That means not only everything from their 1965 LP Star-Club Show, Vol. 4 and their 1966 LP More of the Liverbirds, but also two rare non-LP singles, 1964's "Shop Around"/"It's Got to Be You," and 1966's "Why Do You Hang Around Me"/"Loop de Loop." The 16-page booklet has thorough historical liner notes from Mick Patrick and plenty of cool photos and illustrations. The music is more problematic, relying heavily on R&B-slanted covers of oft-trampled American classics like "Road Runner," "Johnny B. Goode," "Got My Mojo Working," "Heatwave," "Money," and songs by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. That doesn't make this act much different from many other British bands who started with a similar repertoire, of course, but the Liverbirds didn't do all that great with the material. The attack is energetic but not all that skillful, and the recording often seems hasty from both production and performance standpoints. Naturally, that's part of the attraction for some collectors, but when chords go missing from "Oh No Not My Baby" and "Love Hurts," the group crosses the line into ineptitude. There's not much original material, either, and one wishes that the band's Pam Birch had written more than just the two songs for the Liverbirds to record. They're not great, but at least they hint at more original territory, "It's Got to Be You" being passable Merseybeat, and the sullen girl-group-cum-Mersey "Why Do You Hang Around Me" ranking as their finest recording. A couple of the most obscure covers of outside material ("He's Something Else" and "He Hardly Ever Calls Me Honey Anymore," the latter co-written by Doc Pomus) also show some potential for more melodic, moody, and contemporary-sounding tunes. But most of the CD romps through familiar oldies in a more predictable rocking style.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:07
2 2:07
3 2:17
4 3:27
5 2:30
6 2:54
7 2:27
8 3:23
9 3:00
10 3:51
11 3:12
12 3:21
13 2:36
14 2:38
15 2:34
16 3:02
17 2:50
18 3:04
19 2:45
20 2:23
21 1:50
22 1:55
23 2:21
24 3:02
25 2:23
26 2:41
27 3:09
28 2:30
29 2:23
blue highlight denotes track pick