Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Von der Liverpool Die Liverbirds

 THE LIVERBIRDS-Peanut Butter/Why Do You Hang Around Me Germany Star Club 148 528 STP 1965

These days seeing an all female rock n' roll band is nothing at all out of the ordinary. Sure there are still the sexist comments about them having a boyfriend or husband who's in a band or the misogynistic attitude that it's all looks and no talent, but knuckledraggers aside in the 60's there weren't too many all girl bands who played on their own records. Certainly not in working class 1962 Liverpool, England where this group were formed. Comprised of the late Pamela Birch-lead vocals/guitar, Mary McGlory-bass/vocals, Valene Gell-guitar/vocals and Sylvia Saunders-drums they moved to Hamburg, Germany (already home to many Liverpool ex-pat rockers like The Remo Four and Lee Curtis, but to name a few) where they became quite successful. They were signed to the Star Club label where they cut two LP's and four singles, one of which, a cover of Bo Diddley's "Diddley Daddy", went to #5 in the German charts.

The 7" in question here features a cover of the Marathon's 1961 track "Peanut Butter". It was their third of four singles recorded for the Star Club label. Oddly I can find no information to suggest any of their singles came out in the U.K. though this single received a U.S. pressing (Phillips 40288). "Peanut Butter" is a passable cover that pretty much sticks to the formula and is easily bested by the Big Three's version (Decca F 11752 1963). However it's the flip that provides a stroke of brilliance, an original written by lead singer Pamela Birch called "Why Do You Hang Around Me". It's moody beat-ballad with some cool backing vocals and a lovely little amped up guitar solo. The whole song has a bleak production that reeks of mid 60's dreariness: black and white, rain, stale pints and Woodbines with Pam singing from the point of view of a gal who's being used by her ex. It's probably the best "girl group" record ever made in my estimation, made even better by the fact that they wrote it, sang on it AND played it on it! Live the band were pretty raw and trashy as you can see/hear from the "Beat Club" clips below, no doubt influencing generations of trashy women rock n' roll combos (esp. in Medway with the Delmonas and The Headcoatees).

Both tracks were comped in the 90's on one of the "Girls In The Garage" LP series but I'm not 100% certain if they made it onto CD!

ADDENDUM:
In 2010 Ace records issued a CD compilation by The Liverbirds of all of their material titled "From Merseyside To Hamburg:The Complete Star Club Recordings"!

"Why Do You Hang Around Me" live on German TV's "Beat Club" 1965: 



"Peanut Butter" live on German TV's "Beat Club" 1965:

2 comments:

Monkey said...

Great choice.

When I first saw "Peanut Butter" on youtube I thought it so perfect - the garagey clang, the dancing kids - I wondered if it was a spoof!

Yr Heartout said...

Fantastic stuff. Stumbled on those clips recently and couldn't believe my luck.