•••Mersey Sect site•••



The Mersey Sect




Pretentious I may seem, but the 7” disk (that’s 17.78cm for you Continental vinyl junkies) that you have just smuggled from record store to bedroom (foiled again, Mum!) is a most heartwarming example of an all too rare phenomenon: multi-racial harmony. Not that there’s anything terribly harmonious about this debut EP by the Mersey Sect, a no-holds-barred serving of rock & roll in the style made popular by the beat combos of early sixties Liverpool. But the twanging, banging and hollering contained herein are the work of three Italians, one Englishman, and a singer of Gallic origin with a mysterious pseudonym : “The Slushy Ruin”. Add the fact that the band’s regular lead singer, who kindly agreed to let Monsieur Ruin handle vocal duties here, is a New Yorker born-and-bred, and you’ll begin to understand what I’m jabbering on about.
However, to paraphrase the wise words of a certain Mr. Diddley -he who patented the jungle beat way back in the 50s- “You can’t judge an EP by looking at the sleeve”. So without any further ado, place aforementioned platter on turntable and set spinning. (Leave those headphones right where they are...it’s not audio sophistication that we’re bothered about here.)
Things get under way at a breakneck pace with a stirring Slushy Ruin composition, and you may well imagine yourself struggling for elbow space on the floor of Liverpool’s Cavern Club or Hamburg’s Kaiserkellar. Indeed, the more energetic of you will doubtless wish to engage in the Twist, the Shake n’ Shimmy, the Stomp, the Hully Gully, and “why not?” The Whelky Walk.


The boys have been thoughtful enough to close Side One with a ballad, an unashamed attempt to tone things down before renewing their frenzied onslaught on the flipside. Ballad it may be, but I suspect you’ll be tapping your feet as you soak in the haunting melody of Every Day And Every Night.
Side Two takes us back to the year 1963 for a vibrant reading of Lies, the only cover tune here present. Originally recorded by Liverpool’s highly wonderful Johnny Sandon & the Remo Four, and masterfully penned by the late great Colin Manley, this was possibly the sharpest piece of beat n’ roll ever to be etched in British wax. Sad to say, it quite flew over the head of the buying public at the time. More fool them.
Into the home strait now, and our multinational beatniks try their collective hand at...well, just how does one pin a label on You Deceived Me, this bouncy closing number? Rhythm & blues ? Rockabilly ? Let’s just say that Fats Domino meets Carl Perkins on the Mersey ferry.
And there you have the Mersey Sect's debut EP. Original ? Hardly. Thought-provoking ? Probably not. But it's all honest toil, and you won't hear it in shopping malls or hotel lounges, and it's a nostalgic trip down memory lane, and at least three-quarters of it is probably danceable, and you don't often find bands whose members span three different nationalities, and I can think of worse ways of earning a living than reviewing this stuff.

Ronnie M. Trucid

(voir aussi deux autres articles en français : leçon 1 et leçon 2)