Let’s Go Down The Cavern

Let’s Go Down The Cavern – The Story of Liverpool’s Merseybeat by Spencer Leigh & Pete Frame.

This book published in the Autumn of 1984, is probably the best book published about the entire Liverpool scene in the early 1960’s.

An incredible amount of research was done with over 300 interviewed musicians telling their stories, many of which made it, but the majority of them are now working in their previous jobs such as bus drivers.

As the author puts it himself in the introduction, “Lets go down the Cavern” is more than a book about the Beatles. Their story is well known, but what does the public know about Gerry and the Pacemakers or the Swinging Blue Jeans. Not too much I suspect. He goes on “I’m convinced that Billy J Kramers life alone is worthy of a film”. So from the point of view of finding out about the lesser known groups, it makes the book fascinating reading.

It does make a change to hear some negative opinions of the Beatles from around that time like this from Johnny Hutch the drummer of the Big Three, “Brian (Epstein) asked me to join the Beatles as Pete Best’s replacement and I said, “I wouldn’t join the Beatles for a gold clock”. There is only one group as far as I am concerned and that is the Big Three, he later says that he considered Paul McCartney “a grade A creep”.

The book is divided into two parts:- A history of Mersey beat and A Mersey beat Twenty Five. This is a personal top 25 groups of the author which he regarded as the best. In this list he includes the Beatles, the Searchers, Cilla Black along side the unfamiliar names of the Escorts, the Dennisons and the Undertakers,

From a Beatle fans point of view there is very few raw facts to be culled from it, an interesting new theory of the Pete Best sacking comes to light though.

Along with some great pictures past and present and enhanced by Pete Frames chronological trees which considers the achievements of twenty five leading Merseyside acts plus a discography of all UK releases by Merseyside beat acts up to the end of 1965 it makes very good reading for those who love the Beatles and Merseysound groups of that era,

Let’s Go Down The Cavern” is published by Vermilion at £5.95p.


Craig Smith. [1985]

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