Merseymania – a 'great' lost Lou Reed album?

Merseymania by Billy Pepper and the Pepperpots is an album I rescued from a bargain bin on the strength of the cover and the sleeve notes. It is also rumoured to be a Lou Reed and John Cale effort from their days producing crud budget music for Pickwick during the earlier part of the sixties. Can anyone substantiate this rumour? Cale and Reed worked at Pickwick, but I’ve never seen any documentary evidence that convinced me they are actually responsible for this particular abomination. The black and white cover photo of screaming Beatles fans is an absolute classic, with some lovely period lettering above it. The sleeve notes are equally cool:
“It burst on to the British music scene unannounced one day in October 1962. ‘It’, of course, refers to ‘Mersey Mania’, an expression that has been coined to describe the new form of music that has injected an air of freshness into our hit parade at a time when it was looking decidedly jaded. What is ‘Mersey Mania’ ? This is a question that although frequently asked is very difficult to define. Whatever one’s own definition is, there can be no getting away from the fact that this new form of music has livened up our pop music scene considerably and has brought forth an era of excitement and enthusiasm that has been acclaimed by young and old alike…”
To me it looks like Roger Easterby was half-asleep when he wrote these notes. The fourth sentence quoted here would have read better if he’d ended it with the word ‘answer’. Oh well, since the session musicians on this release sound like they were on auto-pilot when they recorded it, the notes on the sleeve and those in the grooves match! And don’t believe the hype when the copywriter tells us:
“In this album you will hear all aspects of the ‘Mersey Mania’ from the out and out rhythm and blues number to the more sedate ballad, and whichever particular number takes your fancy, be it one of the well-known songs or one of the seven original numbers, you will agree that the latest Liverpool find – Billy Pepper and The Pepperpots – certainly do justice to the Beat City on this really sensational album. I specially recommend that you take a listen to the boys’ brilliant revival of Jericho, for this Spiritual, given the Mersey treatment, just about sums up what this music is all about. Finally, if you are ever asked by your friends, ‘what is the Mersey Sound?”, lend them this album… for THIS IS THE MERSEY MANIA !”
And if you believe that then you might also believe The Pleasers should have been bigger than the Beatles.  See my blog of a few days ago – and in particular some of the comments – for more on The Pleasers. Aside from the alleged Velvet Underground connection, Merseymania is also a historical curiosity because some of those who believe the rumours about Paul McCartney dying back in the sixties also contend that since then Billy Pepper has stood in as his double! And if you are of the opinion that ‘Paul is dead’ then it probably won’t be hard to convince you that JFK was my father (possibly true) and Britney Spears is my ‘secret’ daughter (unlikely).
To sum up, Mersymania by Billy Pepper and the Pepperpots sucks, but it was worth 80p of my money for the front cover and sleeve notes. Record collector scum please note: if you’re a Lou Reed or John Cale fanatic, I’m open to offers of three figures and more for my copy of this platter. The tracks on this release run as follow:
Side 1

  1. I Want To Hold Your Hand.
  2. This Is What I Mean.
  3. Tell Me I’m The One.
  4. Jericho.
  5. Maybe I Will
    Side 2
  6. I Saw Her Standing There.
  7. Seems To Me.
  8. I’ll Have To Get Another Girl.
  9. Your Kind Of Love.
  10. There I Go.
    And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Karen Karnak on 2009-08-03 17:48:40 +0000

Movements of the Imaginist Congress and Psychic Rally of the Industrial Union of Psychic Workers :

  1. The congressional rally is part of the Art Strike.
  2. All activists, artists and cultural workers involved with Plan9’s so-called Summer of Dissent – including the Invisible Committee, are welcome to this meeting as Fellow Workers and we unionise with them on the Plan9 event as a job.
  3. All police or military officers and other government related workers present at the congress and rally will unionise as Fellow Workers on their job.

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-08-03 18:51:36 +0000

You’ve certainly been scroring well in the bargain bins lately, Trippy! Dig it while you can – although I suspect there’s less chance of London suffering as badly as York in terms of th demise of the second-hand vinyl store (i.e. we have one and it ain’t cheap) or charity shops charging ‘Record Collector Price Guide’ (the most pointless book in print since eBay became the biggest place for second-hand vinyl) for crap that’s utterly fucked.
I’ll stick to ‘Metal Machine Music’ – surely Reed’s finest moment (aided considerably by the fact he doesn’t ‘sing’ on it).

Comment by Old Rope on 2009-08-03 21:08:47 +0000

There were numerous “novelty” records to cash in Paul’s “death” as well:
“The ballard of paul” by The Mystery Tour, “Brother Paul” by Billy Shears and the All-Americans, “We’re All Paulbearers” by Zacherias and The Tree People and “So Long, Paul” by Werbley Finster (a pseudonym, apparently, for Jose Feliciano).
I have not heard any of these but what more evidence could you need of McCartney’s death if not a bunch of novelty records? These are facts enough for me.
Scour those record shops Trip!!!

Comment by Old Rope on 2009-08-03 21:24:37 +0000

This also brings to mind two Beatle-related fakeries baby. “Have You Heard The Word?” and the more elaborate and ridiculous Masked Marauders LP.
A ‘journalist’ called T.M Christian wrote a review of an album in Rolling Stone, 18th October 1969. The disc in question was allegedly a bootlegged LP (on the unknown Deity label) by a group called The Masked Marauders. This band supposedly consisted of Lennon, Jagger, McCartney, Dylan, Harrison and an unnamed drummer.
Ralph J Gleason came clean in the San Francisco Chronicle, having fooled Allen Klein and Dylan’s manager, exposing it as a load of shits and giggles. But then the hoaxsters went on to hire a bunch of session hacks and knocked off an LP that matched the initial Rolling Stone review.
Amazingly Motown offered $100,000 dollars for the tape after it received radio play, but the phony group cut a $15,000 deal with Warner and the album was released with the same cover as the initial review, with liner notes by “T.M Christian” and on the fake Deity label which bore the Latin motto: Deus est vivus — God lives

Comment by Old Rope on 2009-08-03 21:26:07 +0000

The fake Macca, or Faul as some dub him:
Someone has taken this cat to funkytown

Comment by Karen Friedman, Dari Lalou and Casey Synge on 2009-08-03 23:01:27 +0000

toot toot

Comment by Willy and the hand Jive on 2009-08-04 01:14:44 +0000

Turn me on Dead Man
Hang in there for the clincher at the end….?

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-08-04 11:30:59 +0000

What we need now are a bunch of novelty records and fakeries about / by Michael Jackson – I heard a crazy rumour he’d died, too…

Comment by raymond anderson on 2009-08-04 21:04:51 +0000

while the cat’s away eh?
The Paul Is Dead story is said to have broke when someone phoned Detroit DJ Russ Gibb, later the operator of Detroit’s Grande Ballroom.
An interesting aside about him connects with the mythical Stargroves Manor:
“While in England he spent time with Eric Clapton (including late night sessions playing Monopoly) and during a stay at Mick Jagger’s English estate, Stargroves, Gibb learned about cable television; he bought the Dearborn, Michigan, Wayne, Michigan and Grosse Pointe, Michigan cable licenses in the late seventies, the sale of which made him a millionaire a few years later.” – wiki
KEENER13.COM: What was your first exposure to cable TV?
RG: I saw it at Mick Jagger’s estate in England. He lived at Stargrove Manor, a place built by Oliver Cromwell in the 17th Century. There was an antenna farm on the roof that Mick used to pick up Television from the Continent. They called it CATV. A few years later I bought the cable TV rights for Dearborn for $5,000.00. I remember Mayor Orville Hubbard telling the press that, “We found some lunatic who was willing to pay us for the right to put free TV on a wire and sell it to people.”

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-08-05 16:23:50 +0000

Wow you hipsters out there seem to know more about Beatles fakes and trivia than me. But there are 3 great Lou Reed albums, Metal Machine Music, Transformer and Take No Prisoners Live – the Velvets material doesn’t even come close… But I do like those Pickwick songs like Do The Ostrich – yeah stick your head in the sand Mister Record collector man, no expensive rarities for me, only cheap ones!

Comment by Michael K on 2009-08-05 16:46:27 +0000

Macca is bigger than God! He is God!

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-08-05 19:32:38 +0000

Michael are you drunk? Everyone knows Ringo was the cutest Beatle!

Comment by John Lennon on 2009-08-05 20:04:56 +0000

Merseymania is almost as much of a groove sensation as being a zombie!

Comment by Rou Leed on 2009-08-05 20:07:08 +0000

I somehow doubt Lou Reed would do anything under a pseudonym, and if he did he’d have to tell everyone it was him.

Comment by Rou Leed on 2009-08-05 22:47:45 +0000

By the way its me, Lou.

Comment by Paul McCartney on 2009-08-06 06:48:00 +0000

Lennon may have called a meeting at Apple to proclaim himself Jesus Christ but, like Schrodinger’s cat, I’m alive and dead at the same time which must mean that I’m better than Krishna (George) and Alfie Bass (Ringo). But which God am I?

Comment by Paul McCartney on 2009-08-06 06:48:52 +0000

That’s right. You guessed it. I’m Paul. Hear me roar!

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