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Oh Mersey, Mersey me

December 18, 2022

When I saw this week’s genre prompt of Mersey Beat, or Mersey Sound or a band from Surrey or Liverpool the first thought I had was The Beatles. Actually, the first thought I had was the song The Surrey with the Fringe on Top from Oklahoma and the second thought I had was The Beatles.

I like The Beatles. A lot. So much so that even over 50 years later, I still think they’re the best rock and roll band in history. Along with Bruce Springsteen.

I don’t really know anything about the Mersey beat, or its sound, beyond The Beatles so I chose a band that Ringo played in before he joined The Beatles: Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

I learned from Wikipedia this morning that the Hurricanes were a popular band around Liverpool, but they never had any success with their recordings. And Rory’s (real name Alan Ernest Caldwell) sister Iris dated both George Harrison and Paul McCartney. Not at the same time though, which would have been cool in a weird way, but George when she was 12 (seems a little young to me, but who knows how the British do things over there) and Paul when she was 17.

I think there were a lot of 17-year-old girls all over the world who would have liked to have dated Paul McCartney. I think those 17-year-old girls who would now be in their 60’s, 70’s or 80’s might still like to date Paul McCartney. Anyway…

The band’s original name was Al Storm and the Hurricanes and then Jett Storm and the Hurricanes and then finally Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. The rest is history and it’s not really a history I’m much interested in.

Here’s Rory Storm and the Hurricanes’ recording of I Can Tell from 1963. The song was written by Harold “Chuck” Willis and was originally recorded by Chuck Willis and The Sandmen in, as best as I can tell, 1955. To the best of my knowledge Rory and company didn’t play any original songs. I couldn’t find the lyrics published online so I transposed them as best I could.

Rory and his band sound a little bit like The Beatles here but not a lot and they’re nowhere near as good. But then who is, right? I’m not sure anyone can make a comparison to a band that covered I Can Tell in 1963 with songs like Love Me Do, Please Please Me, I Saw Her Standing There, Do You Want To Know a Secret, and more, that the Beatles released on just one album in the same year.

I Can Tell

Well I can tell by the way that you look at me.
I can tell pretty baby it’s so plain to see.
Ah, the way you smile and hold my hand.
Oh yes pretty baby I can understand.
I can tell, I can tell, oh no, you don’t love me no more.

I’m gonna tell you momma, gonna tell your papa too.
Well just what more can a man do.
Ah, you been running up and down with Joey Brown.
Why yes, pretty baby, you don’t understand.
Well I can tell, I can tell, oh no you don’t love me no more.

No, no more. Yeah, whoa.
<discordant guitar solo unlike anything George Harrison would have played>

Well I can tell by the way that you look at me.
I can tell pretty baby, it’s so plain to see.
Ah, the way you smile and hold my hand.
Oh yes, pretty baby I can understand.

Well I can tell, I can tell.
I know you don’t love me no more.
Well I can tell, I can tell.
I know you don’t love me no more.

I’m going to go listen to some Beatles now.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2022 1:22 pm


    Gerry and the Pacemakers were the first ones I thought of. Actually, the only ones. I always associated the Beatles with Liverpool and Gerry with Mersey. But that’s just me….one of the girls who had a major crush on Paul. Not so much Gerry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 19, 2022 12:47 pm

      I don’t recall ever really liking any other British bands back then other than the Dave Clark Five. I remember Ferry Cross the Mersey from the radio but I don’t know anything else about Gerry or his band. I think I remember a song about upset New Yorkers who wanted out of the city called Ferry into Jersey but I don’t know who sang it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. December 18, 2022 2:20 pm

    This was a real treat, Michael. It is not easy to transpose lyrics to a song by listening to it and that takes a lot of dedication. Thanks for joining in with this rare jem.

    Liked by 1 person

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