We’d like to thank everyone who has picked up a copy of The Country of Liverpool, the latest book from Liverpool historian David Bedford which explores the country music heritage of Liverpool, UK, which has thrived from the 1950s to the present day.
David Bedford has recently been promoting the book with appearances on a number of podcasts, including the Tuddle Daily show. It seems that the book is picking up traction, with an increasing number of positive reviews cropping up all over the internet.
We though we’d share this one from Paul J. Clinton of Detroit, who had some very kind words to say about the book:
“The Beatles “Country” is not always what you might think… it’s not only just England. Their other real “Country” is known by just a few. David Bedford’s new book “The Country of Liverpool” is a ground-breaking perspective on the Beatles roots from the Liverpool Country music scene and the influence on it from the iconic American Nashville sound.
“His new, impeccable research and writing has uncovered vast and somewhat unknown influences from Liverpool’s “County” scene on the Beatles and other Merseyside groups, from the ’50 & ‘60s Phil Brady and the Ranchers the Hillsiders including today’s up and coming Liverpool county stars including Dominic Halpin (more about him, his projects and many others, too in this brilliant book).
“If you love country music history (from anywhere in the world including the U.K.), and the Beatles you will love this book!”
High praise indeed, thank you so much Paul!
‘The Country of Liverpool’ by David Bedford: pick up your copy today
Want to find out more about the rich country music heritage of Liverpool? You can pick up a copy of The Country of Liverpool by visiting the Beatles Bookstore. Keep a look out for the documentary film version of the book, which is scheduled for release later this year! You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates.
The Awards for Excellence are presented to authors and publishers of books, articles, or recording liner notes, to recognize outstanding published research in the field of recorded sound. In giving these awards, ARSC recognizes the contributions of these individuals and aims to encourage others to emulate their high standards and to promote readership of their work. A maximum of two awards is presented annually in each category—one for best history and one for best discography. Certificates of Merit are presented to runners-up of exceptionally high quality.
The Country of Liverpool: Nashville of the North
The book tells the story of the country music scene in Liverpool in the ’50s and ’60s, when Liverpool was referred to as the ‘Nashville of the North’, due to it having the biggest country and western scene in the UK.
We’re glad that this is a story that resonates not just with Liverpudlians, but also with our country-loving friend across the Atlantic.
Of course, we cannot look at the history of country in Liverpool without examining how the Fab Four fit in to the picture. The book covers the country music roots of The Quarrymen and The Beatles, with over 20 Beatles songs with country roots. We also follow Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as they travelled to Nashville in the 1970s to record country songs.
At the heart of the book is the career of Liverpool’s own Phil Brady who, following the formation of his first incarnation of the Ranchers in 1962, became the #1 country artist in Britain. He also travelled to Nashville in 1968, where he met with Willie Nelson, George Hamilton IV and many other country legends.
Discover these stories for the very first time by ordering your copy of ‘The Country of Liverpool’ today.
Production of The Country of Liverpool film is ongoing. If you’d like to get involved and contribute your story, please message us on any of our social media channels (listed above), or email our publicist Alex Holbourn at email@example.com.
Phil Brady was born in the Dingle, a suburb of Liverpool that lies a stone’s throw away from the city centre. Just like his neighbour Ringo Starr, Phil always loved his country music.
Phil Brady’s First Group
In June 1962, the newly-married Phil Brady formed his first group, a trio that he put together with Frank Peters and Sid Chadwick. However, they soon discovered that the balance wasn’t right with two rhythm guitars, and so Sid left. With Phil being the only singer, he wanted a bass player and a steel guitar player too, to thicken the sound. Tommy Bowness joined on bass, with Rae Owens on lead guitar, and Frank Peters playing steel guitar. The Ranchers were born.
1963 – 1964: Phil Brady and the Ranchers
At the beginning of 1963, they changed their name to Phil Brady and the Ranchers, partly because it sounded better, but also because Phil was the only singer, and did all the bookings. They would keep this name for most of Phil’s career. This was the time that they undertook their apprenticeship around the Liverpool clubs.
They gained a residency at the Blue Angel every Monday night. The Blue Angel was one of the most popular clubs in Liverpool, owned by the Beatles’ first manager, Allan Williams. On Tuesday, it was The Chequers Club on Seel Street run by Roy Adams, who later owned The Cavern; Wednesday it was the Four Winds at 1, Manestys Lane, Liverpool. On Thursdays, they played at the Marine Club on the Dock Road and then at the weekend, they played at Brian Kelly promotions around the north end of Liverpool. Kelly, who had promoted The Beatles at venues like Litherland Town Hall and the Aintree Institute, was putting on dances with a mixture of beat music and country, where Phil came into contact with legendary Cavern DJ Bob Wooler and many of the local Merseybeat bands.
Phil Brady, Country, and Merseybeat
“We did a lot of venues with Merseybeat bands where there were country bands also. Freddie Starr,” who became a huge television star in the UK, “used to come to the Blue Angel after he had finished elsewhere. We started at 12 and finished at 2am. Freddie said; ‘can I get up with you?’ and he used to do Elvis impressions and Jim Reeves, playing the fool! Great guy and great performer, and the crowd loved him. Rory Storm used to come in and get up on stage with us too.”
“Over the years, I have played with a lot of musicians, and have been very fortunate that I have had so many great players. We never normally rehearsed, as most of the rehearsals were done ‘live’ on stage, though for complicated songs with lots of chords and complex arrangements.” As with most bands, tracking the changes in musicians is even more complex than some of those songs.
Hank Snow, Willie Nelson and more
Along the way, as well as playing with some great musicians in his band, he met, and toured with, some of the greatest names in Country music, like Willie Nelson, Slim Whitman, Hank Snow, Buck Owens, Hank Cochran and Jeannie Seely, while recording in Britain as the Number 1 Country music band, and also visiting Nashville, where he met many country stars and made several television and radio appearances.
Not bad for a boy from the Dingle, in the town becoming known for Merseybeat and The Beatles.
The Country of Liverpool: The Film
Phil Brady’s story will be one of those featured in the new Country of Liverpool Film. The film is currently being produced by Brightmoon Films, the makers of Looking for Lennon. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for production updates.
The Country of Liverpool is an exhaustive work linking Country and Western and Rock’n’Roll, between America and Liverpool.
John Lennon biographer Jude Kessler has reviewed “The Country of Liverpool” for Culture Sonar:
“For 50 years, the well-worn tale of 1950s American music imported into the port city of Liverpool, England, via the Cunard Yanks has been the standard explanation for the “rise of the Beatles.” But in his new book, The Country of Liverpool, author David Bedford (Liddypool, The Fab One Hundred and Four) views this simplistic theory as a bit like putting the cart in front of the horse.”
Jude concludes that:
“The Country of Liverpool is an exhaustive work linking Country and Western and Rock’n’Roll, between America and Liverpool. Bedford’s book proves that long before The Beatles set foot on the Ed Sullivan Stage on 9 February 1964, the United States and Liverpool were already joined by a common love affair with Irish-inspired Bluegrass, Folk, Skiffle, and Country and Western, all of which led directly to the birth of Rock’n’Roll and the Mersey Beat.
This is that complete story.
-Jude Southerland Kessler (author of The John Lennon Series)”