Mersey beat goes on

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Cavern Club Revisited - North Pier, Blackpool

Pop music fads and fashions may come and go but somehow the 1960s simply hang around forever. They were golden days and even though anyone who lived through them are now silver surfers at the very least, there’s still a certain joy catching up with blasts from the past.

This particular modern version of the old one night stand tours has been put together exclusively for a run of Monday nights in Blackpool and although former Tremeloes member Chip Hawke has had to drop out for health reasons, his former gaffer Brian Poole still seems delighted to be banging out the hits at just the wrong side of 70. His voice may be showing signs of wear and tear these days but for someone who made his name mostly for recording cover versions he still puts his heart and soul into the likes of Twist and Shout and Do You Love Me?

He’s backed on this show by The Swinging Blue Jeans who open the proceedings with all their hits (maybe their biggest should be called Artificial Hip Hippy Shake these days?) and more besides. Actually the term “their” isn’t quite true, there are no founder members left though Pete Oakman was in Joe Brown’s original Bruvvers and wrote the hit A Picture of You while frontman Alan Lovell has done the rounds including a lengthy stint with the New Vaudeville Band.

Headliners The Merseybeats still boast two original members in Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley with bassist Bob Packham being around since 1974. They still clearly enjoy performing their hits – which as the likes of Don’t Turn Around, I Think of You and the later Sorrow (recorded as The Merseys) always had a touch of class about them.

A full company finale of Hi Ho Silver Lining and You’ll Never Walk Alone works well – just so long as you avoid the immobility scooters zooming up the aisles.