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Liverpool Scene Winterpoem


The Liverpool Scene, a band consisting of Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts, Mike Evans, Mike Hart, Percy Jones and Brian Dodson, grew out of a series of poetry readings with music at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, and the success of The Incredible New Liverpool Scene, a 1967 CBS LP featuring Henri and Roger McGough reading their work with accompaniment by the guitarist Roberts. The LP in turn was inspired by the success of the poetry anthology The Liverpool Scene featuring the work of Henri, McGough and Brian Patten. In the 1960s, poetry began to have popular appeal for a young audience, with some critics claiming that pop songwriters such as The Beatles and Bob Dylan were poets. The Liverpool poets' populist approach, drawing on the poetry and jazz sessions of the American Beats as well as their Merseyside surroundings, found acceptance in a cultural climate where traditional literary values were regarded with suspicion. The Liverpool Scene released four LPs, combining poetry with a range of musical styles and incorporating folk, rock and jazz elements. Unlike their Liverpool contemporaries The Scaffold, they achieved little commercial success, although the band did become popular on the UK university and college circuit.

Links with Peel

In Liverpool I spent an ecstatic evening with Andy Roberts, Mike Evans, Adrian Henri and, briefly, Roger McGough. Perhaps there is a modern Olympus beneath the soot and decay of 64 Canning Street. I came away feeling better than I have since the rape of Radio London. Andy played me an acetate of Roger McGough reading the "Summer with Monika" poems to Andy's accompaniment. During the past year so much love and beauty has passed through me and lingered in my mind but nothing has surpassed this... (JP in IT 21, 1967-11-17)

John Peel, then working on the pirate radio station Radio London and looking to re-connect with his Merseyside roots after spending seven years in the USA, obtained a copy of the Liverpool Scene poetry anthology[1] and read selections from it on his influential late-night Perfumed Garden show. While on shore leave he attended a night of Liverpool poetry and music at London's UFO club (June 23, 1967: "Liverpool Love Festival - a busload of Liverpool 8"). He subsequently obtained the The Incredible New Liverpool Scene LP and regularly featured it on his programmes. After Radio London closed down, Peel visited Liverpool and met the band, writing enthusiastically of the experience in his Perfumed Garden column in International Times (see above quote). In the early period of his BBC career they regularly appeared in session on both Top Gear and Night Ride, he frequently introduced their live performances, and in 1968 he produced their first LP, Amazing Adventures Of, released on RCA Records. After doing this job, he wrote in International Times:

The Liverpool Scene LP is very good (my 'production' consisted of sitting, enjoying) whatever label it appears on. It is sad, though, how many people with good things for you are messed up by people steeped in expediency and compromise - I hope this doesn't happen there [2]

The Liverpool Scene made three more LPs for RCA without compromising their style, although Peel was not involved in their production. But when the 1960s ended, so did the fashion for mixing poetry with pop or rock music, and the Liverpool Scene split up. Individual members continued to appear on Peel's shows in the early 1970s; there were two sessions by Adrian Henri and Andy Roberts in 1972, and LPs by Grimms, a larger band which included several poets and musicians from the Liverpool Scene and added comedy to the combination of poetry, songs and music. Mike Hart later recorded two albums for Dandelion Records, which made even less commercial impact than most Dandelion releases, but were highly regarded by label owner Peel (who included the Hart track 'Almost Liverpool 8' among his four Peelenium choices for 1969). In 2001 Peel wrote an obituary of Adrian Henri for Radio Times, in which he admitted that they had lost touch over the years; but he did remain friends with guitarist Andy Roberts.

Festive Fifty Entries

  • None


Three sessions. No known commercial release.

1. Recorded: 1969-01-06. First broadcast: 19 January 1969. Repeated: 23 February 1969 (first plays for 'The Raven' and 'Colours')

  • Wild West / All Around My Grandmother's Floor / Tramcar To Frankenstein / The Entry Of Christ Into Liverpool / The Raven / Colours

2. Recorded: 1969-07-15. First broadcast: 20 July 1969. Repeated: 04 October 1969

  • I've Got The Fleetwood Mac Chicken Shack John Mayall Can't Fail Blues / Winter Poem / G.B.S. Blues

3. Recorded: 1969-12-29. First broadcast: 03 January 1970. Repeated: 11 April 1970

  • Homegrown / Boathouse / Night Song / Tractor

Sessions by members of The Liverpool Scene

Andy Roberts and Adrian Henri

Recorded: 1968-03-19. Broadcast: 27 March 1968.

  • 64 Canning Street / Tonight At Noon / Burdock River Run / Love Story

Recorded: 1968-10-30. Broadcast: 30 October 1968.

  • See The Conquering Hero Comes / Galactic Love Poem / Hull Poem

Recorded: 1972-01-07. First broadcast: 21 January 1972. Repeated: 25 February 1972

  • Ballad Of Chairman Shankley / One Of Those Days / Morning Song / Peter Pan Men

Recorded: 1972-07-27. First broadcast: 11 August 1972. Repeated: 15 September 1972 (‘King For A Day’ first play)

  • Winter Song / The Green, Green Grass Of London / I Suppose You Think It’s Funny / King For A Day / Galactic Love Poem
Andy Roberts

(also played on sessions by Viv Stanshall, Roy Harper and possibly others)

Recorded: 1970-03-10. First Broadcast: 28 March 1970. Repeated: 13 June 1970

  • Just For The Record / Creepy John / John The Revelator / Cocaine / You’re A Machine

Recorded: 1973-06-11. First Broadcast: 21 June 1973. Repeated: 02 August 1973

  • Harvest Of Tears / All Around My Grandmother’s Floor / Hobo Bill’s Last Ride / Living In The Halls Of Zion

Recorded: 1974-03-21. First Broadcast: 28 March 1974. Repeated: 09 May 1974

  • Rootie Tootie / Havin’ A Party / I’ve Got Mine / From Brown To Blue / The Great Stampede / Speedwell / 3
Mike Hart

Recorded: 1968-05-15. First Broadcast: 15 May 1968 (with poetry by Mike Evans on the same show)

  • Elsie Straus / Spiders And Larks / Is It True / The Shelter Song
Everyone (with Andy Roberts)

Recorded: 1970-09-21. First Broadcast: 03 October 1970. Repeated: 19 December 1970

  • Midnight Shift / Sitting On A Rock / Too Much A Loser / Trio
Plainsong (with Andy Roberts)

Recorded: 1972-01-24. First Broadcast: 01 February 1972. Repeated: 18 April 1972

  • Tigers Will Survive / Seeds And Stems Again / Spanish Guitar / Any Day Woman

Recorded: 1972-04-24. First Broadcast: 06 June 1972. Repeated: 15 August 1972

  • Truck Driving Man / Amelia Earhardt’s Last Flight / Yo Yo Man / I’ll Fly Again / The True Story Of Amelia Earhardt (not broadcast)

Recorded: 1972-11-27. First Broadcast: 30 November 1972. Repeated: 18 January 1973

  • Nobody Eats At Lineburgh Anymore / Old Men At The Mill / Charlie, Save Your Sorrows / Home / Ronga Out

(Please correct mistakes and add any missing info)

Other Shows Played

The Incredible New Liverpool Scene (CBS LP)
  • 12 July 1967: Roger McGough: Mother, There's A Strange Man Waiting At the Door
  • 16 July 1967: Roger McGough: The Day Before Yesterday
  • 22 July 1967: Adrian Henri & Andy Roberts: Tonight At Noon
  • 06 August 1967: Roger McGough - Mother, There's A Strange Man Waiting At The Door
  • 06 August 1967: Roger McGough - Mother, The Wardrobe Is Full Of Infantrymen
  • 31 December 1967: Adrian Henri & Andy Roberts - Talking After Christmas Blues
  • 21 December 2000: Adrian Henri: Adrian Henri's Last Will And Testament

See Also

External Links