On Second Thought: Liverpool Express – The Best Of Liverpool Express (2002)

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Coming to be in 1975, Liverpool Express features lead singer and bassist Billy Kinsley, who enjoyed much success throughout Europe 10 years earlier with the Merseybeats. Hailing from Liverpool, England, the band reeled in a huddle of hits, including “It’s Love That Really Counts,” “I Think Of You” and “Don’t Turn Around,” then later sliced their moniker down to the Merseys, where they collected further acclaim with tunes such as “Sorrow” and a cover of Pete Townshend’s “So Sad About Us” before dispersing at the end of the decade.

Although Liverpool Express has been warmly accepted in their mother land, they are certified superstars in South Africa and Brazil. The band currently has cut four full-length albums, which are all worth adding to your shelf, but the set we’re concentrating on now is The Best Of Liverpool Express (Every Man Records), which duly focuses on their finest moments and is a good starting place for those not acquainted with their highly recommended work.

Brandishing an updated take on the bright and shiny shimmer of ’60s British pop rock, Liverpool Express wires their tight and catchy material with layers of luscious harmonies, condensed hooks and neat and organized structures. State of the art production charges the thoughtfully-written and performed songs with a spotlessly-scrubbed sheen, but the energy and approach remains squarely on the organic side of the coin.

The disc gets the ball rolling with the ravishing ridges of “You Are My Love,” which sounds a lot like a long lost Paul McCartney track. As a matter of fact, back in 1981, Sir Paul publicly cited the tune as one of his very favorite songs, and it’s easy to hear why. Romantic lyrics, impassioned vocals, a clingy tempo and nice melodies will always stay in style.

Hungarian dance rhythms and haunting string arrangements collide in an interesting and innovative way on “Margie,” where “Every Man Must Have A Dream,” “Hold Tight,” “It’s A Beautiful Day,” “Last Train Home,” “Take It Easy With My Heart,” “Dreamin'” and “Don’t Stop The Music” are other nifty numbers to be had. There’s some swell keyboard playing to be savored, and the guitars, which are both acoustic and electric, chime with substance. The singing is excellent, and the songs are so infectious that they’re appropriate for any era.

Not surprisingly, a strong Beatlesque influence caps The Best Of Liverpool Express, which even boasts a tribute to their old friends. Titled “John George Ringo and Paul,” the poignant piece namedrops a string of Beatles tunes and concludes to the sustained piano note of “A Day In The Life.” The song was specifically composed for this album.

Prior to founding Liverpool Express, Billy Kinsley held membership in Rockin’ Horse, an equally fantastic band. A remake of the band’s “Julian The Hooligan,” which was co-authored by Billy, and crunches and crackles to a power popping clip, appears here as well.

Liverpool Express may be devoted to their roots but avoid the retro trap by slinging a fresh batch of paint onto the canvas. As indicated by The Best Of Liverpool Express, the band ably balances maturity and sophistication with fun and excitement. Disciples of Badfinger, Pilot, Electric Light Orchestra and of course the Merseybeats and the Beatles are required to give a listen and do so immediately if they haven’t already!

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