Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pranking Promoters

February 12, 1961

Today, a Sunday, the Beatles, for loyalty's sake or lack of other work, play the Casbah Coffee Club.  They have continued to play their usual round of places, the 10th at Aintree and Lathom Hall.  Yesterday, three gigs in one day.  Sets at Lathom Hall and Barlow's New Ballroom bracketing an appearance at another important venue in the story, the Cassanova Club. (Tomorrow, a rarity for them, a day off!)

The Cassanova Club is run by a local promoter and "frenemy" of Allan Williams named Sam Leach.  His book is entitled "Birth of the Beatles" and is overflowing with well-told tales of the Liverpool scene in the early '60s.  You can almost hear the music of that northern accent when reading his book. There is (as is too often the case) no professional co-author mentioned on his book, which leads me to believe it is all the work of his own hand.  So much the better for us readers!  (The book is currently out of print, but you can find used copies online.)

From around this time he tells the story of some friendly shenanigans that took place between himself and Allen Williams.

Sam was promoting a show that was to star a black ballad singer named Emile Ford, supported by his band, the Checkmates.  (Shout out to Alison on that preceding link.)  Emile was the kind of singer that even a mother could love, so Sam's mom agreed to come and see the show.  That was before the Liverpool Empire Theater (the biggest, most important venue in town) decided to enforce a contract clause that prevented Emile from appearing anywhere withing 25 miles of Liverpool.  So the Checkmates had to go on unaccompanied by their star performer.  Sam's mum was in the audience anyway.

Before the show, Sam was lubricating the machinery with a quick drink in the VIP when his mom walked up and asked "Why did you replace Emile with a bunch of strippers?"  Sam ran to the stage in time to see the Checkmates flanked by a couple of young girls dancing on the stage and wearing nothing but what the law required to keep them out of jail.  At the same time he beheld members of the local constabulary looking unamused and making their way to that very stage.  After a confab with the upholders of community morals, Sam convinced them that he was the victim of a practical joke.  He later discovered that the perpetrator was none other than rival Allen Williams, who had arranged for the girls and then phoned the local papers and the police with anonymous tips about the goings on.

Boys will be boys, I guess.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout-out!! I like the song Lucky Old Sun, but Dave thinks it's too sad...Great Blog!