Paul McCartney, Arthur Kelly, George Harrison and John Lennon

Beatles, cowboys & country music

Paul McCartney, Arthur Kelly, George Harrison and John Lennon
Paul McCartney, Arthur Kelly, George Harrison and John Lennon

The Country of Liverpool: Nashville of the North by David Bedford: A Review

“Fans of the Beatles are familiar with the group’s affinity for country music created in America. What many people don’t realize is that in the 1960s and up to today, country music experienced tremendous popularity in Europe as evidenced by its root in the skiffle craze that eventually developed into British rock and roll music. The interest of the Beatles and others is not as simplistic as records coming off the ships berthing in Liverpool. It is much deeper and more substantive.

“The earliest immigrants to the American colonies from Britain and Ireland brought with them folk songs, hymns, and primitive African blues. The songs told stories of love, war, legends, and more and were written with a regular rhythm generations remember and repeat easily. The early settlers came from Britain, Ireland, and Scotland, and found homes in the Appalachian Mountains. As time went on, the descendants moved to other parts of the new world and the songs began to evolve and develop into what eventually became all the splinter forms of the country music genre, from country and western to bluegrass and beyond.

1950s, Westerns and Cowboys

British children of all ages were obsessed with cowboys!
British children of all ages were obsessed with cowboys!

“Bedford expertly describes the growth of country music in the US and how it is also firmly formed in the roots of rock and roll of the early 1950s in the music of Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, and others. Interest in the country and western genre in both America and Britain also included western movies and American cowboys and it was a regular occurrence for British youth to attend Saturday movies to revel in their interest. Many Liverpool bands took names that were reminiscent of the American cowboy, as well.

“The cowboy image quickly evolved into the British rocker. Country and western music did not disappear with the advent of the Liverpool rock scene. Far from it. It had a strong following in Europe that continued to grow, despite slipping into the background. Country stars such as Phil Brady blossomed and grew in their own right and there were many, many clubs that specialized in country music.

Posters, Tickets and Clipping

“Bedford presents the story in a way that keeps the reader interested. His research skills are deep and impeccable. He uses old photos and posters as key parts of the story with a charm that adds to the book.

Memorabilia from Phil Brady's scrapbook
Memorabilia from Phil Brady’s scrapbook

The Country of Liverpool
The Country of Liverpool

“David Bedford has tackled subjects, that other authors sidestep, in his books, such as Liddypool, The Fab One Hundred and Four and Finding the Fourth Beatle, and presents topics that are new to readers. The Country of Liverpool is no exception and cements Bedford’s standing as one of the top Beatles historians of today. An excellent book and an excellent story told in a way that is interesting, educational, and just plain enjoyable.

Another must-have for Beatles, and music, fans.”

Tom Aguiar

Adapted with permission from Octopus’ Garden fanzine, Volume 30, Issue #3, March 2021. Review by Tom Aguiar.

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