Now in their 29th year as rock 'n' roll crusaders for all that's way, way cool about early '60s Britannia pop, Merseybeat and Shadows-styled instrumentals, The Rapiers—"the best '60s band since the '60s"—are truly worth flying 5,000 miles to see, hear and dig.
Were I to recommend one stop for the Full English Experience I'd point the anglo-inclined toward Mark and Linda Wilsmore's Ace Cafe, a black-and-white nirvana for leather-clad rockers, great grub, Carlo Little tribute nights, Mod 'n' Mini Meets (next one: 3 July) and other petrol-fueled mayhem.
Was Billy Fury (1940-1983) the greatest British rock 'n' roller? Heck, this shooting star from Liverpool had the looks, the voice, the songs, the moves, the quiff.
Just ask and Colin Pryce-Jones will talk up Billy's stormin' "Nothin' Shakin'", released amid the Merseybeat 1964 tidal wave, as a proof point for his pre-eminence in British music. No wonder The Rapiers for years featured it in their sets.
"Nothin' Shakin' (But the Leaves on the Tree)" on "Ready Steady Go!", cheekily edited by the YouTube poster to feature '50s dancers not "RSG!" mods and modettes on cutaway shots.
As Stormy Tempest doing The Who's "Long Live Rock" in "That'll Be the Day" (1973) with David Essex, Keith Moon and Ringo Starr.
A photo montage set to Billy's "Do You Really Love Me Too? (Fool's Errand)", covered by The Rapiers on their debut LP "Straight to the Point".
For the Summer 2004 all-Rapiers issue of Pipeline Magazine, interviewer Dick West asked Neil Ainsby about his early musical inspirations. "Well, I'm afraid to say Shads fans, it was always The Beatles for me," came honest Neil's reply. "I was only 6 years old when I first saw A Hard Day's Night, and the song which I remember was If I Fell. For me that was the most fantastic sound I'd ever heard because, up until then, it had been all Bay City Rollers and stuff like that... I wanted to be John Lennon!"
On that note, we dedicate some Beatledomfun to Neil, who, as it turns out, celebrated a birthday only three weeks ago. We hope you had a good time, Sir Neil!
An early clue to the new direction and other pimply hyperbole
If you were away on a mission to Mars, Tottenham, England's beloved Dave Clark Five are now members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a long time coming.
Below, in a four-part series from the Rock and Hall of fame induction ceremony, actor Tom Hanks (pure genius) tells us why we should be glad all over, surviving DC5 members Dave Clark, Lenny Davidson and Rick Huxley bask in the spotlight again, Joan Jett goes Bits and Pieces, and John Fogerty takes us home.
Point of Interest: The first time I ever rode a bus northward from Seven Sisters tube in North London, seeking Rapiers HQ in Edmonton, my heart smiled as we passed through Tottenham, which, as every British Invasion student knows, birthed The Dave Clark Five—rivals to The Beatles, stars of Having a Wild Weekend/Catch Us If You Can, singers of vinyl sonic boom like Anyway You Want It, makers of the 1966 LP Try Too Hard, forever in my all-time Top 10.