The roots of Liverpool Echo can be traced back to East London, UK where school friends Martin Briley and Brian Engel formed the psychedelic quintet, the Mandrake Paddle Steamer with the help of Martin Hooker (organ), Paul Riordan (bass, vocals) and Barry Nightingale (drums). Two heavy psych singles were released on Parlophone during 1969: "Strange Walking Man" b/w "Steam" and "Sunlight Glide" b/w "Len" (a Sweden only single). A regular gigging band, playing with the likes of The Who, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple to name a few lasted until 1970 when Briley ran out of steam and left the band to become a graphic designer.
|Mandrake Paddle Steamer|
Following the AIR sessions Briley and Engel made friends with Andrew Pryce Jackman (ex-The Syn) who was conducting orchestras at the time and the three of them came up with the idea to record an album of "proper songs". The new band name, Liverpool Echo, was also the name of a newspaper and was a concious link to the Beatles, even the album sleeve is a front page article from 1963 of a Beatles news story. They employed the now legendary session musicians Clem Cattini (drums) and Herbie Flowers (bass) for the recording sessions which also included Jackman on keys and production duties and Briley and Engel sharing guitar and vocals. The recording sessions were quick with most tracks captured on the first or second take. The simplicity and rawness of the songs is a perfect antidote to the overgrown, seriousness of the Prog Rock of the time, much like the emerging Pub Rock scene.
|Briley & Engel|
The duo continued to write together for a short while, putting out the odd singles as True Adventure, Starbuck and Slick Willie (check out "Side Walk Surfing Skate Boarding" Birthday-esque?) and eventually drifted apart. Brian Engel went on to form country rockers, Limey and then Joined the New Seekers. Martin Briley had a succesful solo career in the 1980's and now works for Paul McCartney's MPL Communications Organisation and has written songs for N'SYNC, Celine Dion and Michael Bolton to name a few.