In 1974, Kinsley started playing five-a-side soccer as a means of keeping fit. It was on the pitch that he met Roger Craig, keyboard player in a local band called Paper Chase along with Tony Coats (guitar) and Derek Cashin (drums). Craig was a fan of the Annabella single and asked Kinsley if he would like to join Paper Chase, to which he agreed.
Kinsley rechristened his new band Rockin' Horse, knowing that they would get more gigs with a familiar name. He also hoped that original Rockin' Horse, Jimmy Campbell would join him, but Campbell returned to his engineering job. Rockin' Horse Mark II was getting plenty of bookings on the club scene but their crowd pleasing set list comprised of cover versions. After six months of gigging, Kinsley had learned how to play the piano via Craig and armed with a Mellotron each, the pair started to write songs together. The band was renamed Liverpool Express by their manager, Hal Carter. Their first gig under this name was at the Huyton Labour Club in June 1975. Shortly after, Carter had landed the band a recording contract with Warner Btothers.
|Liverpool Express (Coats, Craig, Kinsley & Cashin)|
An album called "Tracks", recorded at both Zodiac and DJM Studios in London and produced by Hal Carter and Peter Swettenham was released in June 1976 following the success of "You Are My Love" and included the hit and the previous single, now shortened to "Smile". Three more songs from the album were punted as singles; "Hold Tight" in September 1976, "Every Man Must Have A Dream" in December 1976 and "Doing It All Again" in March 1977. The overall sound of the album is 10cc meets Wings, harmony pop with a very typical 1976 'over production' which might put some people off, but the strength and quality of the songs helps you overcome the cheese factor. Also included on the album is a remake of the old Rockin' Horse classic, now titled "(I Remember) Julian The Hooligan" where Kinsley sings "Julian, plugging your smokes again, telling dirty jokes again, trouble for his folks again!".
Tracks is a great album which can be found for cheap and although it's not as raw or power poppy as the Rockin' Horse album, it is crammed with pure pop class. If you're still not convinced you better listen to this....enjoy....
To find out more about Liverpool Express and Billy Kinsley, I recommend the excellent Spencer Leigh book "It's Love That Really Counts" (The Billy Kinsley Story).