DAVE BERRY AND THE CRUISERS - 'Memphis Tennessee'/'Tossin' And Turnin' (Decca F.11734) September 1963
Not a great deal of information is on the internet about Dave Berry and I certainly don't recall many column inches in the trendy music magazines or fanzines over the years. So, I've decided to focus on Dave Berry and the Cruisers on Flower Bomb Songs.
I'll highlight Dave's R&B and beat tunes rather than the many teen love ballads that he recorded.
He was actually born David Grundy but by his teens became obsessed with rock'n'roll performers like Elvis, Gene Vincent and of course Chuck Berry. He changed his surname to Berry after his hero.
It seems fitting then, that Dave Berry and the Cruisers' first single, issued in 1963, was the Chuck Berry rocker 'Memphis Tennessee'. I've always found it quite funny that the early beat groups from England covered so many USA rock'n'roll songs about places that they'd never been to. I doubt whether this combo had ever been much outside of Yorkshire, never mind hanging out in Memphis.
The song is a decent effort for '63 bearing in mind that production during the early 60s wasn't exactly dangerous and in the 'red'. That freakbeat style was still some way off.
According to the liners of the Dave Berry RPM CD from 2009, the session for both sides took over eight hours to complete, which was a long time those days. It's been suggested that his backing band The Cruisers struggled in the studio environment, although they were reportedly killer on stage.
The session was eventually completed with session drummer Bobby Graham from Joe Brown's Bruvvers. Backing singers were girl band The Breakaways. The single reached #19 in the UK.