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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Author Jude Southerland Kessler Launches Online Lennon Sessions

9:48 PM Posted by Nicole M


World-renowned Lennon historian Jude Southerland Kessler, author of The John Lennon Series, is launching a string of new online seminars called “Focal Points,” featuring a different topic on the musician’s life and work each month.

Kessler, who is currently working on the fifth volume in her projected nine-volume series on Lennon, has been a regular speaker at the Fest for Beatles Fans and Beatles at the Ridge Festival for years. With the pandemic putting in-person appearances on hold, she’s turning her focus to virtual presentations.

“I look forward to bringing John and The Beatles safely into the comfort of people’s homes,” Kessler commented. “In Lennon terms, it will be like a personal One-to-One show!’”

Starting in March, “Focal Points” seminars will take place monthly via Zoom on Tuesday nights at 7:30 pm Central. Registration is free, but there will be a donation option during future events:


·         March 23, 2021: Why John Lennon Identified as an Irish Artist (register now)

·         April 20, 2021: John’s Songs from A Hard Day’s Night

·         May 18, 2021: John’s Underappreciated LP: Some Time in New York City

·         June 15, 2021: A 56-year retrospect of A Spaniard in the Works

·         July 20, 2021: Sneak Peek of Shades of Life, Volume 5 in The John Lennon Series (An exclusive presale will begin for participants of this session!)

·         August 17, 2021: John’s Most Thrilling Moments on the 1965 Tour


Jude Southerland Kessler is the leading expert on the life of John Lennon and her expanded biographies on Lennon take readers chronologically through his life. The first four volumes are Shoulda Been There, Shivering Inside, She Loves You and Should Have Known Better. With a personal library of over 500 Beatles-related books and multi-media resources, Kessler undertook seven trips to Liverpool, England to interview Lennon’s childhood friends, early band members, art college mates, and business associates before embarking on writing the series, which is told in a narrative history format and heavily documented.

Reserve your spot for her first “Focal Points” session here. To learn more about Jude Southerland Kessler and her work, visit: www.johnlennonseries.com.  

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Online Fab Four Master Class Launches 3-Part "White Album" Series

9:27 PM Posted by Nicole M


CultureSonar and Wonderwall Communications are pleased to announce a new three-part series from Fab Four Master Class: The White Album, launching March 25th via CrowdCast (link to register: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/white-album-part-1).

Since June 2020, world-renowned Beatles historian and author Kenneth Womack and producer, composer and Deconstructing the Beatles series creator Scott Freiman have been delivering these unique Fab Four Master Class sessions online – an experience for music fans who crave in-depth looks at legendary recordings.

Having just wrapped up their Magical Mystery Tour class, they are ready to embark on The Beatles (better known as The White Album) in three parts.

“For my ears, The White Album finds the Beatles at their ambitious zenith,” says Womack. “As one of the great musical masterworks of all time, having multiple sessions will afford us with the space to give it the meticulous attention that it deserves.”

“The recordings that the Beatles made in 1968 showcase many musical styles – from avant-garde to music hall – and lyrics that range from the comical to the deeply personal,” says Freiman. “I’m looking forward to joining Ken for this dive deep into the creative process of the Beatles during this remarkable year in their history.”

As with previous classes, each installment on The White Album will include curated content such as rare outtakes from albums, deep-dives into composition and production techniques, stories behind songs, and exclusive musical breakdowns and audio clips.

The inaugural session in this latest series will look at the Beatles’ visit to India, their early 1968 songs including “Across the Universe,” “Lady Madonna,” and “Hey Bulldog,” plus the Esher demo tapes. Tickets are available here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/white-album-part-1 for The White Album (Part I), on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 8 pm ET.

Upon registration, you will receive an email with the link to join. Cost is only $10 per class. Parts II and III will take place in April and May with exact dates TBA. Each presentation will last approximately 90 minutes, followed by a Q&A. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

Octopus' Garden Review of "The Country of Liverpool" Book

2:46 PM Posted by Nicole M

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

The Country of Liverpool: Nashville of the North by David Bedford.

 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.

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.

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.

David Bedford has tackled subjects, that other authors sidestep, in his books, such as Liddypool 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.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Renowned UK Beatles Historians and Tour Guides Team Up to Offer Virtual Tours

10:47 AM Posted by Nicole M


The Beatles on Mathew Street in Liverpool.

Renowned Beatles historian and author David Bedford – a Liverpool native and lifelong resident of the city – and established London-based author and tour guide Richard Porter are set to offer a new series of virtual Beatles tours with exclusive photos, videos and stories.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has forced lockdowns and restricted travel, moving their tours online was essential for business and Beatles fans alike. “For so many people around the world, coming to Liverpool, Hamburg and London is a pilgrimage. Sadly this isn’t possible at the moment, so we’ve designed virtual tours that fans can take from the comfort and safety of their homes that are as close to actually being here.”

Starting this month, Bedford and Porter have two new tours scheduled at www.liverpoolvirtualtours.com for the affordable price of only £15 each:

  • Sunday, 24 January: “Liverpool and London – Beatles Venues Rare and Famous” at 7 pm
  • Sunday, 28 February: “The Beatles in Hamburg” at 7 pm

(NOTE: All times listed are in the UK. Your local time will be confirmed upon booking.)


Bedford, who grew up in the Dingle near where Starr was born and also attended the same primary school as Starr and Alf Lennon (John’s father) did, has dedicated his life’s work to the music of Liverpool. He was a founder of the British Beatles Fan Club, is the author of multiple books including Liddypool, The Fab One-Hundred and Four, Finding the Fourth Beatle, and The Country of Liverpool, and was associate producer on the film Looking for Lennon.

Porter has hosted more than 180,000 fans on his Beatles walking tours in his over 25-year career as a guide, and is also the author of the book, Guide to the Beatles’ London and wrote and presented the Beatles in London DVD. He has written for multiple Beatles fanzines, travelled extensively to notable Beatles sites worldwide, and has met and interviewed many of the band’s closest associates.

Together, the two are also co-authors (along with two other well-known guides) of the forthcoming book, The Beatles Fab Four Cities, taking readers on a trip to Liverpool, Hamburg, London and New York.

Reviews from guests of their virtual tours have praised the ““first-hand knowledge” and being able to take a “deep dive, while getting to sit back and enjoy a drink!” As one customer said, “I would definitely recommend this tour for the Beatles novice and even the big Beatles fan. There is sure to be something interesting for all!”

Log on to book your tour today at: www.liverpoolvirtualtours.com. To explore more about David and Richard’s other virtual tours, visit: www.beatlesvirtualtours.com