Songs In The Key Of… Liverpool

6 May, 2017 in Features, Interviews

Liverpool Empire Theatre

Liverpool Empire Theatre. Photo: El Pollock/Creative Commons

The founder of Mellowtone Records leads us around Liverpool by choosing a dozen of his favourite songs from the city

Taking us on our latest sonic adventure is David McTague, the founder of Liverpool’s Mellowtone Records. Having presented songwriters and bands from the worlds of folk, blues, roots and so much more, in a variety of the city’s most iconic and intimate venues (as part of the Mellowtone nights), he’s helping to keep the birthplace of the Beatles as vibrant as ever. So it’s over to David to present a selection of 12 songs that define his Liverpool…

“Described as ‘the centre of the creative universe’ by beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Liverpool has always been something of a magnet for mavericks and dreamers. An an outward-facing port city, appropriating influences into a magical musical melting pot. Known by some as ‘songwriter city’. There’s something in the water here…”

To watch the whole 12-track playlist in one go, check out the Songwriting YouTube Channel.

TIMELESS MELODY – THE LA’S
“Other than the Beatles, I suppose this is where my love affair with Liverpool bands began, a long time before I lived here. Check this version of Timeless Melody…”

POEM – SHE DREW THE GUN
“Voices like this are needed in these troubling times. Every line is perfectly executed, life affirming. This band should be massive.”

COMEDY – SHACK
“A tough call to pick a song by a band with such a consummate back catalogue. So many great songs to choose from.”

THE GRAND ILLUSION – NICK ELLIS
“Someone at a gig described Nick to me as ‘an artist made for these times,’ and I suppose that nails it. Just the right amount of social commentary and hard-hitting narrative, but delivered like a dreamscape and with hope. This poetic track opens his album – ‘Liverpool’s own man in black’ delivers his sermon.”

THE KILLING MOON – ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN
“It’s an obvious choice but it’s obviously brilliant. Young bands are still picking up on that sound and mood, that world of the Bunnymen.”

MAN WITHOUT A FACE – THE CHANTS
“Eddie Amoo, the writer of this song, told me that Curtis Mayfield heard this track and described it to him as ‘heavy’. Need I say any more?”

TWO TO BIRKENHEAD – BILL RYDER-JONES
“OK, he’s from the Wirral, but we must include Bill. Another fine songwriter… and brave too. Compare this to something like By The Church Of Apollonia from the If album – his range is incredible.

FREEDOM – EDGAR JONES
“The musical melting pot that is Edgar Jones. We were honoured to work with Edgar and the Viper Label on the Soothing Music For Stray Cats LP. My favourite track on this changes daily, but let’s go with Freedom because the sun is out.”

ROYAL CALL – SEAFOAM GREEN
“Whether it’s stripped-back acoustic or the more lush band arrangements Seafoam Green always transport you somewhere else. The LP is our latest release, and sounding fabulous. Check this solo acoustic version.”

SHADOWS FALL – THE CORAL
“More peninsular, but we couldn’t leave out The Coral. I think that this track kind of sums up the Coral’s debut album in one song.”

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – BLACK
“What a song. We had Colin booked for a show in 2016, just before his tragic accident. Sadly we never hosted him at Mellowtone. RIP Colin. x”

IT’S ALL TOO MUCH – THE BEATLES
“Where do you start with The Beatles? I don’t know. An obvious choice but I couldn’t leave them out, so here’s a track I love. It’s a Harrison composition, pretty much produced by the band themselves.”


David McTagueDavid McTague is the founder of Liverpool’s Mellowtone Records. With over a decade of parties, gigs and showcases, Mellowtone have presented songwriters and bands from the worlds of folk, blues, roots and more, in a variety of the city’s venues. Find out more at mellowtonerecords.com

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