Beat music, British beat, or Merseybeat (after bands from Liverpool and nearby areas beside the River Mersey) is a pop and rock music genre that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1960s. Beat music is a fusion of rock and roll (mainly Chuck Berry guitar style and the midtempo beat of artists like Buddy Holly), doo-wop, skiffle and R&B. The genre provided many of the bands responsible for the British Invasion of the American pop charts starting in 1964, and provided the model for many important developments in pop and rock music, including the format of the rock group around lead, rhythm and bass guitars with drums. The Beat Of The Pops - excellent selection of beat tracks.
The score to Little Shop was written by Fred Katz. Katz, born in 1919, was a child prodigy on both piano and cello, but would become a well-known cellist in the Los Angeles music scene of the 1950s—the first really to take the cello into the jazz arena. He became part of the very unique Chico Hamilton Quintet and was both heard and seen in the film Sweet Smell Of Success. At some point in the late 1950s, Corman found Katz or Katz found Corman and the two collaborated on several films, including A Bucket Of Blood, The Wasp Woman, Ski Troop Attack, Little Shop, and Creature From The Haunted Sea. Katz’s score perfectly accompanies a film that is occasionally worthy of Ionesco in its surreal weirdness. In fact, Katz’s music is as much fun as the film—it’s funky, jazzy, beat, hipster music, with occasional horror touches, that will keep a smile on your face or conjure up wonderful memories of Seymour Krelboin, Gravis Mushnick, Audrey Fulquard, Burson Fouch, Wilbur Force, and, of course, the great Audrey Junior.
The Connies traveled to Memphis to record at Ardent Studios, where the Replacements and Big Star made great records, and their mix of Seventies Stones (but dirtier), the New York Dolls (but tighter) and Jerry Lee Lewis (but Westerberg-ier) comes with an extra sense of bare-knuckled grit and sonic thwump to fight against the darkness. "Revolution Rock & Roll" is a slamming gospel-tinged get-woke anthem, while the strikingly spare piano ballad "Montreal" evokes Big Star's "Thirteen" and Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," and turns on the lines "I gave conjunctivitis to a girl in a bar/I gave conjunctivitis like a star."
Afro-music continues to inspire a whole host of musicians, producers and DJs but even now the full picture of Afro-music in the 1960s and 70s is still far from being properly represented. Ghana Soundz Volume 2 goes some way to readdressing the balance.