Live: Riverboat Shuffle, MV Royal Iris, River Mersey

This was the first of four appearance by The Beatles aboard the MV Royal Iris, a River Mersey ferry commonly known as The Fish And Chip Boat.

The events, known as Riverboat Shuffles, were put on by Ray McFall, owner of the Cavern Club. A variety of entertainers normally appeared, to attract the widest possible audiences.

On this occasion The Beatles were second on the bill to headliner Acker Bilk, trad jazz clarinetist, and his Paramount Jazz Band.

The boat used to go down the Mersey a bit and out in the channel and The Beatles did our interval spots. They wore black leathers and I liked the tunes they played. I was quite impressed to be steering the boat as the captain gave me the wheel whilst The Beatles were playing.
Acker Bilk
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh

This Riverboat Shuffle lasted for over three hours, and began and ended at the Pier Head in Liverpool. Other such events at which The Beatles played all took place in 1962, on 6 July, 10 August and 28 September.

Acker’s drummer was Ron McKay, who came from Liverpool, and he said that I could use his drums. I thought nothing of it but when we got on stage, I found that it was set up wrong for me as he was a left-handed drummer. I frantically rearranged them and we played all night. It was a great night as the cabin at the back of the stage was crammed with beer and we had a great drinking session with Acker and his band.
Pete Best
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh
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