Ritchie Barton, one of the original Cunard Yanks, is appearing at Formby Bookshop, Chapel Lane, Formby this coming Saturday, November 10th, between 11am and 12 noon, to sign copies of his new book ‘Drifting & Dreaming’, a collection of Mersey Memories.

The Cunard Yanks was the title given to the boys of the Merchant Navy who travelled from Liverpool to New York on the great ocean liners in the 1950’s and brought back home clothes and records that people in war-torn and rationed England had never seen.

Ritchie was just 16 in 1949 when he first went to sea. Whilst in New York, he used to hang out in the jazz clubs that flourished in the city in the 50’s and 60’s and eventually became the American correspondent for the Jazz News, meeting the legendary musicians of the time like George Shearing, Miles Davies, Gene Krupa, etc.

Back in Liverpool, he frequented dance halls like the Rialto, The Grafton and New Brighton’s Tower Ballroom. 

Now long retired, Ritchie lives in Liverpool with Helen, his wife of over 50 years.

‘Drifting & Dreaming’ contains over 100 memories and poems that Ritchie wrote during his seafaring years as he travelled round the world. Ever a romantic, he paints a fascinating picture of the times.

The book is also available at Broadhursts Bookshop, Market Street, Southport.

By Ron Ellis

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