’64 “Ringo/Beatles” Ludwig Black Oyster 20,12,14. Cavern Club, Liverpool, Blackwells, London. HISTORY!! $18,995.00

’64 “Ringo/Beatles” Ludwig Black Oyster 20,12,14. Cavern Club, Liverpool, Blackwells, London. HISTORY!! $18,995.00

Now here is a set with a pretty fascinating history. This Ludwig Black Oyster pearl “Downbeat” set was purchased by Roy Little in England in early 1964, just as The Beatles were exploding into worldwide stardom. Little was the drummer in The Blackwells, a popular Liverpool band working Merseyside clubs like The Cavern and The Peppermint Lounge that The Beatles would eventually turn into historical landmarks. While it’s unlikely that Little with his Black Oyster Ludwigs ever played the same show as Ringo Starr and his nearly identical Black Oyster Ludwigs, it’s not unlikely they would have crossed paths as the two drummers navigated the jumping Liverpool club scene.

The Blackwells achieved a hit record with their song Why Don’t You Love Me on Columbia Records. In 1965 they were featured in the film Ferry Cross The Mercy. In the film The Blackwells perform their hit song, but the real star of the film is Little’s Black Oyster Ludwig set. The set got it’s 15 minutes of fame, featured in a scene set in the window of a local Merseyside music store, in front of Gerry Marsden of Gerry and The Pacemakers.
Roy Little, along with the other Blackwells rode the Merseyside wave through the late 1960s. At that point Blackwell packed his beloved Black Oysters into their cases where they remained undisturbed until just a few years ago, discovered by his daughter.  It’s clear that Little cherished his prize Ludwigs. They’re in extraordinary condition, showing only the slightest signs of 5 years of being hauled around the stages of The Cavern Club and every other Merseyside rock club.
One of the many fascinating things about this set is it’s 100% completeness. Every piece of the set, just as Little played it, remains. In addition to the Black Oyster Ludwigs, there’s a pre-serial # Ludwig 5×14 Supersensitive snare, a complete set of Zyn cymbals, a complete set of Ludwig and Premier hardware as well as the complete set of cases that so faithfully protected this set for 6 decades.
Another fascinating aspect of this set, are the similarities to the set that Ringo Starr was playing with The Beatles during the same period.
The similarities go far beyond the identical 20″, 12″ and 14″ Ludwig Black Oyster shells. Both drummers chose a snare drum other than the 4×14″ Downbeat model that would have come stock with their Downbeat sets. Ringo opted for his now legendary matching Jazz Festival model, while Little embraced a 5×14″ Supersensitive model. Both drummers used a combination of Ludwig and Premier hardware. They both used the same Ludwig Speed King bass pedal and flat based hi-hat stand along with a Premier model 245 drum throne, although Little mercifully updated his seat top with a thicker cushion model. Both drummers used Premier cymbal stands, however Ringo eventually transitioned to Ludwig stands. Little played a complete set of Zyn cymbals while Ringo played at least one Zyn cymbal for most of his Beatle days.
These two sets paint a pretty clear picture of the drum gear that was available to English drummers in the early 1960s. English made Premier drums were the most popular and readily available, while American made Ludwigs were rare and highly coveted. Ringo began his tenure with The Beatles on a complete set of Premier drums and hardware, then continued using much of the Premier hardware long after receiving his Ludwigs. The English made Zyn cymbals that both drummers used were a popular and lower priced alternative to the scarce and more expensive American made Zildjians.
Taking this idea one step further, it’s possible both sets were purchased at the same London drum shop. The now legendary story of Ringo purchasing his Black Oyster Ludwigs at London’s Drum City drum shop is well documented. Based on the similarities in date, size, brands and color, plus the fact that Drum City was the top drum shop in England, it’s not unreasonable to speculate that both sets could have been purchased at Drum City.
The set is in excellent condition, with the only notable damage being some snare rash visible on one section of the 12″ tom and some visible pitting on the snare drum. The photos depict the condition of the set accurately.
Ludwig Drums, original Ludwig heads top and bottom.
20×14″ bass, serial #26206
14×14″ floor tom, serial #26349
12×18″ tom, serial #26212
14×5″ SuperSensitive chrome snare, No serial #.
(I have 2 original 1960s Black Oyster Jazz festival snares available separately)
Zyn Cymbals
14″ hi-hat pair, 16″, 18″
Premier Hardware
2x cymbal stands, snare stand, model 245 throne.
Ludwig hardware
Speed King bass pedal
Model 1123 hi-hat stand
Complete set of cases.
Also included is Roy Little’s collection of Merseyside music scene relics including his original Cavern Club pin, The Blackwells Why Don’t You Love Me single, a Peppermint Lounge business card and a couple 1960s English beer coasters, one of which he had ingeniously taped to his bass drum as a makeshift impact pad. The set includes a letter of authenticity signed by Roy littles daughter.
The set will ship from England.

Ferry Cross the Mersey (1964) - IMDb

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