The Spinners (UK band)
From left to right: Mick Groves, Tony Davis, Cliff Hall, Hughie Jones
|Labels||Philips Records, EMI Records|
|Past members||Tony Davis
The band began as a skiffle group with a mainly American repertoire, until they were prompted by Redd Sullivan, a seaman, to include sea shanties and other old English folk songs. They started out as The Gin Mill Skiffle Group, which included guitarist Tony Davis and washboard player Mick Groves. The group played the Cavern Club, Liverpool for the first time on Friday 18 January 1957, with The Muskrat Jazz Band and The Liverpool University Jazz Band. They played there on a number of occasions on Friday 24 May; Sunday 26 May; Wednesday 5 June; Wednesday 3 July and Friday 16 August 1957. They became The Spinners in September 1958. They founded a folk club in Liverpool, the 'Triton Club', but soon were performing in London at places such as 'The Troubadour'. Their first album, Songs Spun in Liverpool, was recorded by Bill Leader from live performances. In 1962 Peter Kennedy of the English Folk Dance & Song Society recorded an album with them called Quayside Songs Old & New. In 1963 Philips Records signed them, and they recorded eight more albums over the next eight years. They signed for EMI Records in the early 1970s.
They became popular by reviving some of the greatest folk music and singing new songs in the same vein. Although sounding like traditional English folk songs, some of their material was in fact composed by Jones, such as "The Ellan Vannin Tragedy" and "The Marco Polo". One of their best known songs, particularly in their native Liverpool, was "In My Liverpool Home", written by Peter McGovern in 1962. Cliff Hall also introduced traditional Jamaican songs to their repertoire. One of their albums was called Not Quite Folk.
One of The Spinners' most enduring hits is perhaps their rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". The song is performed in a light-hearted manner, with band members making humorous asides throughout.
They produced over forty albums, and made numerous concerts and TV appearances. In 1970, they were given their own television show on BBC One that ran for seven years. They also had their own show on BBC Radio 2. They retired in 1988, after thirty years together, although they led the community singing at the 1989 FA Cup Final and played some Christmas shows in the early 1990s. Some members of the group still perform, although Cliff Hall retired to Australia, where he died in 2008.
Their version of the Ewan MacColl song, "Dirty Old Town", was included in the Terence Davies' 2008 memoir/documentary of Liverpool, Of Time and the City. A biography of the group 'Fried Bread and Brandy-O' (the title of their signature tune) was written by Liverpool journalist David Stuckey (with a foreword by Pete Seeger) to coincide with their 25th anniversary, and published by Robson Books.
- Tony Davis (born Blackburn, Lancashire, England)
- Mick Groves (born Salford, Manchester, England)
- Cliff Hall (born Clifford Samuel Hall, 11 September 1925, Oriente Province, Cuba – died 26 June 2008, Adelaide, South Australia)
- Hughie Jones (born Liverpool, Merseyside, England)
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 520. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Cliff Hall URL accessed 4 October 2011.
- "Mike Groves's web-site". Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- Groves, Mick. "Mike Groves web-site". Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "Bill Harry's Sixties". Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "The Dead Rock Stars Club - January to June 2008". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 25 April 2012.