When I started writing a piece on The Spinners, I was shocked at how little material there is on the web. I thought that all their material would be available on CD and there would be lots of information and links – I was wrong, and this is something that isn’t right because The Spinners are up there with The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners and The Corries, in that the impact they had, not just on the folk scene but on Britain in general, was deep and lasting.
Through their many TV appearances they introduced folk music to millions of people who would otherwise never have heard it, and brought dozens of folk songs back into the folk song canon.
Nowadays, their approach to their craft might seem somewhat dated – they wore matching shirts and were produced in something of a showbizzy way for their BBC TV series – but it’s wrong to judge them from where we are standing now. They ran a great folk club in Liverpool for years and produced a magazine called Spin that ran for years and featured articles, interviews and songs, both traditional and contemporary.
They made more than 20 albums and a rake of singles, EPs and compilations, and made popular songs like Maggie May, Seth Davy, In My Liverpool Home, The Leaving of Liverpool, Ellen Vannin and Whip Jamboree. Many of their albums are out of print now, which is a shame because they, like Lonnie Donegan, were an inspiration to thousands of young and aspiring singers, writers and musicians.