2,000 Scousers Sing
Liverpool's Biggest Group
By Bill Harry
September 17 1964
Liverpool's biggest group has recorded - and their sound is available on both an LP and single (which has entered our charts this week).
The group can be heard on the flipside of THE SPINNERS' current release, 'Dirty Old Town'
Says TONY DAVIS, leader of THE SPINNERS: "'Dirty Old Town', which doesn't refer to Liverpool, by the way, was a studio recording, but the flipside, 'Phil-Mi-Oorlay', otherwise known as 'Paddy Works on the Railway', was recorded at one of our concerts at the Philharmonic Hall and has 2,000 Scousers singing on it.
"On the same day the single was released, we also had a live LP released which was recorded at our first Philharmonic concert. When we sang 'I Wish I Was Back In Liverpool' - 2,000 Scousers sang the chorus - they must be the biggest Liverpool group in the country! On the LP we also sang 'Maggie May' - which must be the National Anthem of Liverpool."
Tony, NICK GROVES and myself settled in a local pub to have a noggin or two and discuss the Spinners.
Six Years Old
"The group started six years ago this month," said Tony, "but both Mick and I were originally active in the skiffle days. As THE GIN MILL SKIFFLE GROUP we were resident group at the Cavern on Skiffle Night. We were the first major skiffle group on Merseyside and played the Liverpool Empire, the Palace, Manchester, the Central Pier, Morecambe, and many other places. In fact, we were very successful in those early days and were 'going like a bomb.'"
Mick Groves continued the story, "When electric guitars came in - we went out. To us, skiffle was a kind of Folk and the electric guitars brought in a foreign element and we didn't think it suited Folk.
"There was a six-week period in no-mans-land before we started THE LIVERPOOL SPINNERS. Tony contacted an old friend of his - CLIFF HALL, and also had his sister JOAN and his wife BERYL in the group.
"STAN FRANCIS was also associated with the group at that time, but he left shortly afterwards to concentrate on making 12-string guitars.
"HUGHIE JONES came in then and we built up from there."
Tony said, "And it's just gone on. We've had 30 television appearances, over 40 radio broadcasts, three LPs, an EP and two singles. We've appeared on all the BBC services - Home, Light, Third and Overseas, been on BBC Television numerous times, sang at the Royal Festival Hall three times, the Albert Hall once, and have been on major concert halls throughout the country as well as in the Beat clubs!
The Spinners have long been acknowledged as this country's leading Folk outfit and have a really strong following on Merseyside.
Their second Philharmonic Concert, which took place last week, is similar to the first in that it was a sell-out days before the event.
The group's first single, 'Maggie May', entered our charts - and we feel that their current disc has the potential to enter the national charts.
Editor's Note: The town referred to was Salford. The Spinners remained Britain's leading Folk outfit for over a quarter of a century, right until their retirement.
The Folk scene in Liverpool was an active one, just as the Country Music and Black Music scenes, along with the Poetry scene added to the diversity of the Mersey musical landscape as a whole, although the media attention on the Mersey Sound tended to overlook the other musical contributions.