Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
British folk group with a higher than normal public profile because of radio and TV work; Cliff Hall was of Jamaican stock so they also had a multi-racial appeal. For many they represented the public image of British folk music with jolly and decidedly commercial versions of folk songs; nevertheless they introduced many to British folk music. They signed a three-year contract with Fontana mid-'60s, unprecedented as folk acts customarily recorded one-take albums in real time and were picked up and dropped at the whim of record labels. An anthology of songs associated to varying degrees with Merseyside, The Singing City included 'The Leaving of Liverpool', 'In My Liverpool Home', 'Dirty Old Town' and 'The Orange And The Green'. A commercial album The Family of Man '66 bemused critic Sydney Carter in his Gramophone review of the 'Teacher Lick The Girl' (a West Indian song); it would 'probably be played a lot; though what the words mean is almost anybody's guess' (lick was a Jamaican idiom for beat). The Spinners' Clockwork Storybook '70 was made in the presence of an enthusiastic audience of children from St Francis Primary School at Caterham and included 'Stop, Look And Listen', 'The Fox' and a cover of Pete Seeger's 'Abiyoyo'. The Spinners Are In Town that year featured 'Skye Boat Song', Ewan MacColl's 'Manchester Rambler' and songs from Hall's Jamaican background. David Stuckley's The Spinners — Fried Bread and Brandy-O! ('83, Robson Books) detailed their career and provided a discography to that year. By their demise in early '90s they were widely parodied, e.g. by Russ Abbott on TV. Their many albums were reissued on PRT and Philips, then CDs on EMI, MFP, Pickwick and Castle.
There was an American act called The Spinners who started out as a doo-wop group in Detroit; Harvey Fuqua sang lead on some of their early records. They had 38 entries in Billboard's black chart 1961-84, performing until early 2013. Bobbie Smith (b 10 April 1936, Abbeyville GA; d 16 March 2013, Orlando FL) was a founder member.