This folk-based group from Lancashire, England was formed in 1975 by Tony Berry (b. Anthony Berry, 15 January 1950, Bolton, Lancashire, England; vocals), Norman Prince (b. Norman Anthony Prince, 26 April 1946, Eccles, Manchester, England; vocals, guitar), David Littler (b. David George Littler, 13 March 1949, Westhoughton, Lancashire, England; vocals, banjo, guitar, ukulele), and John Oliver (b. Appley Bridge, Wigan, Lancashire, England; vocals). They were the resident group at a number of venues in the north west of England, but within 12 months, Oliver left the group. He was replaced by Denis Littler (b. Westhoughton, Lancashire, England; bass, vocals), who himself left in February 1984. Jeff Hill (b. Jeffrey Martin Hill, 14 September 1958 Warrington, Lancashire, England; vocals, bass, guitar) joined the group the same month. A featured spot on a BBC television series, We’ll Call You, in 1977, led to the group receiving their own television series, Sit Thi Deawn, which started in January 1978. In addition, the group’s popularity on radio has enabled them to hold down five series of their own show on BBC Radio 2, with a new series being recorded early in 1992. As a result of success in pantomime, the Houghton Weavers now regularly tour at Christmas under the banner of the Christmas Cracker Tour, playing 20 dates in 24 nights. Keep Folk Smiling was released to coincide with the group’s 10th anniversary. Given the depth of popularity that the group command, it is surprising that they are not better known nationally.
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