Britains most popular folk group (after you-know-who)!
The Leesiders and Helena Shapiro
The Leesiders was an extremely popular British folk duo that was active in the sixties and early seventies.
The Leesiders started out as a folk group in their own club over a pub in Birkenhead, a town in the borough of Wirral in Merseyside. Throughout they years, the group had several different constellations, but the heart of the group was always the dynamic duo Bob Buckle and Peter Douglas.
Bob Buckle was a former watchmaker who had been playing guitar since he was 16, and Peter Douglas (also known back then as Pete Douglas) had been seeking adventure on the sea as well as with the circus before the two of them decided to start a folk group. Bob played five-string banjo, Peter played the mandoline and both of them were great guitar players and vocalists.
Their programme included songs from America, Russia, Israel, Africa and all parts of England as well as a fund of local songs. Apart from that, they also played their own arrangements and composed songs, amongst others the highly popular song “Flower Power” (or “You Can Be A Hippie Too”) written by Peter Douglas in 1967.
The Leesiders traveled all parts of the British isles and a lot of European countries. By the time of recording “The Way of The World” in 1966, they were a professional duo and were regular contributors to several BBC Radio shows. They were also regular guests on several TV programs.
Their recording of “The Way of the World” is a rarity, being originally included on the now highly collectable Folk Scene magazine compilation album from 1966.
In 1968, they recorded their first own record for Johnny Haynes’ Ash Records in Birmingham. It was a six track mono EP. The success of the EP was followed by two stereo LPs, the self-titled “The Leesiders” album in 1970 and “Travelling On” in 1971. At that time, The Leesiders was quoted to be selling “copious amounts of albums” on their travels. Today, all the Leesiders albums are collectibles and can be found on sites like ebay and Amazon if you are lucky.
In 1971 Bob and Peter decided to break up The Leesiders and pursue solo careers. But before they did that, one last album, “The Best of Buckle and Douglas” was published by EMI Records.
Bob Buckle is still singing, playing and recording. Peter Douglas is retired, but can be seen doing a guest appearance once in a while at special occasions.