Green Ginger first came together in the line up they still have today (Louis Robinson; John Finch; Richard Cowie; Chris Hartley) in the summer of
1970 when Louis introduced old school friend and former member of the Green
Ginger Trio with Louis, to John and Chris who he had started playing with
earlier that year.
However, it wasn’t until 1971, when Richard returned to Harrow from Leeds University that the combination became permanent and Green Ginger really started to build their reputation.
Louis, Richard and Eugenio Grandi had formed the Green Ginger Trio whilst at school (Salvatorian College in Harrow) and based their music on the Kingston Trio, although they also wrote some of their own material. The Trio broke up after Richard and Eugenio went off to University.
Before meeting Louis via a Pinner based youth group, John had been playing in a duo (The Thymes) with Paul Hooley. Louis agreed to join them and they also added singer Sheila Jaillet, (who they all agree had a most beautiful voice) in autumn 1968. Unfortunately Sheila decided to go to Germany to get married and the Thymes broke up in 1969.
Louis and John continued playing together and met Chris Hartley in 1969 through another youth group, but this time in High Wycombe. The three started to play and appear together regularly, having a two night a week residency at the Coach and Horses in High Wycombe. They reckon this was ‘one of the best rehearsal places ever’ and where they honed their skills of interacting with audiences. John recalls the basement bar of the Coach and Horse being large and originally only two or three people used to turn up to listen, but when they held their last performance there in 1970 over 200 people turned up to listen, join in and cheer them and it was standing room only!
1971 was the year their reputation began to take off with them playing at the Syon Park 'Feast of Folk' and the Eindhoven Festival in Holland. They also had a tour to Scotland and recorded backing music for the BBC series “America” with Alistair Cook.
Gigs at clubs, concerts and festivals around the country followed over the following years and they built their reputation and following throughout London and the South East in particular. They appeared with a wide range of performers of that time but regularly with Diz Disley, Fiona Stuart, Chris Newman and Chris Flegg.
They also performed frequently at The Troubadour (with Martin Windsor and Redd Sullivan) on Old Brompton Road and at Hendon Folk Club (with the Golliard).
They signed a recording deal with Polydor in 1972 although work on their album was hampered by power cuts during the miners strike of 1972.
After 1975, business careers and bringing up families started to take precedence and performances dwindled. Their last appearance was in Aldermaston in 1976. Louis moved to Atlanta and John to Manchester and for a long while they all lost touch.
However, a work colleague of Johns' heard of the band and knew Johns' fondness for those times. She managed to track down Louis in the US, get two CDs worth of music together and gave these (together with Louis email address) as a fantastic Christmas present.
John and Louis renewed contact and John visited Louis in Atlanta in 2008. They appeared and sang together at Raggamuffin Music Hall in Roswell, Atlanta. The search then started for Richard and Chris (and Chris Barker - who had been their sound man from the beginning) and fully reunited, they performed together in Bury in 2015.
Together again, the old spark is still there, they have new songs that Louis has written and they are ready to perform again, whenever (and wherever)they can!