These were released by Folkways Records. Spence played a steel-string acoustic guitar, and nearly all of his recorded songs employ guitar accompaniment in a Drop D tuning. The power of his playing derives from moving bass lines and interior voices and a driving beat that he emphasizes with foot tapping. To this mix he adds blues coloration and calypso rhythms to achieve a unique and easily identifiable sound. He has been called the folk guitarist's Thelonious Monk. The Richard Thompson fan club produced a benefit tribute album to Spence and the Pinder Family, Out on the Rolling Sea.
It featured a variety of artists covering songs from Spence's repertoire. His recording of "That Glad Reunion Day" was used in the 2004 film Open Water and also appears on its soundtrack CD. His unique vocal stylings on "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" may be the definitive version of that song, according to Tom Schnabel of KCRW's Weekend Becomes Eclectic show and John Kelly of RTÉ Radio 1's Mystery Train show. Mike Heron of The Incredible String Band credited Spence as the inspiration for the "Lay down, dear sister" passage in A Very Cellular Song on 1968's The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. Curiously, Spence credited Heron with the same song, claiming to have learned it from the ISB. Read more on Last.fm.
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