THE DETROIT SPINNERS; The Ultimate Collection (Music Club/Rhino)

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Music Club/Rhino end their 2011 ‘Ultimate Collection’ series with a thorough overview of the Detroit Spinners’ time at Atlantic. The group started as the Domingos in their native Detroit in the mid fifties but after a name change to the Spinners they found a deal with that city’s Tri-Phi label. The label was owned by Berry Gordy’s sister, Gwen and the fivesome sound found themselves pacted with her brother’s burgeoning musical empire. At Motown the Spinners were little more than second stringers and despite some great recordings (try ‘Sweet Thing’, ‘Truly Yours’, ‘I’ll Always Love You’ and their big hit, ‘It’s A Shame’) they quickly became disillusioned. With a new lead singer, the charismatic Phillipé “Soul” Wynne, they joined Atlantic in 1971 and teamed with writer/producer Thom Bell, their career took off spectacularly. They stayed with Atlantic till 1984 by which time the hits had started to dry up and after leaving that venerable old imprint they were left to play the oldies circuit.

This 2 CD, 31 tracker (with sleeve note from our very own Charles Waring) chronicles those wonderful Atlantic years. It’s stuffed with all the hits and a mix of memorable B sides and album tracks and it all proves that, in the case of the Spinners at least, a certain Mr. B Gordy got it awfully wrong. Cuts like ‘Ghetto Child’, ‘Could It Be I’m Falling In Love’ and ‘I’ll Be Around’ still sound fresh and vital while things like ‘Games People Play’ and their version of ‘Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You’ are consummate examples of the art of group harmony technique. Equally the music herein proves that Phillipé Wynne rightly deserved that “Soul” nickname. Listen to ‘Mighty Love’ and ‘Love Don’t Love Nobody’ to hear what I mean.

By 1979 Bell had relinquished control of the Spinners and new producers (like Michael Zager) took the group (now with new lead singer, John Edwards) in a lighter, poppier direction as witnessed by stuff like the cover of the Four Seasons’ ‘Working My Way Back To You’. Thankfully, though, the bulk of the music on this set focuses on the Thom Bell years and delight follows delight. You can share those delights too by winning a copy of the album in our Spinners Competition. Simply click onto to our news pages for the opportunity to win a copy of this album.

(BB) 4/5