THE SPINNERS; Spinners (bbr)


Formed in 1955 as the Domingos, The Spinners began their music odyssey with a 1961 hit; the doo-wop flavoured ‘That’s What Girls Are Made For’. They cut the disc for Harvey Fuqua’s Tri-Phi label and when Fuqua moved over to Motown, the Spinners went with him. Sadly, for whatever reason, the Detroit quintet became second stringers in the Gordy empire and despite some great records (‘Sweet Thing’) and a couple of hits (‘I’ll Always Love You’ and the later ‘It’s A Shame’), they languished.

In 1972 they switched to Atlantic and very quickly serendipity stepped in to radically change their status. In their case serendipity was a certain hot record producer from Philly called Thom Bell. In the early 70s it seemed that everything Bell touched turned to gold and all the major labels courted him… including Atlantic. They asked Bell to produce one of their artists and to everyone’s surprise he rejected Wilson Picket, Donny Hathaway, even Aretha…. instead he opted to work with the Spinners! It seems that as a young man Thom was smitten by the singing on a certain doo-wop single, yes… ‘That’s What Girls Are Made For’! He loved the Spinners’ vocal blend and he was sure he could do something with them… and boy was he right!

The Spinners’ first Atlantic single was the sweet ballad ‘How Could I Let You Get Away’, but when DJs started to play the flip ‘I’ll Be Around’, the record flew up the charts, eventually hitting the R&B no 1 spot! The beautiful follow up ‘Could It Be I’m Falling In Love’ followed it to the top and Atlantic naturally wanted a full album… and it’s that remarkable long player that’s just won reissue on bbr.

Proper soul folk won’t need any introduction to ‘Spinners’. They’ll know it’s a masterpiece of group soul. One of those rare albums where everything works … songs, performances, production, instrumentation… the lot! It’s an essential item in any soul library but to make this reissue even more vital, the pack boasts 8 bonus cuts. These include four tracks that the Spinners recorded at Atlantic with Jimmy Roach prior to Bell’s involvement. Cuts like ‘I Wish I Could Sleep’ and ‘I Just Gotta Make it Happen’ are decent enough but they look back to the Motown sound rather than forward (the direction Bell took the Spinners in). You also get three respectful Mike Maurro mixes and the single edit of ‘I’ll Be Around’. Great to have ’em all and they add to the value of the release, but in honesty the original 10 tracker needs no embellishment.

(BB) 5/5