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The Very Best of Spinners

The Spinners

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Album Review

The Spinners were rivaled only by the O'Jays as the greatest Philly soul group, and for that matter the greatest vocal group of the '70s. For listeners who don't want to dig as deeply as the excellent double-CD anthology One of a Kind Love Affair, Rhino's The Very Best of the Spinners is a stellar single-disc career summary that offers a concentrated dose of the group's sweet soul magic. It also serves as a primer on the best work of Thom Bell, Philly soul's "other" great producer besides the legendary Gamble & Huff team. Incredibly, every one of the 16 tracks here — culled from 1970-1980 — reached the R&B Top Ten, and half went all the way to number one on either the pop or R&B lists. As this collection demonstrates, the Spinners' massive popularity was well-deserved. Built around the magnetic leads of Philippe Wynne, their records were tastefully, elegantly romantic, full of adult heartache and longings as complex as the group's shifting harmonies. The compilers also license the pre-Wynne Motown hit "It's a Shame," co-written by Stevie Wonder, and include two disco-tinged medleys that returned the Spinners to the Top Ten for the last time at the close of the '70s. But the Wynne material is really the backbone of their output, and Thom Bell's gorgeous production frames his voice with just the right amount of sweetness. There's more to discover on One of a Kind Love Affair, but The Very Best of the Spinners is so solid from top to bottom that it's hard to argue with; one or the other is a necessary purchase for anyone even remotely interested in '70s soul.

Customer Reviews

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Where are tracks one and nine?!

Biography

Formed: 1961 in Detroit, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

The Spinners were the greatest soul group of the early '70s, creating a body of work that defined the lush, seductive sound of Philly soul. Ironically, the band's roots lay in Detroit, where they formed as a doo wop group during the late '50s. Throughout the '60s, the Spinners tried to land a hit by adapting to the shifting fashions of R&B and pop. By the mid-'60s, they had signed with Motown Records, but the label never gave the group much consideration. "It's a Shame" became a hit in 1970,...
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