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Album Review

The switch between lead singers presented its shares of woe. Whereas Philippe Wynne fit neatly in Thom Bell's production style, at this point Bell had no idea what to do with new lead singer John Edwards. Coupling that indisputable fact with the continuing decline of the songwriting, Spinners/8 isn't the most proficient album to come down the pike. Not everything's bad here, however. Bobbie Smith's playful lead on the well-produced "I'm Gonna Getcha" starts things off on a deceptively blithe note. With lyrics like "Count the days you can still run free" and "There's no escaping me now," stalking never sounded so mellifluous. While "I'm Tired of Giving" and "Painted Magic" are nonsensical retreads, the best parts of Spinners/8 had Bell tinkering with his style to accommodate Edwards' booming and all-encompassing vocals. Enlivened by Edwards' firepower and command, "You've Got the Love I Need" is on the track as he sings/shouts, "You've got me walking/Talking to myself." The charming and anachronistic "Heaven on Earth (So Fine)" is the only single release from this effort and later showed up on their 1991 anthology A One of a Kind Affair. While the Edwards-led "Back in the Arms of Love" and "Easy Come, Easy Go" are locked into the old style, the last track attempts a new sound. The synth-adorned ballad "Baby I Need Your Love (You're the Only One)" has smooth harmony and the minimal backing gives Edwards a great chance to vamp loudly near the end. Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good here, making Spinners/8 the most problematic album Bell produced for the group.


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, but...
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8, The Spinners
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