- The Washington Times - Friday, July 11, 2003

The Spinners

“The Chrome Collection”


Named after a hubcap, not a dance step, the Spinners dominated the 1970s with a sweet confluence of Detroit and Philly soul. They flooded the airwaves with such infectious and accessible hits as “I’ll Be Around” and “One of a Kind (Love Affair).”

“The Chrome Collection” (Rhino), a three-CD boxed set (retail $50), gathers the group’s chart toppers, rarities, and choice album cuts in a thoughtful and handsome package, much like the Spinners themselves.

Incredibly, the Spinners, hailing from Detroit, were considered a throwaway act by Motown records in the 1960s. Although the group impressed with flashy, fluid dance steps, versatile singing, and high style, the Spinners stood in the shadows of the Temptations and Four Tops. Underscoring this early period of the group’s career, disc one (1961-1974) features an overlooked but stunning Spinners rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “It’s a Shame.”

Motown’s indifference convinced the Spinners to seek greener pastures with Atlantic records. Adding sublime lead vocalist Phillipe Soul Wynne to the original lineup of Billy Henderson, Bobbie Smith, Henry Fambrough and Pervis Jackson landed the band a star-quality frontman in the vein of Marvin Gaye. By combining Mr. Wynne’s groovy tenor with producer/writer Thom Bell’s lush Philly-soul arrangements, the group’s sound quickly matured. Carefully crafted lyrics saturated with romance by Mr. Bell and songwriter Linda Creed enhanced the group’s sleek image.

Disc two (1974-1977) reflects the Spinners’ subsequent rise to the top of the charts, as the group out-hit “Hitsville, USA” (Motown) with classics “Mighty Love,” “Since I Been Gone,” “Sadie,” “Then Came You” and “The Rubberband Man.”

On disc three (1977-1989), minus Mr. Wynne (who jumped ship to pursue solo work), the Spinners continue to strike gold with the disco covers, “Working My Way Back to You/Forgive Me Girl,” and “Cupid/I’ve Loved You for a Long Time.”

At first glance, “The Chrome Collection” may seem merely an oversized and expensive greatest hits package. Yet it’s the lesser known, steamy, nocturnal selections such as “I Could Never (Repay Your Love)” and “Sitting on Top of the World” that heat up this set.

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