ARTIST: The Spinners
YEAR RELEASED: 1973
CHART ACTION: #14, #1 R&B
SINGLES: How Could I Let You Get Away (#77, #14 R&B), I’ll Be Around (#3, #1 R&B), Could It Be I’m Falling in Love (#4, #1 R&B, #11 UK), One of a Kind (Love Affair) (#11, #1 R&B), Ghetto Child (#29, #4 R&B)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Half the album were singles, for good reason.
LINEUP: Billy Henderson, Bobby Smith, Phillippe Wynne, Henry Famrbrough, Pervis Jackson with Thom Bell’s session players (MFSB).
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Soul vocal group leaves Motown after several years of getting the leftovers from all the groups on that label, and strikes it big with Thom Bell and his Philly sound combining soul with orchestral arrangements.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Motown was a tough place for artists who weren’t on the favored lists. The Spinners were one of those unlucky ones. While they had talent, they couldn’t break through. They had just two top 10 R&B hits from 1965-1971, getting maybe one or two releases a year, and making just two albums (none in print – a compilation will be reviewed later).
Signing with Atlantic and working with Bell, they had five R&B smashes, including the brilliant “I’ll Be Around”, which was originally just a B-side.
When that song was flipped, the group took off. They became stars, and this album climbed the charts. It’s quite worthy of its place. All 10 cuts work, from the slow pleaders to the more uptempo cuts. The backing by MFSB is very soulful, yet works well with Bell’s orchestration. Vocally, the Spinners also fit quite well in this style. They finally found a home with Bell.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: There was a bit of a kerfuffle about lyrics on “One of a Kind (Love Affair)”. While it’s a very smooth soul song with lead vocals by Wynne and Smith, some people ‘heard’ the word ‘fuck’instead of ‘hug’ so Atlantic re-issued the single cutting out that line. The version streaming is the original version – and it’s plain that it’s “hug.”
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A-: It’s one of the best R&B albums of the era, and a great introduction to the Philly sound.