The Spinners – 1967 – The Original Spinners

This was the Spinners’ first album. They previously recorded for Harvey & Gwen Fuqua’s Tri-Phi label but only released a handful of singles, and no LPs, from May 1961 to December 1962. The confusing title leads you to believe that the guys had been around the recording scene much longer.

 Bobbie Smith, Henry Fambrough, Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson, and Chico Edwards were the original Spinners. This LP is a collection of Spinners Motown singles and flips augmented by a few new tracks; unfortunately, none of the Tri-Phi sides are present. Bobby Smith leads every cut, he’s the lead on “I’ll Be Around“, the groups’ first Atlantic hit. Motown producers were not fond of Smith’s leads, surmising that his second tenor was too weak to sell a song. Light voice or not, he sounded glorious on the right material, especially “That’s What Girls Are Made For“.

Single releases “I’ll Always Love You” and “Truly Yours” were classic Motown concoctions, with witty lyrics, pounding beats, and arresting vocals; “Where Is That Girl“, the flip of “Truly“, would have done well as an A-side, as the guys never sounded better than they did on this lamenting ballad. A good update of “For All We Know” sounds delicious and made a wee bit of noise as a 45; likewise for “Sweet Thing“, where Bobby Smith’s vocal is awash in sentiment and unabashed romanticism. The fastest song here is “I Just Can’t Help But Feel the Pain“, an uptempo saga that features the high end of the Spinners’ harmony.

Grab this one if you can find it; for many, these are the real Spinners.

Tracks
A1 That’s What Girls Are Made For 2:57
A2 I’ll Always Love You 2:43
A3 Truly Yours 2:58
A4 For All We Know 2:53
A5 It Hurts To Be In Love 2:22
A6 Tomorrow May Never Come 2:27
B1 Sweet Thing 2:40
B2 I Cross My Heart 2:57
B3 Where Is That Girl 2:59
B4 Like A Good Man Should 2:15
B5 How Can I 2:38
B6 I Just Can’t Help But Feel The Pain 2:35

Review By mag1c_hands

Though they started their career in 1961, the Spinners weren’t afforded the opportunity to release an album until 1967’s “The Original Spinners”. Despite poaching Harvey Fuqua from their ranks as one of the bigger songwriter/producers, Motown seems like they couldn’t really be bothered with the Spinners. First of all, they were demoted to the VIP label (not even the Soul label, for goodness’ sake) after this album despite having a reasonable hit with “I’ll Always Love You“. Secondly, if Berry Gordy was truly focused on this group, you wouldn’t need an album title stressing the originality of their name because no other group would dare call themselves “Spinners” lest they be embroiled in legal red tape for the remainder of their careers. Ultimately, it’s been suggested that the group was too similar to the Temptations to be marketed properly, though that comparison holds little water. 

This isn’t necessarily a forgotten Motown album, though it is one that’s reasonably difficult to find, especially in glorious mono. Opening with debut Tri-Phi single “That’s What Girls Are Made For” is a charming, if grammatically egregious, touch. This is followed by the aforementioned hit single in all its glory. In fact this album is packed to the hilt with glorious prototypical Motown gems.

Highlights include “I Cross My Heart“, “Where is That Girl“, and the lyrically stunning “Truly Yours“, further emphasizing what a fantastic songwriter Ivy Joe Hunter was. This seems like one of those Motown albums, like David Ruffin‘s 2nd, Martha & the Vandellas‘ “Sugar & Spice”, and any Chuck Jackson, that would be highly sought after if more people had actually heard it and/or were aware of it.

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