LegenDARy Artists: The Spinners

By @SpeedontheBeat

The Spinners are one of my favorite classic soul groups. However, and I'm being honest here, I usually look to them more for their classic singles ("I'll Be Around," "Rubberband Man," "I'll Be Around," etc.) than the digging in the crates stuff. That's mainly because they're just that amazing, vocally. However, since we're talking how legendary the supergroup is, I want to focus on a few lesser-known tracks (and some old favorites) and showcase that, even on the unfamiliar songs, The Spinners showcase some of the best music from there era. So, this one will be a bit different from my other LegenDARy Artists pieces.

For starters, let's look at 1965's "I'll Always Love You." It's one of their Motown-era tracks, which is heard especially through the instrumentation. However, even with the (at times) constraints of delivering a Motown-friendly track, The Spinners managed to let their own soul seep into the track. The doo wop-meets-soul harmonization and "pleading," and the lyricism of the song put it above and beyond some songs of a similar nature. It's not perfect; the chorus can get a bit boring. However, the song, overall, is a classic.

Next up is 1970's "It's a Shame." Featuring lead vocals by the legendary-in-his-own-right G.C. Cameron, "Shame" is my favorite Spinners song. Biases aside, the immediately-recognizable introduction sets up for Cameron and the rest of the group to speak on adultery and misused love. The group's strength lies in the fact that they're not afraid to, in modern terms, simp over lovers. They don't hide the fact that they need the love of the woman they're speaking of/to in songs such as "shame." However, they honestly speak on the screwed-up nature of some of the events they get into. Plus, the song features instrumentation by Stevie Wonder. If that's not enough to make you say "damn, this group deserves all my attention," I don't know what is.

Some may not know this, but "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" was originally a Spinners song from the Cooley High soundtrack. Again featuring G.C. Cameron on lead, the organ-led song feels more emotional than the Boyz II Men version. That's saying a lot, as the Boyz II Men version is one of my favorite Boyz II Men songs. 

The Spinners' version features piano instrumentation, organs, and an overall more spiritual feel. With Boyz II Men, I feel like I'm obviously going through, like, a funeral or a traumatic event. With the Spinners' version, I feel that sadness, but still hope. That could also very well be because this version feels more like I'm being taken to church. It's emotional, it's a bit over-the-top with the horns coming in on the last chorus, but it still gives me feels that the Boyz II Men version doesn't.

Now, in 1989, The Spinners weren't exactly setting the world on fire. However, their release from that year, Down to Business, features a smooth baby-maker by the name of "Can I Depend On You." Elements of smooth jazz and 80's R&B run wild in this track and it's one of those "they've still got it" tracks. Furthermore, it just makes you want to grab your lover, look them in the eye and say "baby, I love you. Let me know how much love is there" or something like that. 

In closing, The Spinners, as potential Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, are quite deserving of their status as one of the greatest groups to ever come to fruition. 


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