Straight from the States
THE SPINNERS: Could It Be I’m Falling In Love (Atlantic).
I’ve heard a disturbing story that Philadelphia producers such as Thom Bell and Gamble & Huff tend to use the same singers on their sessions, and that the groups whose names are put to the results are merely salaried faces who go out on the road. It’s the sort of story that has always gone the rounds, and in the case of, say, the Stylistics it is obviously not true . . . BUT, it did come from a respectable and knowledgeable source.
Listening now to the Spinners’ latest Thom Bell-produced US Chart-climbing easy-beat semi-slowie I have cause to pause for thought: the Spinners were always a pretty anonymous group vocally – exemplified by the fact that it was they who did the infamous Motortown Revue impersonations in their old stage act, and mimic-in-chief Sammy Davis Jr. could hardly be said to have a distinctive voice when singing straight.
Now, I’ve always rated the Spinners higher then most . . . . uh oh, I’ve just remembered I should be calling them the DETROIT SPINNERS, sorry Liverpool Spinners . . . . ever since their “That’s What Girls Are Made For“, and I’m not prepared to have my dreams shattered just like that. The lead singer here is definitely the same as on “I’ll Be Around”, but he does happen to be backed up strongly by some chicks. Could it be that some of the background singing is not necessarily always by the named members of the groups? That would be reasonable, and to be expected. I hope that’s what does go on.
Oh, the record has a grow-on-you appeal, an Al Green type of tempo, and a subdued Thom Bell- arranged/conducted backing. Of course it’s good, no matter who’s singing. Oh dear, I wish he’d never told me, mutter mutter, mumble mumble groan. . .
ALICE COOPER: Hello Hurray; Generation Landslide (Warner Bros K 16248 ).
Which way will his fans jump on hearing this slow, studied and somewhat theatrical change of approach? Decidedly odd initially, but second or third time around the insidious melody catches on, so strong. Jerky flip about Million Dollar Babies has spunky punk protest lyrics.
THE BEACH BOYS: California Saga / California; Sail On Sailor (Reprise K 14232).
From “Holland”, where the change of air must’ve done ’em good: Al Jardine’s home-sick harmony-filled topside finds the boys back on classic middle period form – with sunny California subject matter, rolling “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds” rhythm, and all the vocal bits we love to hear – while the flipside wistful slowie is a bluesy beaut, too. Continue reading “February 10, 1973: The Spinners, Alice Cooper, Beach Boys, The O’Jays, Roy “C””