required listening

CD Review

SPINNERS  -  While The City Sleeps

Kent Soul (UK) CDTOP371 481 (cd)

2ND TIME AROUND... It’s A Shame; I’ve Got To Find Myself A Brand New Baby; Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music; Bad Bad Weather (Till You Come Home); Pay Them No Mind; My Lady Love; Souly Ghost; O-O-H Child; In My Diary; My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me); (She’s Gonna Love Me) At Sundown; I Can Sing A Rainbow–Love Is Blue (medley); BONUS TRACKS... Mental Telepathy; Satisfaction Guaranteed; Sunshine Train; While The City Sleeps; I Can’t Let You Go; Your Sweet Love Is All I Need (Your Love Is Sufficient); Don’t Take Your Love Away I Can’t Stand It; That’s What Girls Are Made For; Gonna Keep On Tryin‘ Till I Win Your Love; Sadder Words Were Never Spoken; Just A Little Part Of Your Life; When It Starts To Rain It Pours; Why Don’t You Try It

Neatly following Kent’s earlier Spinners’ cd from their time at Motown - ‘Truly Yours - their first Motown album with bonus tracks’ (CDTOP 371) - this time it’s a combination of their second album, ‘2nd Time Around’, issued on the company’s VIP subsidiary in October 1970, again with bonus tracks, thirteen in all, ten of which are newly released while the other three have only been available as downloads.  The original album itself kicks off with ‘It’s A Shame’, the Stevie Wonder/Syreeta Wright/Lee Garrett composition which provided the guys with their biggest r&b hit under the Motown umbrella - #4 ‘Billboard’, #7 ‘Cashbox’ - and crossed the pond to deliver a #20 pop hit in the UK.  With songs like ‘I’ve Got To Find Myself A Brand New Baby‘ and ‘My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)‘ the Spinners found themselves reworking David Ruffin and even surrendering ‘Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music‘ to the post-Diana Ross Supremes, despite having been the first to record the song but in each case their quality versions prove that they should not have had to wait until a later signing with Atlantic to get their true desserts.  Other ‘borrowed‘ items include ‘O-O-H Child’, the Stan Vincent‘ number previously delivering the goods for the Stairsteps and the medley of ‘I Can Sing A Rainbow’ and ‘Love Is Blue’, previously a successful combination for the Dells.  The understandably doo-wop styled ‘In My Diary‘ first surfaced courtesy of the Moonglows in 1955 and, in the interim, provided a 1961 vehicle for Etta James.  The Spinners stay faithful in giving up their classy recording.  As Motown second-leaguers, promotion was limited - why else did ‘Bad Bad Weather (Till You Come Home)’, a strong mid-pacer, not make the singles charts?  Indeed, the guys were always kept busy in the studios - from fronting the mics to sweeping the floors! - thus the fresh set of bonus tracks on display here...  including the Tom Baird-penned ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’ and Edwin Starr’s ‘Just A Little Part Of Your Life’, a great pair of stormers - why was the latter not called ‘I Gotta Be Your Man’? - the mellower ‘Sadder Words Were Never Spoken‘, written by Ivy Jo Hunter and Mickey Stevenson and Hunter’s solo toe-tapper, ‘I Can’t Let You Go’.  Before he became Rick James, one Ricky Matthews joined Ronald Weatherspoon to write the pounding ‘Sunshine Train’, with some slightly unconventional keyboard arrangements; despite its 1969 recording date, Al Cleveland/Antonio Newton’s stomping ‘When It Starts To Rain It Pours‘ sounds more like a wondrous mid-sixtes Motown song and production while elsewhere the guys revive their 1961 outing, ‘That’s What Girls Are Made For‘ and make it sound like a whole new number.  Finally, the cd title track ‘While The City Sleeps‘, we are told by compiler/annotator, Keith Hughes, was a disappointment for group member, the late Bobby Smith, by being omitted from the first Kent set.  Things have now been rectified, by way of a remix from the original tapes and, boy, was it worth waiting for - the best track of the lot... and that’s going some!

review posted 27/9/18