The Spinners-While The City Sleeps.

Label: Kent Soul,

In 1964, The Spinners signed a seven-year recording contract with Berry Gordy’s Motown label, which the Detroit-based group would transform their fortunes. They had already enjoyed  two hit singles That’s What Girls Are Made For and Love (I’m So Glad) I Found You in 1961. Since then, commercial success had eluded The Spinners, but with the might of the Motown machine behind them they hoped that they would return to their hit making days.

Having signed to Motown, it wasn’t long before The Spinners entered the recording and studio and made their first recording for their new label. This was the first of 130 songs The Spinners recorded for Motown. However despite their recording such a vast amount of material, The Spinners only released six single and two albums. 

This includes their 1970 sophomore album 2nd Time Around which features on While The City Sleeps which was recently released by Kent Soul, an imprint of Ace Records. 2nd Time Around was the last album The Spinners released  and the last before Thom Bell transformed their career. That was all in the future. 

Motown’s new signing entered the studio to record their debut single Sweet Thing, When The Spinners released Sweet Thing , Motown had high hopes for the singe, but alas, it failed to trouble the charts. For The Spinners this was a huge disappointment as their search for a hit continued.

The search ended when The Spinners released I’ll Always Love You in 1965 and reached thirty-five in the US Billboard 100 and eight in the US R&B charts. The Spinners had their first American hit single in four years. Thing got even better when  I’ll Always Love You reached number seven in Canada. This was The Spinners first hit single in Canada, and it looked as  they were on the verge of a breakthrough. 

In 1967, The Spinners released their debut album The Original Spinners. It featured The Spinners’ 1961 debut That’s What Girls Are Made For and their hits I’ll Always Love You and Truly Yours.  These three songs were among the twelve soulful offerings that featured on The Original Spinners, which was released to plaudits and praise. Despite that, The Original Spinners failed to chart and to make matters worse For All We Know failed to trouble  the charts.

When The Spinners  released Bad, Bad Weather (Till You Come Home) in 1968, history repeated itself as the single failed to chart. By then, the members of The Spinners were struggling to make ends meet.

In desperate need of money, members of The Spinners sung backing vocals, swept studio and even performed as The Black Beatles. The Motown years weren’t the dream that The Spinners had hoped.

Things went from bad to worse in 1969 when In My Diary failed to chart. That meant that four years has passed since The Spinners last hit. As the sixties gave way to the seventies, The Spinners needed a hit single.

Three years after the release of The Original Spinners, 2nd Time Around  was scheduled to be released in October 1970 on Motown’s VIP imprint. 2nd Time Around featured singles like Bad, Bad Weather (Till You Come Home) Bad, Bad Weather (Till You Come Home) and In My Diary which were joined by songs from some of Motown’s top songwriters. Stevie Wonder who was friendly with The Spinners joined forces with Syreeta Wright and Lee Garrett to write It’s A Shame.  It was one of twelve songs on 2nd Time Around.

When The Spinners recorded 2nd Time Around it was with a new lead vocalist, CC Cameron. He and the rest of The Spinners were joined by Stevie Wonder who plays drums on, and produces It’s A Shame. He was one  of several producers who played their part in 2nd Time Around where The Funk Brothers accompanied The Spinners who had soon completed their sophomore album,

The Spinners released 2nd Time Around in October 1970, and watched the album scrape into 199 in the  US Billboard 200 and reach forty-six in the US R&B charts. Meanwhile, It’s a Shame reached fourteen in the  US Billboard 00 and reached four US R&B charts.  It’s a Shame also reached thirty-eight in Canada and twenty in Britain. This was no surprise given the quality of music on 2nd Time Around.

It opens with the hook-laden single It’s a Shame where CC Cameron is accompanied by harmonies, horns and strings as The Spinners set the bar high for the rest of 2nd Time Around. The quality continues on I’ve Got To Find Myself A Brand New Baby where lush dancing stings and tight harmonies  accompany CC Cameron’s emotive vocal. The bedroom ballad Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music features an impressive orchestrated arrangement as The Spinners’ sound evolves and matures.

Bad, Bad Weather (Till You Come Home ) with its claps of thunder, slapping drums and tight harmonies provide a backdrop for a needy vocal. Pay Them No Mind is good advice from The Spinners to lovers of all ages. It’s another beautiful  ballad with a heartfelt and emotive vocal. The balladry continues on the string drenched My Lady Love.

Souly Ghost finds The Spinners fusing funk, gospel and soul on what’s an irresistibly catchy uptempo track. O-o-h Child is another ballad with a soul-baring vocal form CC Cameron. In My Diary sounds like a reminder of another musical age as lush strings sweep as The Spinners combine elements of soul and doo wop, My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me) is a tale of love lost with a vocal full of despair and heartache. (She’s Gonna Love Me) At Sundown is an uptempo, vampish dancer. A medley of Can Sing A Rainbow /Love Is Blue and these two ballads close 2nd Time Around.

The Spinners’ 1970 sophomore album 2nd Time Around which features on While The City Sleeps which was recently released by Kent Soul, an imprint of Ace Records. 2nd Time Around is joined by ten bonus tracks on While The City Sleeps. They’re a welcome addition are among the 104  tracks that were never released during The Spinners Motown Years.

By 1970, The Spinners had matured and were a much better group than the one that had signed to Motown in 1964. The Spinners by 1970, were a tight and talented band who could seamlessly switch between ballads and uptempo tracks. However, The Spinners were at their best on ballads, especially with new lead singer CC Cameron breathing life, meaning and emotion into the lyrics on 2nd Time Around. It was The Spinners finest hour at Motown, and features  the best music they released for the Detroit-based label.

The Spinners-While The City Sleeps.



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