Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Aug. 15, 2003
The SpinnersThe Chrome Collection (Rhino) Does the world really need a box set from the Spinners? For sure, the vocal group had hit after hit in the Seventies, and jammin' oldies standards like "It's a Shame," "I'll Be Around," "One of a Kind (Love Affair)," and "The Rubberband Man" are all contained on the 3-CD Chrome Collection. Beginning with the group's Motown roots as a doo-wop act, the set takes off when the Spinners signed to Atlantic Records and began working with famed Philly-soul producer Thom Bell. From 1972-1976, when Philippe Wynne was their lead singer, the Spinners had 14 Top 40 singles, five of which went Top 5. This, however, isn't really enough to build a box set around. Some tunes are historically significant, like 1961's "That's What Girls Are Made For," which features Harvey Fuqua (best known as a member of the Moonglows) on lead vocals, and the original version of "Living a Little, Laughing a Little," with its innovative arrangement. Overall, though, there's a little too much formula among some of the group's lesser-known tracks, and by disc three, which has them entering the disco era, the fluff is overwhelming. As disco became more popular, some vocal groups, like the O'Jays and Four Tops, adjusted their sound and remained vital. With John Edwards serving as Wynne's replacement, the Spinners' vocal mix remained lively and infectious, but the original material, like the bombastic "(Love Is) One Step Away" and glossy yet vacuous "Body Language," is second rate. There were also covers of pop tunes, from the likes of the Four Seasons, the Carpenters, Sam Cooke, and Al Green, which produced a couple of hits, yet today, those end up sounding less than inspired.