The Spinners

2nd Time Around

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The Spinners' 2nd Time Around (1970) was actually their debut long-player for the short-lived V.I.P. subsidiary of Motown Records. The "Second Time" referred to in the title indicates the quintet's new direction, which was considerably funkier than the group's former R&B persona. The album likewise marked the final contributions of G.C. Cameron, who himself was the latest in a line of replacements that began when George W. Dixon made way for Edgar "Chico" Edwards in 1961. However, by the time the combo had become part of the Motown roster, Edwards' spot was filled by Cameron. The Stevie Wonder-penned "It's a Shame" became the Spinners' first Top 20 hit of the decade. It paved the way for the torrent of soul-pop crossovers that would follow with the arrival of Philippe Wynne in 1972 and the band's fortuitous collaborations with Thom Bell. There are definitely sounds and shapes of things to come throughout, including the effortlessly traded lead vocals on "It's a Shame," "(She's Gonna Love Me) At Sundown," and the testifying groove during "Souly Ghost." They also demonstrate their substantial harmonies on "Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music" and their particularly poignant blends on "Bad, Bad Weather (Till You Come Home)," "Pay Them No Mind," and especially the midtempo ballad "My Lady Love," which could be mistaken for the Temptations in their mid-'60s prime. "O-o-h Child" -- which the Windy City-based Five Stairsteps took to the Top Ten in June of '70 -- is given a distinctly Motown vibe, bearing the sonic earmarking of noted Hitsville U.S.A. arranger Paul Riser. "In My Diary" is a throwback to the Spinners of old, with a nod to their carefully crafted doo wop style and suitably matched string section. A further comparison to the vintage Temptations is inevitable as the Spinners' take of "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)" equals -- if not possibly surpasses -- David Ruffin's more familiar version, and students of the Motown sound should keep listening for Jack Ashford's propulsive percussion. 2nd Time Around closes with a medley of "Can Sing a Rainbow" and "Love Is Blue," a pairing that initially surfaced on the Dells' Love Is Blue LP, which they took into the Top 30 pop survey in June of 1969.

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