The Spinners

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Live! Review

by Andrew Hamilton

Originally issued on vinyl and cassette, the Spinners' Live is much better on CD. The original was a foldout double-sleeve job with two vinyl disks. The worst tune, their campy rendition of George and Ira Gershwin's "Fascinating Rhythm," is track one. Maybe in person they spiced it with fancy choreography, but without any visuals, it's just blah. For some strange reason they omitted "I'll Be Around," which would have been a far superior opening track than the Gershwins' dinosaur. The excitement unfolds with "I've Got to Make It on My Own" from their latest studio album (at that point), New and Improved. They perform it with the ferocity of a new single; it wasn't, but the inspiring song should have been. Then comes siesta time again via Thom Bell and Linda Creed's unusual tempo "Living Just a Little, Laughing Just a Little"; the best way to look at that death march is to view it as the quiet before the storm of chartbusters, including "Then Came You," a theatrical "Sadie," and the swaying "How Could I Let You Get Away" (featuring imitations of Al Green, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding). They bust into "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," then traipse into a longer medley imitating everybody from Tom Jones to the Marvelettes. Philippe Wynne literally cries the lyrics in the icy rendition of "Love Don't Love Nobody" that follows, before the disk spins out with the energetic "Mighty Love." Live is a good, if not great, live album where the highs make up for the lows, but Wynne's performance makes it essential. It sold well, and fans began awaiting Live, Vol. 2 -- unfortunately, they still are. Despite good sales and more hits, the Spinners never did another live one.

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