Monday, 24 June 2024

CyberSoulMan: The Spinners Stimulus Package

T. Watts at the KPFZ microphone. Courtesy photo.


Longevity has its place…

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

April 3, 1968

Many of the “Old Masters” in popular music have infused their career by the inclusion of younger players in their ensembles.

In Jazz, Art Blakey and Betty Carter always had a rotating cast of younger players in their respective bands. In the Funk realm, The Ohio Players, led by Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner and James “Diamond” Williams similarly keep their funky edge by adding new players who weren’t even born when the original music was recorded. Those are just a few examples of a widespread practice in the music biz. There is no shame in it.

The amazing vocal group the Spinners performed here at Robinson Rancheria Saturday night, May 16. Original member and lead singer on the classic hit “That’s What Girls Are Made For,” Bobbie Smith quipped on stage that they have their own stimulus package. Then the group went to work proving that point to the people.

Along with co-original member Henry Fambough, Smith has added young lions Charleton Washington, Spike Delong and Jessie Peck. The Spinners continue to present a dazzling show that features great choreography and great voices rivaling the diverseness of the legendary Temptations.

The backing band, The Spinners Ensemble kicked off the show at 8:10 p.m with a 10-minute instrumental medley of Spinners hits. The vocal ensemble hit the stage at 8:20 p.m. and launched immediately into “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love.” From the outset it was obvious the group still has great polish.

Working their way through many of there hits including “It’s A Shame,” “I’ll Be Around,” “Working My Way Back To You,” “Sadie” and “Mighty Love.”

Many of you connoisseurs of Spinners music know that several of the aforementioned tunes were recorded with the late, great Phillipe Wynne singing lead. I’m here to tell you that young lion Charlton Washington channeled every nuance of Wynne’s delivery. The crowd didn’t mind at all. In fact, they went wild when Washington came off the stage and into the crowd to dance with two different fans.

Founding member Bobbie Lewis was given a standing ovation after performing one of his signature songs.

Spike Delong did a great Sam Cooke medley and the group left the stage to thunderous applause. When they came back for an encore they had been on the stage well over an hour.

They concluded with the great hit “Rubber Band Man” and used giant rubber bands as props in conjunction with special effect lighting to dazzle the senses of the crowd. They finally left the stage again to another thunderous ovation after having been on the stage well over an hour.

Your CyberSoulman was able to secure a great interview with the group after the show – about the history of the Spinners including their stints with Motown and Atlantic Records – which will appear in next Sunday’s column. See you right here next week. Thanks for sharing your Sunday morning coffee with me.

Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts.

T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at

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