The Spinners at the Dakota Jazz Club 8/22/12
Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
It's interesting to note that Detroit's legendary soul singers, the Spinners have gone through 17 members in their 50-year history. Of the original five only three are still alive -- with Bobbie Smith and Henry Fambrough still actively performing and continuing to carry the Spinners torch of classic R&B hits the band has been known for since they first dropped their debut in 1957. Band stats notwithstanding, the Spinners as they are today delivered a rollicking set of hit after hit for two nights at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant.
Introducing the band, Lowell Pickett of the Dakota, admitted he had some hesitation before the Spinners came to town, "Honestly we didn't know how this would work out here. But it's been working fabulously. You are all in for a real treat."
Out the gate the stellar backing band that included Bobbie Smith's son, Rob, on guitar took to the stage with a fierce medley run through of virtually every song from their catalog. As an appetizer of sorts it set the frenetic mood for the evening allowing the Spinners themselves to approach the mics in their matching white suits delivering a well balanced helping of the band's most well known sweet soul singalongs.
Winning this reviewers heart over right away we lept out of our seats and turned the upper level of the Dakota into a dance floor for "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" and "It's a Shame" before the band simmered things down a bit for their version of Willie Nelson's "Funny How Time Slips Away."
"We're in the great state of Minnesota!" cried Smith as he introduced his band mates. "Are these your people Charles?" he asked singer Charleton Washington, who definitely carried the peaks and valleys of some of the Spinners patented vocal ranges.
Leading the crowd in some cheers the Spinners would dive into some between song shtick that lead Smith to tease singer Marvin Taylor, "I hope you wore tighty whiteys to hit the notes of this one." as the band broke into the timeless groove of "I'll Be Around."
With some of their sweet soul ballads "Sadie" and "Mighty Love" gave the singers and the audience a bit of a reprieve as the Spinners never stood still continuing their patented dance moves through the set.
With more introductions of the five-piece band that included some long-standing Spinners vets the band burst into snippets of other soul classics including some Sly and the Family Stone and "The Bird" from the Time.
"Who said the Spinners were old. We've been rejuvenated!" Smith proclaimed as they burst into an encore medley that weaved through Sam Cooke standards and back into their own "Then Came You" and ultimately "Rubberband Man" that included the rubberband props and a dance they have brought out for the signature song for decades now.
In all music like The Spinners doesn't really exist anymore. As R&B music has become more about marketing than the actual music it was refreshing to see stalwarts as themselves still at it and keeping these remarkable and memorable songs alive.
Critic's Bias: Just a plain old sucker for old school soul music and a chance to get my Spinners records autographed.
The Crowd: Packed to the rafters and often daring to get out their seats and get their groove on.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Look at those dance moves!!"
Random Notebook Dump: Timeless music can be sung by anyone and with the right stage show it makes for a super fun night of hits.
Could It Be I'm Falling in Love
It's a Shame
Funny How Time Slips Away
I'll Be Around
Having a Party
Then Came You
One of a Kind
They Just Can't Stop It(Games People Play)
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