The Spinners – in session on Soul! – NET-TV – January 13, 1973 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
The Spinners were a huge hit making machine all through the 1960s and 70s. Still together today, but with only one surviving original member, Henry Fambrough, The Spinners were finally inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame last year, some 50 years after their first hit.
Tonight it’s a live session from the NET (pre-PBS) TV series Soul!, which was one of the mainstays of Public televsion and one of the best live Soul and R&B shows on TV at the time. Soul! was different than most of the shows of this genre, because acts played live, not lip-synched to tracks – it offered a different version of hit song, but it added that spontaneity between artist and audience. And Soul! was a virtual who’s who of African-American talent being exposed, in some cases, for the first time on TV.
This session comes from January 13, 1973 and coincides with the release of what was to become one of their biggest hits of the 1970s, Could It Be I’m Falling In Love. In the short amount of time they’re on, they run through a sizable number of hits, starting off the It’s A Shame, and then doing their very first hit, That’s What Girls Were Made For, and going from there.
The problem with many of these shows is that they haven’t been preserved. Fortunately, this one has. But a goodly amount of live Soul and R&B hasn’t, and it constitutes a big gap in the musical history, particularly a live performing one. Groups like The Spinners were impressive hit makers, but they were also outstanding showmen, and being able to see/hear them go through a live performance only adds to their legacy. One we need to be reminded of often.