Front Page

The Best Tracks in 2014

CD Shop

Book Store

Search Content/Artists

New Releases

Forthcoming Releases

Back Issues

Serious Soul Chart

Quality Time Cream Cuts

Vintage Soul Top 20

Boogie Tunes Top 20

Album of the Month

CD Reviews

Editorial Columns

Discographies

Readers' Favourites

Top 20 most visited pages

Links




FULL CIRCLE FOR THE SPINNERS


  Fourth time lucky, at long last the Spinners were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in November 2023, after three previous unsuccessful nominations. The inducted members were Pervis Jackson, William Henderson, Bobbie Smith, Philippé Wynne, John Edwards and fortunately Henry Fambrough, who passed away only three months later, on February the 7th this year. He was the last original member of the group.

  Luckily, we can still enjoy Henry’s soft voice on the latest album by the group called Full Circle (Reservoir Recordings, RMM-590-2; https://www.reservoir-media.com/). In June 2023, Reservoir Media, Inc. announced the acquisition of the catalogs of four founding members, including the master royalty income streams for Henry, Billie, Pervis and Bobbie, and now this independent music company based in New York has released new music from the group.

  The current quartet consists of Ronnie Moss, Jessie Peck, CJ Jefferson and Marvin Taylor, and If you wish to read about their earlier careers, you’ll find their profiles through these links:

CJ (https://www.soulexpress.net/cjjefferson.htm)

Ronnie (https://www.soulexpress.net/deep7_2013.htm#ronniemoss),

Jessie (https://www.soulexpress.net/spinners09.htm) and

Marvin (https://www.soulexpress.net/deep409.htm#spinners).

BERNARD AND MAKI KOLEHMAINEN

  The producer, arranger and main writer of the songs on this set is Bernard Grobman, who has worked earlier – also as a guitarist – with such artists as Mariah Carey, Dr John, Arlissa, Mary J Blige and En Vogue. What instantly caught my eye was that on a lovely ballad named Totally Beautiful the credited writers are Bernard Grobman, Markho (sic) Juhani Kolehmainen, Tracy Lipp and Sandra Dovalo. Marko “Maki” Kolehmainen is a Finnish musician, who just passed away on June the 3rd at the age of 58.

  Ronnie Moss: “Bernard was the all-round producer of the CD. He was the one, who did the arranging of the songs and the music portion of the songs.”  Indeed, besides Bernard, the only other musicians are Steve Nathan on keys on the smooth Easy on Me and Tom Malone - who specializes on trombone and other horns - on the snappy After Hours. Among the rest of the composers there are Jessica Chertock, Zach Wilson, Jesse Blumenfeld, Formetta Gibson and the Penup Girls – Natalie Walker and Farrah Fleurimond. Ronnie: “They’re Bernard’s associates. I guess, they had songs that he wanted for us. Pretty much every writer on the album was probably 25 years old or younger. I enjoy the flavour of the songs this time.” The Penup Girls have written also for Jessie J and Monica, among others.

  On the set there are three catchy dancers: first the joyful and light toe-tapper called After Hours, which even has a Caribbean feel to it. The main lead on this song is Marvin. Dreamin’ Bout You is a quick-tempo floater, and here – as well as on a couple of other tracks – you can hear autotune being used. Ronnie: “Bernard did that to make it more today. Marvin starts that song out, and I’m doing the second vocal on that.” The third dancer is the fast and hooky My Angel Love. Ronnie: “That’s me leading on that song.”

EASY ON ME

  The first single release off the album was the soft and melodic mid-pacer called Easy on Me – followed by Rainy Saturday and After Hours - and here you can hear Henry’s voice from the very start. Ronnie: “I’m doing the second verse after Henry. That’s the only lead vocals he’s doing. He’s on about four backgrounds.”  I Can is another mid-tempo ditty.

  Rainy Saturday is a slow and romantic “mating call.” Ronnie: “CJ starts it out and I’m the second vocal. I have the higher voice.” Both U’re Not There and New Level are beat-ballads with a more contemporary r&b feel to them, and the pleading Hostage (Can’t Let You Go) and a slow serenade called Totally Beautiful round out Full Circle,which in terms of music style may bear a closer resemblance to the 90s r&b boy groups – e.g. Boyz II Men – than the 70s Spinners sound.

  Ronnie: “The last CD we did was more traditional, but I think on this one there’s some traditional - but it’s more today, and I really like it.” The preceding CD, ‘Round the Block and Back Again, was released in 2021 (https://www.soulexpress.net/deep3_2021.htm#spinners). Recorded in New York, the executive producer Paul Mathis, Jr. came up with the title. Ronnie:“He’s Henry’s cousin and he’s an attorney as well, and he named it Full Circle. I think he did it, because it’s more like we come back around from the start.”

  The four members of the Spinners have a quite busy schedule. Ronnie: “Charlton Washington retired almost four years ago, but every now and then he’ll come in to help us out if somebody can’t be there. We’re really booked. We recently did Disney, and we’re booked for the rest of this year… and the summer of next year already. We’re only in the US right now, but we have a couple of cruises coming up next year: Disco cruise and Soul Train.”

  It really was a pleasure talking to Ronnie and at the same time listen to the birds singing in his home garden. Ronnie: “Henry has blessed us to keep going and – since we got into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – we’re just keeping things as steady as they’ve been going through his blessings.”

https://www.thespinners.com/)

(Interview conducted on June 4, 2024; acknowledgements to Ronnie Moss).

© Heikki Suosalo


Back to Deep Soul Main Page
Back to our home page