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Slick, soulful Spinners bring mighty love to the Dakota

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music Updated: August 23, 2012 - 2:37 AM

A few thoughts on the Spinners’ show Wednesday night at the Dakota Jazz Club:

• At this point in their 50-some-year career, the Spinners have become a slickly entertaining nightclub act with lots of jivey bits, smooth ensemble choreography and soulful harmonies.

Charlton Washington, the principal lead singer who takes on the parts that Philippe Wynne did in the 1970s heyday, was a wonderful combination of strong and soft at the same time. His voice was muscular yet pretty, his style pleading yet embracing. In short, he made the show.

• One of the only two original members in the quintet, Bobbie Smith, who sang lead on several hits including “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” was not in top vocal form. Singing his fourth show in two nights, he sounded tired, his voice not strong, his upper notes elusive. But his spirits were consistently high.

• The five-man backup band was tight and polished. Guitarist Rob Smith, son of Bobbie, took off on a feedback tangent at the end of the 70-minute set.

• Loved the Spinners’ sharp matching suits – white with dark pin stripes and short sleeve jackets, wiht black T-shirts underneath.

• The Sam Cooke medley of “Cupid” and “Havin’ a Party” was fine, but it’s frustrating when a group lumps so many of its own hits into a closing medley as the Spinners did for the encore of “Then Came You,” “One of a Kind,” “Games People Play” and finally “Rubberband Man,” the only one of those tunes that was offered in its full version.

• Highlights were the invigorating “Mighty Love,” the ballad “Sadie” and the buoyant “Rubberband Man,” all showcases for Washington.
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