Spinners bring hits to Hempstead Hall
HOPE, Ark.—With roots stretching back to the late 1950s, The Spinners made their name as one of the greatest R&B and soul acts of all time with their stylish moves and sweet, on-point harmonies.
Now, The Spinners work their way back to our area for a concert Saturday, Feb. 25, at Hempstead Hall. Show time is 7 p.m.
These Detroit icons and a world-famous quintet scored big in the 1970s on Atlantic with such hits as “Working My Way Back to You,” “I’ll Be Around” and “Could it be I’m Falling in Love.” Singer Henry Fambrough is the lone original member still with the group, which started out as The Domingoes and recorded on the Tri-Phi label before working several years under Motown guidance.
The biggest Spinners hits came when they moved on to Atlantic, and it’s those hits that The Spinners will largely perform when they come to Hempstead, says Fambrough.
“We’re still doing the regular show that we’ve been doing for years,” Fambrough said this week, noting they found over the
years that it’s what the audience wants to hear, those songs the fans know at home.
As the lone survivor from the original days, Fambrough now works with performers who are younger than he is. Back in the group’s heyday, he was joined by Bobbie Smith and Philippe Wynne on lead vocals. But with the newer singers, he’s found performers who are plenty capable of carrying on The Spinners illustrious name and legacy.
“I kind of miss my guys, but as they said, the show must go on,” Fambrough said, noting of his fellow younger Spinners now, “They’ve got the energy like we used to have.”
It was Harvey Fuqua at TriPhi who co-wrote their song “That’s What Girls Are Made For,” the band’s first hit. As a producer, he helped the band get the harmonies right, recalled Fambrough. Fuqua was, for a time, married to Berry Gordy’s sister. Gordy founded Motown, which eventually acquired TriPhi.
When they went on to Atlantic, The Spinners worked with producer Thom Bell, and it was under his guidance that the quintet really took off, the group turning out chart-toppers like “Ghetto Child” and “Rubberband Man.”
“As I say, the rest is history after that,” Fambrough recalled of pairing with Bell. He sang with Dionne Warwick for one mid-1970s song, “Just As Long As We Have Love” from the “Pick of the Litter” album.
“We traveled with Dionne before we recorded with her,” Fambrough recalled, noting they’re still friends today.
He also remembers that Smith, before he died, urged Fambrough, during a “Soul Train” cruise, to keep on with The Spinners. And so he has for the group, which is still based out of Detroit. With the band’s microphones, the suits and the harmonies, people attending the Hempstead Hall show will see and hear what they expect of The Spinners.
“Everything that we did over the years is transported to the new guys,” Fambrough said of the show, which runs 75 to 90 minutes.
As for him, he still loves the feeling of getting to a venue and finding it’s sold out.
“Just about every place we go we’re selling out our shows,” he said. “That’s a compliment in itself.” It can’t be beat, and he still enjoys performing and enjoys the audience.
It’s been a while since they’ve been through this area, but he’s looking forward to being back around and hopes people get to hear their Spinners faves.
“The Spinners are coming and we’ll still be doing what we’ve been doing over the years,” Fambrough said.
(Tickets: $65, $45, $35 and $20. For tickets and more info, visit HempsteadHall.com or call 870722-8565.)
n The Spinners.