The Spinners: The foursome trekked on without vocalist Pervis Jackson during their Aug. 22 State Fair performance. MATT MUMAU PHOTO
And while the four remaining Spinners
who entertained in their canary-yellow suits kept the mood light for
their 75-minute set, they also acknowledged their loss in a pre-show
dedication and during the energetic show. With able backup from the
Spinners Ensemble, Keith Ferguson and William Wooten on keyboards, Ray Burton on bass, Ronnie Smith on guitar and the deceptively nonchalant David Brandon
on drums, as well as brass work by the State Fair Band, the Spinners
kept the throng happy with such classics as “Could It Be I’m Falling In
Love,” “I’ll Be Around,” “Working My Way Back to You” and “Mighty Love.”
Working a small medley of Sam Cooke
songs into the mix—the group’s rendition of “Cupid” resulted in a minor
hit for them—gave tenor Harold “Spike” DeLeon a chance to
impress with the purity of his voice (and his Michael Jackson
flashdance pumped up the fun even more). “We’re Having a Party” and
“Sugar Dumpling” made their way into the set list as well.
In fact, three of the four Spinners were in fine voice—especially relative newcomer Charlton Washington on “Sadie”—while veteran Bobbie Smith
(father to guitarist Ronnie) faltered a bit, most notably on “Mighty
Love.” But “Rubber Band Man” provided an apt final song, complete with
enormous rubber bands the singers tugged and pulled while Washington
sang away. The crowd loved it.
Vocals-centered rhythm’n’blues groups
like the Spinners are especially dependent on the musicians who back
them up, and the solid quintet did not disappoint. Their instrumental
prelude—a revue of the Spinners’ greatest hits—both reminded the crowd
of the songs they were about to hear and provided a chance to enjoy
their expertise without vocals getting in the way.
If anything could have topped the
afternoon show, it was the outfits the Spinners donned for the 8 p.m.
affair. Plum suits with glitter galaxies, planets and moons sent the
group into outer space, and for several hours they took the crowd with