Producer/songwriter Thom Bell has justifiably been praised for helping draft and design R&B's legendary "Sound of Philadelphia," most recently on the Philadelphia International box set. But his finest songcraft may be here in this Spinners collection, turning a neglected Motown group into one of the mid-70s most consistent hitmakers.
Bell worked with the best ingridients. Phillippe Wynne's lead voice danced and testified around the melodies of "Mighty Love" and "One Of A Kind (Love Affair)," crooned atop the sparkling old-fashioned ballad "How Could I Let You Get Away," captured the stately, sweet family memory of "Sadie." (Could any song sound happier to hear or sing than 1974's #1 "Then Came You," or "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love?")
Bell had outstanding songs, many written with late partner Linda Creed, which poetically caught snapshots of 70s life ("Ghetto Child," the missed opportunities of "Games People Play." But most of all, Bell had unerring pop and R&B style sense; he arranged funny, funky, and silly (1976's #2 "Rubberband Man") or sparce and serious ("I'll Be Around," with its two distinctive, chiming intro guitar chords).
Released in 1978 at the height of disco and after Wynne boarded the Parliament-Funkadelic mothership, this Spinners collection misses several fine tracks ("Love Don't Love Nobody," "It's A Shame") which show up on 1991's later "One Of A Kind" 2CD anthology. Yet "The Best Of The Spinners" remains a reasonably-priced set recalling one of classic soul's underrated groups (and producers) at their collective best. Highly recommended.