Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The Four Tops - Soul Spin (1969)


Released in 1969


1. Look Out Your Window
2. Barbara's Boy
3. Lost In A Pool Of Red
4. Got To Get You Into My Life
5. Stop The World
6. Nothing
7. This Guy's In Love With You
8. Light My Fire
9. Honey
10. The Look Of Love
11. California Dreamin'

This was a low-key album release from The Four Tops, in that it contained no hit singles, and was quite "serious" in mood, tapping into the prevalent social consciousness trail-blazed by The Temptations. Indeed, the opening track, the ecologically-aware "Look Out Your Window" is very much like The Temptations in its sound and vocal delivery. Frank Wilson, who also went on the produce The Supremes, was at the controls. He injected a Norman Whitfield-influenced awareness into proceedings.

"Barbara's Boy" is more of a "Bernadette"-style Motown number. However, it touched on the sensitive subject of paternity rights. "Lost In A Pool Of Red" is another hard-hitting number with a killer bass line and, as always a towering Levi Stubbs lead vocal. It has a huge, pounding drum sound too. It seemed every Four Tops album had to contain a Beatles cover. Here, it was "Got To Get You Into My Life", saved by Stubb's vocal. "Stop the World" is more of a Motown stomper, but with a message. The Tops were getting more like The Temptations by the day. Thus far, at least.

"Nothing" is a Smokey Robinson song, again with an authentic Motown feel. and that huge bass line again. This is as far as the Motown material went on the album, the same applied to the socially aware stuff. It was "easy listening" covers all the way now - Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's in Love With You" and "The Look Of Love"; Bobby Goldsboro's lachrymose"Honey"; The Doors' "Light My Fire" and The Mamas And the Papas' "California Dreamin'". all immaculately sung, of course, but pretty inessential. They are nowhere near as good, or as credible as the old "side one" of the album. The Four Tops had continued the trend of putting out an album of a really solid side one and a side two of cheesy covers. They had "previous" on this. 1966's "On Top" was guilty of the same thing. As a completist, I have this album for the side one tracks, but I wouldn't recommend it for anything other than a serious hardcore Motown aficionado.


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