Monday, February 05, 2007

RIP Billy Henderson and Joe Hunter

The Spinners - Souly Ghost

Billy Henderson, long-time member of The Spinners, and Joe Hunter, one of the original Funk Brothers and an architect of the early Motown sound, passed away this weekend. Henderson was one of the harmony singers of the famed soul group, and he was a member of the group from its inception in the 1950s until his dismissal in 2004, unfortunately brought on by his litigation over the group's accounting. Joe Hunter's bluesy piano work appeared on a great many early Motown singles (he left Motown in 1963) and his easygoing charm made him a treasure in the documentary Standing In The Shadows Of Motown and with the newly-renowned Funk Brothers (as a matter of fact, Hunter had just returned from a tour of Europe with fellow Funk Brother Jack Ashford). May both of these gentlemen rest in peace.

In honor of Henderson I picked today's selection. Although The Spinners' fame largely rests on the group's Philly sides of the '70s for Atlantic (the lone exception being the 1970 Stevie Wonder-penned hit "It's a Shame," which ironically was released on V.I.P., a Motown subsidiary that was chock-full of the label's B-listers), some soul fans argue that the group's Motown material of the '60s is far superior, as the group's harmonies are in the forefront, as opposed to the '70s stuff (producer Thom Bell felt that the Spinners' sound was too bass-heavy, so their '70s hits featured female background singers and lush orchestrations that really drowned the group out). "Souly Ghost" is a nice up-tempo thing that finds G.C. Cameron testifying about his experience with soul while the group "hallelujahs" along and the Funk Brothers cook up a hot groove.


soulbrotha said...

Hey Jase,

None of the links are working! Que pasa?

The Stepfather of Soul said...

The links have been fixed for this and the Redemption Harmonizers track. Try it now!

soulbrotha said...

Thanks kiddo!

Hope all is well with you and yours.