First Listen: Classic soul man Spyder Turner takes a "Rocket"

(July 4, 2021) A short time ago, SoulTracks lit another birthday candle for veteran underground soul stylist and Apollo Show winner, Spyder Turner.  While most of his career has been underappreciated, the West Virginia born, Detroit native had the ultimate career highlight with the ‘star studded’ cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” in 1967 that charted Top 3 on the Billboard R&B charts.  And those mind-boggling imitations of Sam (Cooke), Smokey (Robinson) and even King deserved much applause. 

(July 4, 2021) A short time ago, SoulTracks lit another birthday candle for veteran underground soul stylist and Apollo Show winner, Spyder Turner.  While most of his career has been underappreciated, the West Virginia born, Detroit native had the ultimate career highlight with the ‘star studded’ cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” in 1967 that charted Top 3 on the Billboard R&B charts.  And those mind-boggling imitations of Sam (Cooke), Smokey (Robinson) and even King deserved much applause. 

But that tour de force aside, Turner put together an intriguing resume ranging from his 1978 recording salute of Motown’s genius Norman Whitfield with the ST reviewed - Is It Love You’re After: The Whitfield Years (1978-1980) and as a co-writer with Whitfield for a top 5 disco/R&B smash, “Do Your Dance” by Rose Royce.  And Turner keeps his soulful chops fresh performing with some of Detroit’s finest such as Dennis Coffey and Johnny Trudell.

In Spyder Turner’s latest return to the studio, First Listen welcomes the self-released “Rocket to the Moon.”  Turner’s voice is still sharp and sounds great, even as the production and arrangement choices are more of a mixed bag.  The intro begins with promise in a sweet vocal adlib.  However, from time to time, the vocal tracks are mistimed, and Turner’s steady lead sometimes gets muddled with the overwhelming keyboards.  As the song progresses, a gospel atmosphere takes over which helps the mood.  And a gentle layering of vocals provides a decent climax.  It is always good to hear a longtime favorite return, and Soul Trackers can give “Rocket to the Moon” a hearty listen. 

By Peggy Oliver

Spyder Turner - "Rocket To The Moon"

 

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