Tuesday, 9 October 2018

The Temptations - With A Lot O' Soul (1967)


  

Released July 1967

This is a proper Motown album. Unlike albums from The Four Tops and Diana Ross & The Supremes from the same period, it contained no "filler" in the shape of easy listening, Beatles or Monkees covers. It was comprised of all bona fide Motown songs from either Holland-Dozier-Holland, Norman Whitfield, Smokey Robinson or various combinations of these and a few others.

The songs are great - the punchy soul of "(I Know) I'm Losing You", the pulsating groove of "Ain't No Sun Since You've Been Gone", the upbeat typical Motown sound of "All I Need" combine to kick the album off to one superb start. The stereo sound is wonderful and the backing from The Funk Brothers is peerless as always. "(Loneliness Made Me Realise) It's You That I Need" is an uplifting, little-mentioned but infectious number. Paul Williams takes lead vocals on "No More Water In The Well", a track that acts as a precursor for the "psychedelic soul" that the group would put out over the 1968-73 period. The seeds of their "conscious" brand of soul were being sown here, of that there is no doubt.

Eddie Kendricks' falsetto is superb on the catchy, lively "Save My Love For A Rainy Day". Material like we have had on this album so far confirm why The Temptations have always been my favourite Motown group. Yes, I love The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Martha & The Vandellas and Diana Ross & The Supremes but The Temptations were so special. Just listen to David Ruffin on "Just One Last Look". It is soul that just lifts you higher. As indeed is "Sorry Is A Sorry Word". One great song after another.

The hit single, "You're My Everything" with Kendricks back on lead vocals has a singalong, irresistible refrain. “Now That You’ve Won Me” and “Two Sides To Love” are both typical Temptations soul on which the vocals are just outstanding. “Don’t Send Me Away" is a late fifties-influenced crooner to end this excellent soul album from one of the greatest pure soul groups of all time.

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