Funky music sho' 'nuff turns me on....
Released July 1972
After treading water somewhat with the previous year's Sky's The Limit and Solid Rock from the beginning of 1972, talented producer Norman Whitfield and a re-vamped Temptations were back with anther "psychedelic soul" classic album.
1. Funky Music Sho' Nuff Turns Me On
2. Run Charlie Run
3. Papa Was A Rolling Stone
4. Love Woke Me Up This Morning
5. I Ain't Got Nothin'
6. The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face)
7. Mother Nature
8. Do Your Thing
The album kicks off with the "fake live" sound of Funky Music Sho' Nuff Turns Me On, which s three minutes or so of rumbling funky soul. Run Charlie Run is a socially aware anti-racist song, that gratuitously and wryly uses the "n' word to make its point, played over a cookin' horn-driven backing. Up next is an absolute classic. A track that proved The Temptations were anything but finished, not for a while at least. Here you get the full twelve minute version. Papa Was A Rolling Stone has that intoxicating bass and slow burning funky orchestration of an intro before Dennis Edwards comes in with his legendary "it was the third of September..." opening line. Great stuff. Funnily enough, Whitfield first used the song with his other main group, The Undisputed Truth. Good as they were, this is the definitive version, no doubt about that.
The old "side two" began with Love Woke Me Up This Morning, an orchestrated soulful ballad. This was following the trend of these psychedelic soul albums of having the hard-hitting aware stuff on side one and the gentler, romantic offerings on side two. After the previous three, this lighter number sits a bit incongruously. I Ain't Got Nothin', while soulful in its sound, however, was a much darker, brooding song and far more typical of the group's output at this time. Their cover of Roberta Flack's The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face) is impressive and the yearning nature of the song suits the album. Mother Nature sees a return to a conscious, "message" number. It is a delicious, bleak slice of concerned soul with a sumptuous bass line and vocal. Do Your Thing is a slow tempo, funky and mysterious burner to end on.
The album obviously revolves around Papa Was A Rolling Stone but there are other notable contributions too and The Temptations showed, with this one, that they still had a couple of great albums left in them. The next, and last great one, would come the following year.