In 1973, Eddie Kendricks diversified ever so slightly from social message funky soul to go a bit lush and Philly style for this album. That said, though, it still contains one superb piece of funk and several other subtle funky enhancements despite the overall ambience being one of string-backed slick soul. Compared to the two previous albums it lacks a little of their vibrancy and variety, but it was the most successful of the three, so there you go.
Can't Help What I Am is a delicious and once more very Philly-ish number, enhanced by those distinctive horns and more intoxicating cymbals. Building on the proto-disco vibe started on the previous album with Girl You Need A Change Of Mind came Kendricks' biggest hit - the invigorating and catchy Keep On Truckin', presented here in its full, unadulterated glory. Now, while I am confirmed fan of full-length versions, I actually feel that the single version served the song better, the longer version being ever so slightly incohesive. Maybe I am just used to the single version from the seventies. Either way, the song is great, packed with hooks, stonking wah-wah and clavinet, great funky percussion and a killer vocal. The "on the red-ball express" funky bit at the end is peerless.
The Thin Man/Tell Her Love Has Felt The Need/Son Of Sagittarius/Boogie Down/Hooked On Your Love/Honey Brown/You Are The Melody Of My Life/Trust Your Heart/Girl Of My Dreams/Loving You The Second Time
From 1974, this is arguably Eddie Kendricks’ finest solo album. It is a mixture of energetic funky soul and quality, laid-back ballads. The album is funkier in its first half than its second, but it is all fine fare.
The Thin Man is a fine piece of groovy funk, with Eddie’s trademark falsetto vocal to the fore, along with some fine clavinet-drum interplay. It is up there as one of his best solo funky numbers.
Tell Her Love Has Felt The Need is a lovely, warm, bassy love ballad to provide an instant contrast. A brooding, rumbling funk is back, however, on the cookin’ vibe of Son Of Sagittarius, featuring more of that typically mid-seventies keyboard-powered funky backing. Check out that deep drum sound too. I love that full sound - and the brass as well. Very seventies. As indeed is the album’s hit single - the Keep On Truckin’ sound-alike, Boogie Down. Like its predecessor, this track positively bubbles with funk. It is performed here in its full, seven minute plus extended version - lots of bongoes, sweeping and horns in the instrumental section. I can't get enough of these lengthy funk-soul numbers that Kendricks specialised in during this fertile period.
The overall funky ambience of this fine album continues on the uptempo but sexy Hooked On Your Love. A late-night romantic ambience arrives on the smooth soul of Honey Brown and You Are The Melody Of My Life combines a smoochy vibe with a bit of upbeat jazziness.
Trust Your Heart is a warm, attractive mid-pace serving of sublimely delivered soul. It is one of the album’s best cuts. Girl Of My Dreams is a soft, sumptuous ballad while Loving You The Second Time combines balladry with a slightly funkier edge, more brass than funk to be honest.
As I said, possibly his best solo album.
I Couldn't Believe It/Ordinary Girl/One More For The Lonely Hearts Club/Whatever You Got/Don't Know Why (You're Dreaming)/Family Affair/One Last Kiss/You Only Get What You Put Out/Goodnight Pillow
Daryl Hall & John Oates managed to get these two ex-Temptations together to record this little-known comeback album in 1987, long after they had left The Temptations. They also used the two of them to join in parts of their stage show on a Motown nostalgia slot. I used to own a long-deleted live album of that show and it was really good. (Actually it still exists, I'll get round to reviewing it - it's called Live At The Apollo).
Eddie Kendricks revered to his birth surname of Kendrick, without the 's' for this album and throughout the 1980s.
Anyway, this album is a long-forgotten soul rarity with some good stuff on it and it is great to hear them singing together again. Tragically, within five years, both of them would have passed away.
I Couldn't Believe It is a marvellous Motown-style stomper, led by Ruffin's mellifluous voice, backed up by Kendrick's falsetto. Both of them are sounding understandably older, but man, they've still got it, haven't they? The song has a killer saxophone solo too. The backing is slightly more eighties than sixties, but you can't help but bop along. It has a bit of feel of those "modern Northern Soul" records, recorded in the eighties to sound "Northern".
Whatever You Got is a solid slice of eighties soul funk, led by Ruffin, featuring some nice jazzy saxophone.The synthy backing is very eighties, though.
One Last Kiss is a delicious slice of sweet, harmonious soul. You Only Get What You Put Out is a cookin' pot full of funk with the two voices interacting perfectly. Once more I have to say that it is very eighties. Goodnight Pillow is a late night slushy number as you might expect.
Overall, this is a pleasant, quality soul album. It is nothing outstanding, though and is rendered a little important by its very synthesised eighties backing, but there is no denying the timbre of the voices. It is eminently listenable but certainly not essential.