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The Temptations|Puzzle People

Puzzle People

The Temptations

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Both The Temptations and producer Norman Whitfield were at the top of their form with 1969's Puzzle People, which captures the group in the midst of their rock-influenced "socially conscious" period. While the lead-off cut, "I Can't Get Next To You", was a potent R&B dance-floor filler, elsewhere the album was dotted with "relevant" tunes such as "Message From A Black Man" (not nearly as militant as it sounds), "Don't Let The Joneses Get You Down", and the "life-in-prison" epic "Slave", complete with plenty of fuzztone and wah-wah and enough panning to make George Clinton dizzy. But while the material and the production is a bit dated, Whitfield and his crew certainly caught The Funk Brothers on a great run when they cut these sessions, with the musicians blending the swagger and confidence of rock with a soundly funky undertow and chops to spare. And as for the Temptations themselves, if new lead vocalist Dennis Edwards lacked the elan of David Ruffin, he had power to spare, and the group's harmonies and shared vocals found room for both smooth precision and streetwise grit. While short on hits past the opening track (and padded with well-executed but hardly essential covers of "Hey Jude" and "Little Green Apples", Puzzle People is still the work of a great vocal group firing on all cylinders and getting inspired support in the studio, and it's one of the group's strongest late-60's efforts.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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Puzzle People

The Temptations

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1
I Can't Get Next To You
00:02:54

The Temptations, MainArtist - Barrett Strong, ComposerLyricist - Norman Whitfield, Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1969 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Hey Jude
00:03:31

John Lennon, ComposerLyricist - Paul Mccartney, ComposerLyricist - The Temptations, MainArtist - Norman Whitfield, Producer

℗ 1969 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Don't Let The Joneses Get You Down (Single Version/Mono)
00:04:44

The Temptations, MainArtist - Barrett Strong, ComposerLyricist - Norman Whitfield, Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1969 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Message From A Black Man (Stereo)
00:06:02

The Temptations, MainArtist - Barrett Strong, ComposerLyricist - Norman Whitfield, Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1969 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
It's Your Thing
00:03:13

The Temptations, MainArtist - Ronald Isley, ComposerLyricist - RUDOLPH ISLEY, ComposerLyricist - Norman Whitfield, Producer - O'Kelly Isley Jr., ComposerLyricist

℗ 1969 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Little Green Apples
00:03:45

Bob Russell, ComposerLyricist - The Temptations, MainArtist - Norman Whitfield, Producer

℗ 1969 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
You Don't Love Me No More
00:02:35

The Temptations, MainArtist - Barrett Strong, ComposerLyricist - Norman Whitfield, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Rodger Penzabene, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1969 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Since I've Lost You
00:02:42

The Temptations, MainArtist - Barrett Strong, ComposerLyricist - Norman Whitfield, Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1969 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Running Away (Ain't Gonna Help You)
00:02:48

The Temptations, MainArtist - Barrett Strong, ComposerLyricist - Norman Whitfield, Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1969 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
That's The Way Love Is
00:03:20

The Temptations, MainArtist - Barrett Strong, ComposerLyricist - Norman Whitfield, Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1969 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
Slave
00:07:28

The Temptations, MainArtist - Barrett Strong, ComposerLyricist - Norman Whitfield, Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1969 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

Both The Temptations and producer Norman Whitfield were at the top of their form with 1969's Puzzle People, which captures the group in the midst of their rock-influenced "socially conscious" period. While the lead-off cut, "I Can't Get Next To You", was a potent R&B dance-floor filler, elsewhere the album was dotted with "relevant" tunes such as "Message From A Black Man" (not nearly as militant as it sounds), "Don't Let The Joneses Get You Down", and the "life-in-prison" epic "Slave", complete with plenty of fuzztone and wah-wah and enough panning to make George Clinton dizzy. But while the material and the production is a bit dated, Whitfield and his crew certainly caught The Funk Brothers on a great run when they cut these sessions, with the musicians blending the swagger and confidence of rock with a soundly funky undertow and chops to spare. And as for the Temptations themselves, if new lead vocalist Dennis Edwards lacked the elan of David Ruffin, he had power to spare, and the group's harmonies and shared vocals found room for both smooth precision and streetwise grit. While short on hits past the opening track (and padded with well-executed but hardly essential covers of "Hey Jude" and "Little Green Apples", Puzzle People is still the work of a great vocal group firing on all cylinders and getting inspired support in the studio, and it's one of the group's strongest late-60's efforts.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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