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Soul - Released July 1, 1972 | Motown

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Soul - Released January 1, 1971 | Motown

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Eddie Kendricks said so long to The Temptations on this early-'70s album, with the glorious "Just My Imagination" being his swan song. The song that everyone missed was their lengthy, imaginative version of "Smiling Faces Sometimes," which wasn't a huge hit for them, but became a smash for The Undisputed Truth. Although they were successful with Damon Harris replacing Kendricks, things would never be the same. ~ Ron Wynn
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Soul - Released January 1, 1969 | Motown

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Best known for their silky soul vocals and smooth-stepping routines, the Temptations were firmly entrenched as the undisputed kings of Barry Gordy's Motown stable when cutting-edge producer Norman Whitfield walked into the studio and announced that it was time to shake things up. The resulting freakout became the first half of the stellar Cloud Nine, an album that would become one of the defining early funk sets, with songs that not only took Motown in a new direction, but helped to shape a genre as well. On one side and across three jams, Whitfield and the Temptations would give '70s-era funk musicians a broad palette from which to draw inspiration. The title track, with its funky soul bordering on psychedelic frenzy, was an audacious album opener, and surely gave older fans a moment's pause. Only two more songs rounded out side one: an incredibly fresh take on "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," which jazzed up the vocals, brought compelling percussion to the fore, and relegated the piano well into the wings, and "Run Away Child, Running Wild," an extravagant nine-minute groove where the sonics easily surpassed the vocals. After shaking up the record-buying public with these three masterpieces, the Temptations brought things back to form for side two. Here, their gorgeous vocals dominated slick arrangements across seven tracks which included "Hey Girl" and the masterful "I Need Your Lovin'." Funk continued to percolate -- albeit subtly -- but compared to side one, it was Temptations business as usual. It was this return to the classic sound, however, which ultimately gave Cloud Nine its odd dynamic. The dichotomy of form between old and new between sides doesn't allow for a continuous gel. But the brash experimentation away from traditional Motown on the three seminal tracks which open the disc shattered the doorway between past and present as surely as the decade itself imploded and smooth soul gave way to blistering funk. ~ Amy Hanson
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Soul - Released May 4, 2018 | UME Direct

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On their first studio album in eight years, the Temptations revert to covers, as they did with multiple full-lengths earlier in the 2000s. This time, the group, still led by lone original member Otis Williams, selects mostly contemporary material. They do so with mixed results, excelling with imaginative takes on Maxwell's "Pretty Wings," Sam Smith's "Stay with Me," and John Mayer's "When I Was Your Man," pouncing on the opportunity to accentuate the latter's allusion to the work of Motown peer Marvin Gaye. A busy version of Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time" involves ill-fitting elements like "Papa Was a Rolling Stone"-evoking handclaps and gleaming synthesizers, while the Weeknd's "Earned It" is a creative risk not worth taking. "Waitin' on You" is the best of the few originals, easily mistakable for a (cleaned-up) take on a Jaheim hit. With each cover choice popularized by a solo artist, the set is a subtle reminder that vocal groups are nearly extinct. ~ Andy Kellman
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Soul - Released January 1, 2014 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released January 1, 1969 | UNI - MOTOWN

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
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Soul - Released January 1, 2003 | Motown

Two big changes happened for the Temptations in 1968. First, they parted ways with David Ruffin and brought in former Contour Dennis Edwards as lead vocalist. Edwards brought a rougher-edged soul sound to the group with his raw vocals. Secondly, they decided that the world of music was changing and they were standing still. The group went to producer Norman Whitfield and asked for a song that was more in tune with the volatile and psychedelic times. Whitfield came back with the incredible, layered, dense, and still funky "Cloud Nine," the song was a smash, and a new, more progressive era of the Temptations began. The double-disc Psychedelic Soul chronicles the best moments of the incredible union between Whitfield's forward-looking and innovative writing and production and the Temptations' incredible voices. The record picks up the big hits like "Cloud Nine," "I Can't Get Next to You," "Psychedelic Shack" (here in a previously unreleased extended version), "Ball of Confusion" (also here in a previously unreleased extended version), "Masterpiece," and "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone." It also fills in the gaps with a lot of album tracks from records the Temptations made between 1968 and 1973. Some of the highlights are the gripping "Slave," the funky "Hum Along and Dance," the very long and dramatic version of the Undisputed Truth's hit "Smiling Faces Sometimes," the hard-rocking "Ungema Za Ulimengu (Unite the World)," and the dubby, freewheeling "Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On." By the end of disc two, the group slides toward Philly soul, albeit with an angry, political outlook especially on the heartbroken "Ain't No Justice" or the vitriolic "1990" from 1973. This is a well-selected disc that is a fitting testament to the talents of Whitfield and a stunning example of a band reinventing itself. Of course, it is also great funky dance music -- supercharged, psychedelic funky dance music, some of the best music Motown (or anyone) produced in the late '60s/early '70s. ~ Tim Sendra
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Soul - Released January 1, 1980 | Motown

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Soul - Released October 30, 1970 | Motown

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Soul - Released March 6, 1970 | Motown

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Soul - Released January 11, 2005 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released June 1, 1966 | Motown

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Soul - Released January 1, 1980 | Motown (Capitol)

Struggling to rekindle the magic that kept them atop the charts, the group was, for the most part, missing in action on this album. Nonetheless, the five vocalists did hit the charts with the title track, "Power." The single is groomed around a poppin' bassline that's blended with Melvin Franklin's natural bass. Glenn Leonard, Dennis Edwards and Richard Street share lead on the single, which peaked at #11 on the Billboard R&B charts after 13 weeks. In spite of its ranking, the single is not as worthy as some of the group's other songs of comparable ranking. An honorable mention is "Isn't the Night Fantastic." With Richard Street out front, the Tempts groove their way through this inviting track. "Shadow of Your Love" has a tendency to deviate from its original feel, as do some of the other selections, but "Go For It," also a ballad, stays its course with Leonard on lead. The group's vocal skills remain keen. ~ Craig Lytle
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Soul - Released June 1, 2018 | Rhino Atlantic

When The Temptations left Motown in 1977 the group weighed offers from Warner Bros. and Philadelphia International before settling for Atlantic. The album seemed doomed from the start. Temptations lead Dennis Edwards had already left the group and was replaced by Louis Price. This album was released in late 1977 and was a fixture of the cutout bins by the early '80s. Ron Baker, Norman Harris, and Trammps member Earl Young, collectively known as Baker-Harris-Young, produced this album. They were known for their grittier variant of Philly soul/disco but often they play it too safe here. The fact that The Temptations did their vocals in New York rather than Philadelphia does diminish the Philly credentials a bit. The two singles from the album, "Think For Yourself" and the bittersweet "In a Lifetime," are the best at mixing The Temptations' with the Baker-Harris-Young production style. The ballads led by the smooth baritone of Louis Price, "Can We Come and Share in Love" and "Let's Live in Peace," also display the rich harmonies in this particular lineup. Unlike other efforts, Hear to Tempt You features all of the members getting a lead vocal. "I Can Never Stop Loving You," with bass Melvin Franklin, is a melodic ballad that gives Franklin a rare romantic lyric. Hear to Tempt You was released shortly before Baker-Harris-Young began to update their sound. This effort lacks the confidence of late '70s like-minded albums from The Trammps and Eddie Kendricks. Fans of both The Temptations and the Philly sound may find this an imperfect alliance. ~ Jason Elias
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Soul - Released April 13, 2018 | UME Direct

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Soul - Released January 1, 1975 | Motown

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Soul - Released July 17, 1967 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released May 4, 2018 | UME Direct

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Soul - Released July 1, 1972 | UNI - MOTOWN

A monster album, the one that put them back in the spotlight and signaled that Norman Whitfield had saved the day. Damon Harris had replaced Eddie Kendricks, and there were many doubters convinced the band was finished. Instead, Whitfield revitalized them via the majestic single, "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone." Despite its length, Whitfield's decision to open with an extensive, multi-layered musical suite and tease listeners was a master stroke. By the time Dennis Edwards' voice came rushing in, no one would dare turn it off. The single, as well as "Law of the Land" and others, ended the funeral arrangements that had been prepared for the Temptations. ~ Ron Wynn
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Soul - Released January 1, 1973 | Hip-O Select

Even as the name projects the vocalists some 17 years in the future, 1990 (1973) clearly offers up the unmistakable sound of the early-'70s Temptations. At this point, the lineup boasted founding members Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin alongside David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks' respective replacements, Dennis Edwards and Ricky Owens. The most recent recruit, Richard Street, had taken his cues from Paul Williams in the summer of 1971. The concurrently modern sound of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" filtered into 1990. The primary difference being the instrumental support, now consisting of an amalgam of the Funk Brothers and members of the Los Angeles-based Rose Royce ("Car Wash") aggregate. The results were a favorable mix of compelling singles, such as the R&B chart-topper "Let Your Hair Down" as well as a pair of additional Top Ten entries with the resplendent "Heavenly" and the wah-wah funk fest "You've Got My Soul on Fire." As they had done on the unedited version of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and more recently the title track of their previous effort, Masterpiece (1973), the Temptations stretch out with the extended social commentary "Zoom." The organic pondering groove rises from a cacophony of spoken dialogue as the trippy soul interplanetary vibe perfectly aligns with the celestial lyrics. Norman Whitfield's string score supplies some nice atmospheric touches throughout and appropriately concludes his decade-plus association with the band. Although not as strong as its predecessor, 1990 climbed to number two on the R&B countdown and made its way into the Top 20 pop survey. Sadly, its success was clouded by the suicide of co-founder Paul Williams in August of 1973. It would be over a year before the band would release their follow-up, A Song for You -- a considerable span compared to the downtime between any of their previous long-players. ~ Lindsay Planer