Back to Front – The Temptations (2007)
November 15, 2007
This is the first Temptations album I have purchased since 1975’s gem “Song For You”. Before that the last Temptations album I had purchased was Eddie Kendricks’ last with the group – 1971’s “The Sky’s the Limit.” You see when Sweet Eddie left the group I was just shattered. I pretty much gave up on The Tempts. But my Dad remained a Tempts fan though out his entire life.
In 1972, Daddy bought and played for me “All Directions”. I listened and must admit I liked it- especially “Do Your Thing” and Dennis’ lead on “Papa was a Rolling Stone”. But when I heard Damon singing “Love Woke Me Up This Morning” I can recall almost crying telling Dad that should have been Eddies’ song! It was a beautiful Ashford & Simpson tune, but Damon’s voice was so immature – and obviously a weak imitation of Eddie.
ER um, I stand corrected, there was some lp that came after SFU that was horrible, that I purchased by mistake. I think it was called “House Party”. I guess I thought the Temps had made a full recovery from their doldrums, but I was wrong. They rallied with SFU as their only masterpiece after Sweet Eddie’s departure . Therefore I decided no more Temptations for me.
Until this purchase I have only listened to The HOF Temptations for the past 30 plus years. But this CD has actually surprised me and I will be listening to it in my regular music rotation. I bought it because of the song selections – all soul classics of the late 60s and 70s that were personal favorites of mine. Otis says in the liner notes that the picked these as some of his favorite songs as well.
Here is the Track List of the songs covered:
1. Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up – original hit performed by Barry White
2. Hold On, I’m Comin’ – original hit performed by Sam & Dave
3. Wake Up Everybody’ – Originally sung by Teddy Pendergrass fronting HM & Bluenotes
4. Minute by Minute – Originally sung by Michael McDonald fronting the Doobie Brothers
5. I’m in Love – Orginal hit performed by Wilson Pickett
6. Don’t Ask My Neighbors – Orignal hit performed by the Emotions
7. Love Ballad – Original hit by Jeffrey Osborne fronting LTD
8. Let it Be Me – Orignal hit performed by Betty Everett and Jerry Butler
9. How Deep is You Love – Original hit performed by the Bee Gees
10. (Everytime I Turn Around) Back in Love Again – Another LTD tune led by Jeffrey Osborne
11. Respect Yourself – Original hit performed by the Staple Singers
When I first played the CD, Track 1 started out sounding like a bad imitation of Barry White and I thought I really made a mistake again. I thought that Otis had just matched songs that he thought these new group members could imitate. Track 2 was a little better, since halfway through it it did not sound like a bad copy of Sam & Dave. Track 3 was passable, Track 4 was better yet with some harmonious “oh-wops” by the group, finally!
Anyway to make a long story short, the songs got progressively better until I got to track 6 and that did it for me. Ron Tyson’s lead on the Emotion’s classic “Don’t Ask My Neighbors” won me over. The strong performance of “Love Ballad” that came next pushed me over the edge. It was then I decided I liked this album.
After listening to the mid-tempo songs tracks 1 -9, track 10 made me jump out of my seat. It is a little jarring to have that louder, funky song thrown in the mix, but after you get your bearings back the song itself, “Back In Love Again, is an ok rendition. Finally the CD ends with a nothing to shout about rendition of the Staples Singer’s classic anthem “Respect Yourself”
I have been listening to tracks 6, 7, and 8 in a continuous loop ever since my first complete pass through. And now I’m really feeling Ron’s lead on Track 9. These four tunes most resemble the great harmonies that made the HOF Temptations the best ever. Give these two songs below a listen, and if you agree rush right out and make that purchase. You won’t regret it.
The Temptations – Don’t Ask My Neighbors
The Temptations – Let It Be Me (I am not feeling the intro, but the song itself is great!)
Oh, one more thing, I am annoyed that Otis used that sketch on the cover of this CD. It is from a famous photo of the Classic 5 and I consider it sacred. Oh well. Just my 2 cents.