Saturday, March 07, 2020

The Temptations - The Best Of The Temptations (1995)

If you were a Motown fan back in the day (and who wasn't) you need to grab this Temptations anthology now. The Best of the Temptations is an excellent double CD set with all of the much-loved singing group's hits plus a few B-sides, album tracks, and detailed liner notes. It also includes a handful of their 1980s work for people who want an entire career retrospective. For most listeners it's all The Temptations they'll ever need because like most of the original, enduring Motown acts the famous vocal quintet concentrated on singles over LPs because that's the way Berry Gordy liked it.

The Best of the Temptations consists of 46 chronologically placed songs that begins with their first hit "The Way You Do The Things You Do" released in January 1964, about a month after The Beatles' first stateside smash, "I Want To Hold Your Hand," began its historic climb up the charts. The second disc ends with "Lady Soul" from 1986.

You get a clear sense of how this almost perfect vocal group evolved from a high quality, commercial act who created quite danceable, uptempo hits, romantic ballads and breakup songs into a late 60s, psychedelic-soul outfit with a social conscience. Singles like "Ball Of Confusion" and "Cloud Nine" represent the latter period.

One of the best things about The Temptations is that they employed multiple lead singers so each new 45 RPM sounded fresh. It gave them a versatility most Motown groups never had. As great as they were, neither the Supremes nor The Four Tops utilized more than one lead vocalist during their most productive years.

The accompanying booklet is superb. There are pictures featuring the quintet's different lineups, a biography detailing how the group was born and their history of personnel changes. For each song you also get release dates, chart positions, who sang lead and what album each track came from, information all true music geeks will find fascinating.

Disc 1 is totally in mono and that makes the productions sound a bit compressed but disc 2 is presented in full stereo clarity. There is no explanation as to why the album was released that way.

The entire set list is posted below the videos.

Disc 1
The Way You Do The Things You Do
I'll Be In Trouble
The Girl's Alright With Me
Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)
My Girl
It's Growing
What Love Has Joined Together
Who's Lovin' You
Since I Lost My Baby
You've Got to Earn It
Nobody But You
My Baby
Don't Look Back
Ol' Man River (Live)
Get Ready
Ain't Too Proud To Beg
You'll Lose A Precious Love
Beauty Is Only Skin Deep
(I Know) I'm Losing You
All I Need
You're My Everything
(Loneliness Made Me Realize) It's You That I Need
I Wish It Would Rain
I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)
Please Return Your Love To Me
Lullaby Of Love
The Impossible Dream

Disc 2
Cloud Nine
I'm Gonna Make You Love Me (With Diana Ross & The Supremes)
Runaway Child, Running Wild
Don't Let The Joneses Get You Down
I Can't Get Next To You
Psychedelic Shack
Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today)
Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)
Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)
Let Your Hair Down
Shakey Ground
A Song for You
Standing On The Top
Treat Her Like a Lady
Lady Soul

1 comment:

  1. The mono/stereo split between discs may reflect a time when mono was on its way out and stereo was taking its place. Mono was going out of fashion by 1967, when "The Impossible Dream" came out. "Cloud Nine" came out in 1968, when stereo was on the rise. That split also may reflect Norman Whitfield's increasingly complex and sophisticated production style. Things started getting funky with "Cloud Nine."