Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
One By One
Genres: Pop, R&B
A testament to their greatness
The Fancy One | Westchester County, NY | 01/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's face facts...the best vocalists the Temptations ever had were David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and Dennis Edwards, and the songs that they recorded with the group are timeless classics. I doubt if anyone could dispute this. But what about on their own as soloists? Well, ONE BY ONE give us more proof that these guys could still bring the house down without being Temptations.
Eddie Kendricks was by far the most successful, and this 2 CD set is dominated by both his hits and popular cuts from his albums. From him we have the unedited version of his gorgeous jazz-influenced ballad "Can I"; the isolating sadness of "This Used To Be the Home Of Johnnie Mae"; the breakup tune "Tell Her Love Has Felt the Need", the Christian-themed dance hit "He's A Friend", one of the pioneering records of the disco movement, "Girl You Need A Change Of Mind", the lively dance track "Date With the Rain" and the reggae-tinged, feel-goodness of "Eddie's Love", the last three being from Eddie's sophomore LP, the excellent PEOPLE...HOLD ON, which in my opinion is the tightest soul album ever recorded. The extended versions of his two biggest hits, "Keep On Truckin'" and "Boogie Down" are also included. His work is well represented here, although there were several other songs that should have also been added.
David Ruffin, one of the most electrifying talents ever in the Motown stable, was not so consistent as a soloist...his debut album, MY WHOLE WORLD ENDED, was a big seller in 1969. But afterward he struggled for six years, mostly recording material that really was not worthy of his talents until he blew up again in 1975 with a Van McCoy-produced tune, the exquisite "Walk Away From Love". Still, though, this collection does feature some real gems, like "The Double Cross", "Common Man", "Heavy Love", "Everything's Coming Up Love", "Just Let Me Hold You For A Night" and "Statue of A Fool". His version of Gamble and Huff's "I Miss You" kind of pales in comparison to the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' rendition, but he gives it a good effort.
What saddens me the most about the Paul Williams' songs "Feel Like Givin' Up" and "Once You Had a Heart" is the promise that was lost when Paul died in 1973. We can only wonder what would have happened in his career had he lived and these songs were released then. It's plain to see that this man was remarkably talented. But if you can put aside the sense of loss for a few minutes when you listen to his contribution to this CD, you will see and hear that Paul had one of the most soulful and heartfelt voices ever. By the way, "Feel Like Givin' Up" was written and produced by none other than Paul's best friend, Eddie Kendricks!
Dennis Edwards really didn't come into his own until the 1980s, but when he did, he set the music world on its ear, with the much sampled R&B classic "Don't Look Any Further" (1984). Prior to then, Dennis was in and out of the Temptations: his first solo single, "Which Way To My Baby" (1967) was never released and it wasn't until the mid '70s that Dennis became a soloist again with another unreleased single, "When The Lights Come Down On Love". Also featuring Dennis on lead vocals is a haunting, bluesy ballad that was originally slated for the Temptations' 1975 album A SONG FOR YOU, but was pulled at the last minute: "Soulmate".
So there you have it. These guys were the greatest of all the Temptations! David, Eddie and Paul are gone, but in this collection, their memories burn bright!"
CD1 is jam packed with the best from their solo years
The Fancy One | 05/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike most groups perhaps, the Temptations were gifted with such an abundance of vocal talent that solid solo careers ought to have emerged for their individual members after they departed the group. Some succeeded better than others and those that didn't failed for reasons that had more to do with business politics, poor timing or plain bad luck than anything else. Paul Williams, who sang lead on many of the Temptations' earliest recordings, suffered the same fate as Florence Ballard of the Supremes. He found himself increasingly sidelined after the alternating lead voices of Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin became synonymous with the sound of the Temptations following a long run of hits that stretched through nearly the end of the 60s decade. A tragedy....as Paul's was the all-time voice of heartache. The desperation of "Feel Like Giving Up" is so intense it hurts. "Once You Had A Heart" is another quality song, sung with great passion and feeling. Had he not met his tragic end so early in his career, we would surely have more than these two gems to remember him by.David Ruffins, whose gruff and gritty tenor defined those mid-60s smashes, never attained the heights of stardom as a solo artiste after he left the group in 1968. Despite being remembered mainly for his first and only sizeable 60s hit, "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)", his best solo recordings during this period weren't singles but album tracks. "Double Cross" is gorgeous, truly sublime. So are "I Miss You" (better than Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' version) and "Common Man". These three tracks are vintage Ruffin. Though he had another major hit in the 70s with "Walk Away From Love" and some others, David's later recordings weren't all that compelling. Like much of Motown's 70s output, they lacked distinction. As if to adapt to the changing musical climate, you even hear Philly influences creeping in. Just listen to the shuffling beat and orchestral flourishes on "Walk Away From Love". But it is Eddie Kendricks, whose famous falsetto graced so many Temptations hits, who is best represented and comes off best on this 2CD set. Eddie had arguably the most successful solo career of them all with two monster smashes "Keep On Trucking" and "Boogie Down" tucked under his belt, but like David Ruffin, these weren't the best things Eddie did with Motown. Opening with his debut single, the gloriously soulful and funky ballad "It's So Hard For Me To Say Goodbye" (covered by the Jean Terrell-led Supremes on their "Touch" album), the brace of seven tracks that sit at the heart of CD1 represents for me the best of Eddie's solo recordings as well as a purple patch of uninterrupted bliss on this 2CD set. These songs and Eddie's performance are just incredible. Listen to his underated natural tenor on the stunningly beautiful "This Used To Be The Home Of Johnnie Mae" or on "Can I", the tenderest of ballads which midway changes tempo and develops into something completely unexpected. "If You Let Me" is another delightful midtempo number that paves the way for "Girl You Need A Change of Mind", surely the funkiest and toughest dance track on the right side of disco to have been recorded.....and if by then you still need reminding of Eddie's legacy, buried right at the end of CD1 is another highlight. Eddie's heavenly falsetto on the opening line of "Tell Her Love Has Felt The Need" gave me instant goosebumps and an intimation of what the voice of angels must sound like. Sadly, nothing on CD2 by Eddie comes remotely close to the quality of material on CD1. "Shoeshine Boy" may be a big hit but it's pedestrian.Unfortunately for Dennis Edwards, whose powerful and gritty voice defined the sound of the Temptations' late 60s hits from their psychedelic era, by the time he left the group, the music scene had changed inexorably and there was little about Motown that was Motown, so his solo contributions on this collection are largely unmemorable. It's not his fault, just simply a case of bad timing."One By One" is a "must have" for all fans of the Temptations and their lead vocalists. CD1 is absolutely essential. Alone, it is worth the price of the 2CD set. Packed to the brim with Grade A material, I would argue that CD1 is all that fans would ever need. CD2, containing mostly music from an era when Motown no longer reined supreme, pales so badly it can't help but affect the overall rating of the product. Buy it anyway for CD1 !"
Temptin' , One by One!
The Fancy One | 04/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This two CD package was heaven sent when released a couple years ago. I do think, however, that Motown has many many unreleased gems that could have been included here and are not. Case in point, Paul's magnificent "Last One Out" (w/ the Tempts) which appears on the '99 release "Lost and Found, You've Got to Earn It" would fit here nicely. Or Dennis' "What Become Of the Brokenhearted". But what is here is great and representative of what made/makes Paul, Eddie, David and Dennis great vocalists and not just great Temptations group members. Great songs "Soul Mate", "Johnnie Mae", "Statute of a Fool", "Don't Look Any Further", "Can I" "Once You Had A Heart" the list goes on and on. A 3rd CD could have been added easily for me. I guess like James Brown, "I'm a Greedy Man"."