Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, R&B, Classic Rock
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The Temptations on the funky tip...
The Fancy One | Westchester County, NY | 08/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Whether you love or hate the Temptations' psychedelic funk/soul material, it cannot be disputed that it was something that was on the cutting edge of nothing like Motown had ever done before. Taking a page from Sly and the Family Stone, Funkadelic's early material, Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies and James Brown, legendary writers/producers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong had taken the Tempts out of their doo-wop roots and moon-in-June lyrics and placed them smack dab in the middle of reality. PSYCHEDELIC SOUL focuses on this chapter of the legendary quintet's career, which spans from 1968 to 1974. It's amazing how well the group weathered changing musical tastes, as well as personnel changes: Through those years they lost their most popular leads David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams, and they gained Dennis Edwards (who carved a legendary spot of his own in the group and did a phenomenal job stepping into Ruffin's shoes), Damon Harris and Richard Street in their places and continued to release solid material during those years...but now it was something totally different.
"Cloud Nine", which opens this 2 CD set and not only signals the birth of their psychedelic phase but features the debut of Dennis Edwards as the new group lead, is a dark tale of a poor, urban family and their broken home, and how one family member escapes from his dismal surroundings. Not a big deal, you say? Maybe not now...but in 1968, this WAS a big deal. And to hear it coming from the Temptations, the most popular male singing group in R&B history, really was something. These guys just didn't sing about subjects like this. Prior to this, they were crooning the sugary lyric "please return your love to me, girl/forgive me for the wrong I've done"...now all of a sudden, they were tackling issues and musical sounds that were unheard of on vinyl -- for a Motown act, anyway. "Cloud Nine" (Motown's first single EVER to win a Grammy in March, 1969 and therefore, making it historical) just opened to the door to other funk-driven stories that dealt with bad-a**ed kids, drugs, crime, prison, avarice, poverty, unemployment, racism, jealousy, politics, deadbeat dads, you name it -- a long way from "My Girl", indeed.
Aside from having the original, full album versions of popular Tempts' cuts like the haunting "Runaway Child, Running Wild", the demand for respect in "Message From A Black Man", "Hum Along And Dance", the trippy funk/blues number "Take A Stroll Thru Your Mind", the cautionary "Smiling Faces Sometimes", slices of life like the Grammy-winning "Papa Was A Rolling Stone", "Masterpiece" and others, you get two previously unreleased versions of "Psychedelic Shack" (in its extended form, an unbridled Funk Brothers jam session) and "Ball of Confusion". Very interesting to hear if you are an old school Temptations' completist like I am.
Some of the extended tracks have the tendency to wear on your nerves, which is why I didn't rate it five stars. At times you get the feeling that Whitfield was ego-tripping, flaunting his skills being Motown's top producer after the departure of Holland/Dozier/Holland at the Tempts' expense. Did we REALLY need a 12 minute version of "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" or nearly 14 minutes of "Masterpiece" (the latter being nothing more than a lengthy instrumental with the Tempts' vocals in there somewhere for about two or three minutes)?! In lieu of those lengthy tunes on this set, they could have settled for the edited versions and included "Law of The Land" and "Let Your Hair Down", the second of these songs being a #1 R&B single in '74. Unfortunately it faded into obscurity as one of their lesser known hits. I think after this, the guys were justifiably upset with being used for Whitfield's long-winded comments on the state of the world, and demanded some changes. After the LP "1990" (which title track is included here), the group ceased working with him and the psychedelic soul era officially ended.
Aside from that, PSYCHEDELIC SOUL shows us just how funky these guys could get. A purchase worthy of your collection, especially if you don't have the original LPs that these songs came from."
Sho' Nuff Turns Me On....
yygsgsdrassil | Crossroads America | 09/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"....funky stuff with a social conscious.By now nearly everybody knows the legend of how when top vocalist David Ruffin left the Temptations, it was suggested by Otis Williams that producer Norman Whitfield take a listen to Height-Ashbury pop funksters Sly and the Family Stone to get the group goin' in a new direction. That resulted in the fantastic "Cloud Nine". Whitfield and the group and Motowns stable of arrangers (most notably Riser's orchestrations, Dennis Coffey's spacely wah-wah's) and usual suspects (the Funk Brothers) must have known they were doing something which would start a musical revolution. Yeah. Some of the best years ever in R and B music.Get it, put it in your player and let it ride. If you ain't diggin' on the recently remastered cuts by Suha Gur, then you must require your Soul overhauled. I particularly like the subtle changes on "Ball of Confusion" Gur did in May 2003.And this compilation just proves the point on what I have been ranting about for years. Whoever makes those types of decions at Motown should decide to remaster a lot of the original albums, in the order they were first produced. Who wouldn't snap up the album "Sky's The Limit" with it's original cover, song sequence and modern-day remastering? I know I would."
A ticket to Cloud 9
zeca azevedo | 10/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This superb collection puts together some of the greatest psychedelic soul records ever made. Norman Whitfield was a genius and this record is a proof of his amazing talent as a record producer and songwriter. Wonderful vocal performances by The Temptations, great musical arrangements by Paul Riser and some of the best grooves cooked by The Funk Brothers are here, making this compilation a must buy for Funk and Soul fans everywhere."