The Temptations – 1972 – All Directions

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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.

Tracks
A1 Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On 2:56
A2 Run Charlie Run 2:59
A3 Papa Was a Rolling Stone 11:45
B1 Love Woke Me Up This Morning 2:38
B2 I Ain’t Got Nothing 3:30
B3 The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face) 3:59
B4 Mother Nature 2:54
B5 Do Your Thing 2:52

    By Andre S. Grindle

Of course the same thing could be said of this album that went for any of the Temptations albums following the arrival of Dennis Edwards. Internally,the group were growing more and more discontent with producer Norman Whitfield using the Temptations to insert vocals into his cinematic soul instrumental soundscapes. Of course,the public was moving somewhat beyond the 3 minute soul ballad singer mentality that perhaps some of the members of the group felt a bit grounded in. So while the Temptations were still one of Motown’s chief draws in the early 70’s? Harmony between the band and Whitfield simply wasn’t there. But ever the professionals,all parties involved but their very best and all into this album from start to finish. And it certainly shows.

Seemingly recorded live “Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On” takes the Edwin Star hit and…well just throws on the bluesy George Clinton/Funkadelic type groove on very thick. Surely one of the Tempts funkiest tunes from this era. “Run Charlie Run“,driven by soulful piano and the pointed chorus,uses some…shall we say Dick Gregory/Richard Pryor type language to illustrate an awareness of total hypocrisy among the most racist people-wittily pointed out that double negative personality. “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” was,this far one of Whitfields most commercially successful songs with the Tempts-it’s Isaac Hayes/Bar Kays like mix of blacksploitation wah wah funk and orchestration showcased on a longer version here with a hard grooving Fender Rhodes piano solo.

The remainder of the album consists mainly of ballads,though rather unique ones in “Love Woke Me Up This Morning“-a gently swinging romantic number while the rare Otis Williams lead on the half sung/half rapped “I Ain’t Got Nothing” get’s into a heavier blues attitude instrumentally. Damon Harris takes on Roberta Flacks “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” on a more orchestrated version than the original while Dennis Edwards’ vocals on the almost spiritually inclined (though not in the Christian sense) “Mother Nature” lifts up this already powerful slower tempo jazzy soul/funk groove. The band end the album with a wonderfully sleek groove on a version of Isaac Hayes’ “Do Your Thing“-again showcasing Whitfield’s influence from that end of the Stax sound. And of course, Hayes was likely influenced somewhat by what Whitfield had done beforehand as well.

One thing to say about this album for sure is that it’s funky from top to bottom. Even the slower ballads have a funk era veneer about them. Not only that,but this is perfectly suited to the way the Temptations were starting to evolve. On this album,the band move fully away from the psychedelic oriented sound that was the hallmark of their late 60’s/early 70’s Whitfield produced albums. And they were really starting to emphasis another kind of funk. It was always at the core of their post 1968 era sound. But it was laid to bare by this time: a really foot stomping,gospel/blues inflected funk groove with a strong Southern attitude and flavor.

This especially works for the more chocked, Al Green meets James Brown vocals of Dennis Edwards. Overall this is a wonderful examples of the Temptations rootsier funk/soul visitations.

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Conversation for album: The Temptations – 1972 – All Directions

17 Comments
  • Jonah Feldman
    Posted at 17:11h, 14 October 2019 Reply

    Classic material!

  • Bow
    Posted at 17:44h, 14 October 2019 Reply

    1972 was a huge turning point for me and “My” Temptations. Yessss I said my because I felt like these handsome gents were all mine. LOL This was the year I graduated from high school and although I was still not old enough to be allowed in the clubs legally I got in with the help of a trusty fake ID of course. The disco type clubs were becoming popular in the US and I was there and so was this new sound of the Temps! Papa was a rolling stone was the first song I heard my first time in a club and the dance floor was jam-packed when they played it. All you could do was stand in one spot and rock LOL. Great sound for the time and it still is. I still have my vinyl copy. It does not get played anymore as it’s been long ago replaced with a digital copy. Love woke me up this morning still gets me up many mornings.
    Thanks for the upload and as always the fantastic write-up!

  • Psychfan
    Posted at 18:37h, 14 October 2019 Reply

    Thanks very much!

  • Jake
    Posted at 11:40h, 15 October 2019 Reply

    “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” heard this a million times, One of the best songs ever.

  • Maurice
    Posted at 11:42h, 15 October 2019 Reply

    The strings and baseline is incredible

  • Juan
    Posted at 22:32h, 15 October 2019 Reply

    My absolute favourite track from the greatest Soul group of all time.

  • Willie
    Posted at 18:46h, 16 October 2019 Reply

    I wish artists still made good music like this

  • Eric
    Posted at 21:18h, 16 October 2019 Reply

    One of my favorite recordings, period.

  • The MoodyBlue
    Posted at 09:33h, 17 October 2019 Reply

    Timeless. I will never forget up.

  • Solano
    Posted at 10:10h, 18 October 2019 Reply

    Just the instrumental part alone is unbelievable beautiful.
    The lyrics make me feel the music even more . God blessed these. voices

  • LadyM
    Posted at 10:13h, 18 October 2019 Reply

    There will never be another temptations

  • Jean
    Posted at 20:58h, 20 October 2019 Reply

    Magnifique

  • George
    Posted at 21:21h, 20 October 2019 Reply

    This is real music, it reminds me of the good old days. I often reflect back to this music to remember when the days were much joyful and peaceful.

  • Ken
    Posted at 22:52h, 20 October 2019 Reply

    A classic that’ll NEVER get old..

  • Julio
    Posted at 10:32h, 21 October 2019 Reply

    Maravilhosa! Adoro…

  • Headley
    Posted at 23:24h, 25 October 2019 Reply

    Legends

  • Mattie
    Posted at 23:25h, 25 October 2019 Reply

    these guys have always been my # 1 group,i just love them,always.

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