The Temptations

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1961-63)

- Elbridge Bryant (RIP 1975) -- vocals

- Melvin Franklin -- vocals

- Eddie Kendricks (RIP) -- vocals

- Otis Williams -- vocals

- Paul Williams (RIP 1973) -- vocals


  line up 2 (1963-68)

- Melvin Franklin -- vocals

- Eddie Kendricks (RIP) -- vocals

NEW - David Ruffin (RIP) -- vocals (replaced Elbrige Bryant)

- Otis Williams -- vocals

- Paul Williams (RIP 1973) -- vocals


  line up 3 (1968-71)

NEW- Dennis Edwards -- vocals (replaced David Ruffin)

- Melvin Franklin -- vocals

- Eddie Kendricks (RIP) -- vocals

- Otis Williams -- vocals

- Paul Williams (RIP 1973) -- vocals


  line up 4 (1971)

- Dennis Edwards -- vocals 

- Melvin Franklin -- vocals

NEW - Damon Harris -- vocals

NEW - Ricky Owens -- vocals

NEW - Richard Street -- vocals

- Otis Williams -- vocals 


  line up 5 (1971-73)

- Dennis Edwards -- vocals 

- Melvin Franklin -- vocals

- Damon Harris -- vocals

- Richard Street -- vocals

- Otis Williams -- vocals


  line up 6 (1975-76)

- Dennis Edwards -- vocals 

- Melvin Franklin -- vocals

NEW - Glenn Leonard -- vocals (replaced Damon Harris)

- Richard Street -- vocals

- Otis Williams -- vocals


  line up 7 (1976)

- Melvin Franklin -- vocals

- Glenn Leonard -- vocals 

NEW - Louis Price -- vocals (replaced Dennis Edwards)

- Richard Street -- vocals

- Otis Williams -- vocals



- The Distants

- The Dramatics (Elbridge Bryant)

- The Drifters

- The Elgins

- The Ethics

- For Lovers Only

- The Four Tops

- The Futures

- Damon Harris (solo efforts)
- Impact (Damon Harris)
- Eddie Kendricks (solo efforts)

- Love Committee

- The Minitors

- The Original Lead Singers of the Temptations

- The Pirates

- The Primiers (Elbridge Bruant)
- David Ruffin (solo efforts)

- The Spanils

- The S[inners

- The True Reflection (Glenn Leonard)

- The Vibrations






Genre: soul

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

Title:  The Temptations Sing Smokey

Company: Gordy

Catalog: G 912

Year: 1965

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG-/VG

Comments: some ring wear; stamp on back cover; some hiss and pop on last two tracks; mono pressing

Available: 1

Price: $10.00



The group's breakthrough LP (and still one of their most acclaimed offerings), 1965's "The Temptations Sing Smokey" stands as a masterpiece. With namesake Robinson credited with writing, producing and arranging, the results were as much a success for Smokey as The Temptations. As for the material, what can ya' say? Powered by the Kendricks and Ruffin vocal team, selections such as "The Way You Do the Things You Do", "My Girl" (Motown's first #1 single), "You've Really Got a Hold of Me" and "It's Growing" were all hits that have become established classics. Backed by an appearance on CBS television's "It's What's Happening Baby" the LP hit #37. The LP is simply a must own for any Motown fan ...

"The Temptations Sing Smokey" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Way You Do the Things You Do (Smokey Robinson - Rogers) - 2:35
2.) Baby, Baby I Need You (Smokey Robinson) - 2:53
3.) My Girl (Smokey Robinson - Ronald White) - 2:53
4.) What Love Has Joined Together (Smokey Robinson - Rogers) - 2:33
5.) You'll Love a Precious Love (Smokey Robinson) - 2:23
6.) It's Growing (Smokey Robinson - Warren Moore) - 2:57

(side 2)

1.) Who's Loving You (Smokey Robinson) - 2:55
2.) What's So Good Aboout Good Bye (Smokey Robinson) - 2:36
3.) You Beat Me To the Punch (Smokey Robinson - Ronald White) - 2:43
4.) Way Over There (Smokey Robinson) - 3:00
5.) You've Really Got a Hold of Me (Smokey Robinson) - 2:58
6.) (You Can) Depend On Me (Smokey Robinson - Berry Gordy Jr.) - 2:31



Genre: soul

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

Title:  Gettin' Ready

Company: Gordy

Catalog: GM 918

Year: 1966

Country/State: Detroit, Michigan

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: mono pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1301

Price: $20.00

Okay, I'll readily admit I'm completely biased, but I grew up listening to this album and no matter what anyone says, it's a classic slice of Motown.   It was also the start of transition time for The Temptations.   Longtime producer, songwriter, and mentor Smokey Robinson was still actively involved in 1966's 'Gettin' Ready".  Robinson produced and wrote, or co-wrote about half of the material, but this time around his work was supplemented by material from outside parties including songwriter/producer Norman Whitfield.  In spite of the album liner notes  said, crediting production to Robinson, Whitfield handled three of the tracks, with IIvy Joe Hunter and William Mickey Stevenson handling 'It's a Lonely World without Your Love.  All of that aside, this result was a classic Temptations (and a classic Motown) album.   It's one of those collections that simply sounds timeless and doesn't have a single bum performance across the twelve songs.  The great David Ruffin handled most of side one, turning in various classic performances along the way (check out 'Little Miss Sweetness'), but he wasn't the only member to shine.  Eddie Kendricks turned in one of the group's classic performances on the hit 'Ain't Too Proud To Beg' and the grossly overlooked 'Too Busy Thinking About My Baby'.  Even the frequently overlooked Paul Williams got a chance to shine on 'Lonely, Lonely Man Am I' and 'the stunning 'Who You Gonna Run To'.  One of those albums that no self-respecting music fan should be without.  By the way, the CD reissue may include a pair of inconsequential bonus tracks ('Give It Up' and 'The Man Who Don't Believe In Love'), but this is one where you want to hear the original Gordy vinyl release in all of its glory.   That classic Motown sound is just so special ....  By the way, to show you how clever I am, it only took me about forty years to recognize the link between the album title and the Frank Dandridge cover photo ... peekin through a door keyhole to see the group gettin' ready for a show.

"Gettin' Ready" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Say You   (Charles Jones -  Robert Dobyne - Robert Staunton) - 2:30

I've always liked The Monitors original version with future Temptation Richard Street turning in a dynamic lead vocal.   That said, it's hard to compete with anything featuring David Ruffin on lead vocals and when you had in Melvin Franklin's bass the task becomes even more difficult.  So in the final outcome ...  Ruffin and the Temptations by a hair.   In this case the secret ingredient was actually Motown house drummer Benny Benjamin.   rating: **** stars

2.) Little Miss Sweetness  (Smokey Robinson) - 3:11

Another overlooked Robinson-penned treasure (the lyrics are simply hysterical) and classic Ruffin performance ...  my goodness the man may have had his problems, but he could sing.   rating: **** stars

3.) Ain't Too Proud  To Beg   (Eddie Holland - Norman Whitfield) - 2:32

Hard to add much of value with respect to this all time classic.  In terms of Temptations history the song's actually kind of interesting in that up to this point Smokey Robinson had been the group's major source of material (and singles).  That remained the case with respect to picking the album's first single - 'Get Ready'.   Co-writer Whitfield lobbied to have this song released as the first single, but Berry Gordy went with the title track, promising to release this as a follow-on if 'Get Ready' didn't go top-20 on the pop charts.  It ultimately peaked at # 29.    Not sure where it was recorded, but YouTube has a clip of the group lip synching the tune for television:  rating: ***** stars

4.) Get Ready  (Smokey Robinson) - 2:37

For a guy best known for heartbreaking ballads, 'Get Ready' was a major change for Smokey Robinson; showing he could write an up-tempo, dance ready track.  ' Eddie Kendrick's first lead vocal on the album and he simply killed it.  It may have only hit # 29 on the pop charts, but it did top the R&B charts.  For anyone interested, YouTube has a cool black and white clip of the group lip synching the song for tan unknown television program:   rating: ***** stars

5.) Lonely, Lonely Man Am I   (Eddie Holland - Eddie Kendricks - Norman Whitfield)- 2:45

I've always loved Paul Williams low and gruff voice and while he sounded a bit ragged here,  'Lonely, Lonely Man Am I' gave him a nice forum for showcasing his talents.  rating: *** stars

6.) Too Busy Thinking About My Baby    (Janie Bradford - Barrett Strong - Norman Whitfield) -  2:39

Funny, but  the sweet and bubbly 'Too Busy Thinking About My Baby' has always reminded me of something Smokey Robinson would have penned.  Nice Kendricks' performance, though he sounded a bit uncomfortable with the high pitch.   I can here the groans, but as good as The Temptations version was, I'd actually go with the Marvin Gaye performance.   rating: **** stars

(side 2)

1.) I've Been Good To You  (Smokey Robinson) - 2:59

Instantly recognizable as a Robinson tune, 'I've Been Good To You' was kind of a throwback to an earlier, almost doo wop sound.  Sweet, but kind of old school-ish.  rating: *** stars

2.) It's a Lonely World without Your Love   (Ivy Joe Hunter - William Mickey Stevenson) - 2:32

Nice up-beat tune that probably could have been a major hit had it not been on an album with as many classics as this one.   Great horn charts on this one.  rating: **** stars

3.) Fading Away   (Warren Pete Moore - Smokey Robinson - Bobby Rodgers) - 2:37

Overlooked tune with some of Robinson's most interesting lyrics ...   the big problem with this one was the tune simply lacked a distinguishing melody, instead sounding like it had been cobbled together from a couple of other tunes.  rating: *** stars

4.) Who You Gonna Run To  (Smokey Robinson) - 3:05

With a breezy, almost bossa nova-ish melody, 'Who You Gonna Run To' was another Paul Williams spotlight moment and truly one of the album's overlooked treasures.   rating: **** stars

5.) You're Not an Ordinary Girl    (Moore - Smokey Robinson - Bobby Rodgers - Mary Tarplin - Ronnie White) - 2:49

The Miracles wrote it and Kendricks and The Temptations did it proud.   The tune reappeared as the 'B' side to the 1966 non-LP single 'Beauty Is Only Skin Deep'.  rating: **** stars

6.) Not Now (I'll Tell You Later)   (Smokey Robinson - Otis Williams) -

Probably because it was originally recorded in 1963, 'Not Now (I'll Tell You Later) ' had a goofy, old-school feel that didn't quite match the rest of the album.  It was fun, but  came off as little more than an in-studio jam and was apparently added to the end of the album to pad the running time.   By the way, The Supremes provide backing vocals.  rating: *** stars


The album proved a commercial gold mine for the group, spinning odd three hits:



- 1966's 'Get Ready' b/w 'Fading Away' (Gordy catalog number 7049) # 29 pop,; # 1 R&B

- 1966's 'Ain't Too Proud To Beg' b/w 'You'll Lose a Precious Love' (Gordy catalog number 7054) # 13 pop; # 1 R&B

- 1967's 'I've Been Good To You' b/w 'You're My Everything' (Gordy catalog number 7063) # 124 pop


Powered by the singles the album hit # 12 on the US pop charts and # 1 on the US R&B charts.







Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  1990

Company: Gordy

Catalog: G966V1

Year: 1973

Country/State: Detroit, Michigan

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original gimmick sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1301

Price: $20.00


Geez time flies ...   I can remember this album coming out in 1973.  I was a clueless freshman in high school and was lucky enough to have been taken in my some older kids who were heavily into music, including the whole Motown scene.   I can remember looking at this album at a Kemp Mill store and thinking that 1990 seemed a lifetime away (though it was only 17 years off).


"1990" was The Temptations' final outing with producer/songwriter Norman Whitefield and not a bad way to end the partnership.  True, by this point in the partnership The Temptations were growing increasingly tired of Whitfield's control, his penchant for heavy social commentary, and his reluctance to taken into consideration Temptations-penned material, or creative ideas.   That said, Whitfield was apparently at least aware of the group's growing unhappiness, witness the album included a couple of non-topical ballads in the form of 'I Need You' and the overlooked gem 'Heavenly'.   Still those, were the exceptions to the rule with most of the album sounding like a patented Whitfield effort.   Mind you,  I'm a big fan of Whitfield's soul-psych mixture, but spread across tunes like  'Ain't No Justice', the title track, and 'Zoom' (the latter clocking in at over thirteen minutes), it did start to sound the same.   The album's saving grace came in the form of the mid-career line-up.   The Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Damon Harris, Richard Street, and  Otis Williams line-up may not have attracted the same attention and dedication as earlier line-ups, but these guys were every bit as talented as those earlier line-ups.  Miss Eddie Kendricks?  Well check out Damon Harris' performance on the sultry ballad 'I Need You'.   And with Dennis Edwards around, David Ruffin was a distant memory.   

"1990" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Let You Hair Down   (Norman Whitfield) - 2:45

Folks tend to focus on the voices of David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks,  but Dennis Edwards was just as good.  Witness the way he handled the opened.   With backing from the band Rose Royce, The Tempts seldom sounded as funky as on 'Let Your Hair Down'.  Would you dare ignore the man's advice to let your hair down ?  Of course Whitfield managed to add a touch of social commentary to the mix.   Gordy tapped it as the leadoff single.  rating: **** stars

2.) I Need You   (Norman Whitfield)  - 3:05

With Damon Harris effortlessly handling the lead on 'I Need You' you had to wonder what all the fuss surrounding Eddie Kendricks departure had been about.  A sultry, breezy ballad, the tune stood as a nice change of pace given the activist sentiment on most of Whitfield's material.   rating: **** stars

3.) Heavenly   (Norman Whitfield)  - 4:01

'Heavenly' featured Damon Harris and Richard Street sharing lead vocals and was a simply gorgeous ballad with a to-die-for hook.  Released as a single, the tune should have been  a massive hit for the group, but got tangled up in a nationwide DJ boycott of Temptations product.    rating: **** stars

4.) You've Got My Soul On Fire   (Norman Whitfield)  - 3:59

With Edwards back on lead, 'You've Got My Soul On Fire' managed to find the sweet spot taking Whitefield's instantly recognizable psych-soul sound with a driving funk feel.  Kicked along by some wonderful, driving acoustic guitar and punchy horn charts, this was one of the album highlights and another single that died in the face of a DJ boycott of Temptations material.   rating: **** stars

5.) Ain't No Justice   (Norman Whitfield)  - 5:59

Complete with Dennis Coffey wah-wah guitar, 'Ain't No Justice' was a patented example of Whitfield's soul-psychedelia social commentary and also served as a  good example of why The Temptations had seemingly reached a point where they were ready for a change in direction.  Nice to heard each Temptation given a shot at the solo spot, but it was one heavy, heavy, heavy tune and ultimately sounded very much like some of earlier tunes in the Whitfield/Temptations catalog.  rating: *** stars

(side 2)

1.) 1990   (Norman Whitfield)  - 4:06

After the soothing opening instrumentation segment, the abrupt sound collage came as a major shock.   How many Temptations tunes include a racial epitaph ?     Come to think of it, how many songs would include a lyric like '"How can you spend another dollar on the space race, with families at home starving right in your face ..."   And yet there was still something uplifting in hearing Edwards express his faith in the country.   Normally I'm not a big fan of Whitfield's extended arrangements, but ''1990' should have benefited from a longer arrangement.   rating: *** stars

2.) Zoom   (Norman Whitfield) - 13:45

Yeah, listening to the group members talk about outer space was momentarily entertaining, but after a couple of minutes you were ready for them to get on with it.  'Zoom' eventually kicked into gear, tough stretching out over thirteen minutes it ultimately sounded like a re-tread of 'Papa was a Rolling Stone'.  Lots of instrumentation, precious little Temptations.   rating: *** stars 


As mentioned, the album singles were:



- 1973's 'Let Your Hair Down' b/w 'Ain't No Justice' (Gordy catalog number G 7133F)   

- 1973's 'Heavenly' b/w 'Zoom' (Gordy catalog number G 7135F)   

- 1973's 'You've Got My Soul On Fire' b/w 'I Need You' (Gordy catalog number G 7136F)   


Shortly after the album was released personality and creative issues erupted with Otis Williams and the rest of The Temptations complaining to Berry Gordy Jr.   Within a year Whitfield had left Motown, forming his own Whitfield label where he enjoyed considerable success with Rose Royce and other bands.  The album was also clouded by the August 1972 suicide of founding member Paul Williams.