The Temptations ‘All The Time’ LP/CD (UMC) 5/5

Whilst listening to this album, I was hit with a massive wave of nostalgia, the Temps for me rank as one of the all time greats when it comes to group harmony, with outstanding lead vocals. Over the years the line up has changed and today we have Terry Weeks, Larry Braggs, Otis Williams, Ron Tyson and Willie Green. Whilst listening to this album and trying to review the tracks I repeatedly pulled Temps’ albums off the shelves and played tracks, that is what this album did to me, reminding me of those harmonies that have featured everywhere I look, they have been a recording group for 58 years and this is the first album from these guys for some 8 years. It consists of ten tracks, a mixture of ballads and dancer’s, three original new songs and 7 covers of other artists material. I counted 21 instruments including a string and horn section, and throughout this album they appear as and when you would expect them too. The album’s executive producer was Otis, so we knew from the outset we were in good hands, with other production duties carried out by Dave Darling.

I don’t listen to anything other than black music in all its forms, I don’t have the time or the interest, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeron and Bruno Mars mean nothing to me, I have heard them sing and am left thinking ‘is this really what the masses are being spoon fed at the minute?’ It would appear some of their songs are covered on here, as “Stay With Me” breaks the silence for the first time I was really impressed, Ron Tyson out front with the usual quality harmonies we have come to expect, it’s like listening to Temps from the late 70s. Next up we have “Earned It”, a typical Temp’s ballad if ever there was one, Otis an old friend sounds like he’s never been away, and for more of the same wallow in the beauty of “Pretty Wings”. One of the immediate highlights is the simply stunning “Thinking Out Loud”, a perfect vehicle to showcase the Temps in all their glory, utter perfection. Special mention for Zach Zunis who played piano.

I can see myself playing this for years to come, and approaching on the rails is a new song written by Otis and Marc Alonzo called “Waitin’ On You”, another replay for sure. Over to side two and we kick off with a cracking dancer, “Remember The Time”, written by Teddy Riley, Michael Jackson and Bernard Belle, I’ve no idea what the original sounded like but this will do for me, big time. Two tracks are edging it at the minute and both are stunning dancers; first up, “Be My Wife”, which is such an instantly likeable groove mixed by Zackery Darling, and then the slightly slower and more subtle “Still Feel Like Your Man”, outstanding vocals from everyone, both have throw away chorus lines, it’s like old friends have come back. Another real highlight is “When I Was Your Man”, a tale of regrets and woe -all self-inflicted of course- which makes the pain all that worse to deal with, brilliant story telling as only the Temps can. There’s a funky dancer in the shape of “Move Them Britches”, which takes me straight back to the ‘House Party’ days. Whilst Clif Payne is still my album of the year this has come so so close, welcome back guys how about a full album of your own songs? Thank you kindly.

Brian Goucher