TEMPTATIONS RECORD 15 CLASSIC MOTOWN SONGS FOR THE FIRST TIME FOR
NEW ALBUM REFLECTIONS
Finally, The Temptations,
one of the most popular singing groups of all time, perform the
Motown classics they always loved but never had the chance to record.
Putting a fresh spin on 15 of Motown's greatest songs, Reflections
(New Door/UMe) will be released January 31, 2006. "Motown is
the soundtrack of our lives," says Otis Williams. "These
are songs we have always wanted to do, and now, happily, we have
had a chance to do them." This is the 47th album of new recordings
from the incomparable Temptations, their first album for New Door
Records, a UMe label venture.
Forty-five years after
forming in Detroit, The Temptations bring some of the most memorable
songs in pop and R&B to life like no other group, adding their
signature harmonies to these timeless classics. Forty-one years
after the last time they issued an album with a similar theme (1965's
The Temptations Sing Smokey), Reflections is a reflection of artists
who were there when Motown made history. Otis Williams, the remaining
founding member, actually observed the recording of The Supremes'
original version of "Reflections." Temptation G.C. Cameron,
once a member of The Spinners at Motown, was also a frequent presence
in the Hitsville studios.
Five tracks are from
the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland writing and production team,
with whom The Temptations didn't record much in the 1960s. On Reflections,
The Temps pounce on the material with gusto: they put a haunting,
modern R&B stamp on the title track (#2 for The Supremes in
1967); deliver a raucous rendition of "Can I Get A Witness"
(Top 25 for Marvin Gaye in 1963), have fun with "How Sweet
It Is (To Be Loved By You)" (Top 10 for Gaye in 1965) and "This
Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)" (Top 15 for the Isley
Brothers in 1966); and are in a melancholy mood in "I Hear
A Symphony" (#1 for The Supremes in 1965).
The Temptations also
tackle two songs that were hits for Gaye and Tammi Terrell: "Ain't
Nothing Like The Real Thing" (Top 10 Pop/#1 R&B in 1968),
with guest vocals by Vann Johnson, and "Ain't No Mountain High
Enough" (Top 20 Pop in 1967 and #1 Pop for Diana Ross in 1970).
In addition, Reflections boasts their energetic take on "Ooo
Baby Baby," the 1965 Pop Top 20 Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
hit, as well as a pair of tracks first made famous in 1970 by the
Jackson 5 - aching, sensuous versions of "Never Can Say Goodbye"
(#1 R&B/#2 Pop) and "I'll Be There" (#1 Pop and R&B).
The Temptations also
put their unmistakable stamp for the first time on "Don't Leave
Me This Way," Thelma Houston's #1 disco anthem from 1977 (originally
performed by Philly's Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes, Motown
and Thelma made it a classic). Temptations Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks
and Cameron trade off electrifying lead vocals on "Neither
One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)," a 1973 R&B
#1 from Gladys Knight & The Pips; and on "What Becomes
Of The Brokenhearted," originally a 1966 Top 10 Pop and R&B
hit for Jimmy Ruffin, brother of former Temp David Ruffin.
One song they did previously
record but as a duet with The Supremes in 1968 is "Try It Baby,"
which had been a Pop Top 20 for Gaye in 1964. Vann Johnson again
guests on the track. Diana's 1970 Pop Top 20 "Reach Out And
Touch (Somebody's Hand)" is the album's perfect closer, a song
more and more relevant to our times. Eight of the album's tracks
are produced by Steve "The Scotsman" Harvey (Bridgette
McWilliams, Donnie, Everyday People) with the balance produced and
arranged by Benjamin Wright (OutKast, Justin Timberlake, Destiny's
Child, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson), both of
whom have produced recent Temptations successes.
The Temps' new millennium
triumphs include 2000's Grammy-winning, Top 20 R&B Ear-Resistable;
2001's Top 30 R&B Awesome, and 2004's Top 20 R&B Legacy.
In 2006, The Temptations, of Williams, Tyson (member since 1983,
the lineup's second longest tenure), Cameron, Weeks and bass singer
Joe Herndon, continue to raise the standard by which all singing
groups are measured.