Album #159 – Cloud Nine
The Temptations are one of the greatest and most popular groups to come out of Motown Records. They had several hits and became massive in the mid-1960’s. When David Ruffin left, the success of the group did not diminish. They would have continued success in the early 70’s with hits such as: Ball of Confusion, Papa Was A Rolling Stone and Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me). This album marked a change for the group. In 1969, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and other Motown artists had great success with their hit singles not their albums. This had been the formula since Motown started in 1959. But, The Temptations decided to try something different. They decided to experiment with a new form of soul music called psychedelic soul. The album was to be the centerpiece. There were singles released and they did very well and this album was one of the first albums to make an impact on Motown. But, this album was not very psychedelic to me. The main influence for this album was Sly & The Family Stone but this album sounded just like the big hits they had a few years prior and the tracks lacked Sly Stone’s energy. With David Ruffin gone, his replacement Dennis Edwards did not deliver the same vocal punch. The only track that sounds psychedelic is the album’s longest track, Runaway Child, Running Wild, which was also a hit single. Even though the album had two hit singles, this album was more of a throwback record to 1965. I do think that their odd cover of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” influenced Gladys Knight’s cover which was released a few years later. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Temptations. Their biggest hits such as My Girl, Get Ready, Ain’t To Proud To Beg and the three I mentioned above are legendary. But, somehow I liked the early singles from The Four Tops more. This album sounded like it was ripping off The Four Tops at times. At other times, it was just plain boring and average. There was nothing really spectacular about this album. I was somewhat disappointed. Overall, I give this album 2.5 out of 5.
Next: Stand! by Sly & The Family Stone