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Emperors of Soul

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The Temptations 9/20/1994

Review

Released in 1994, Emperors of Soul is a five-CD anthology celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Temptations with 109 key tracks taken from their 40-plus album catalog. Along with the Four Tops and the Supremes, the Temps became one of Motown's most successful acts, scoring an astounding 35 Top 40 entries during their prime. However, unlike many of their contemporaries, the vocal quintet survived the transition from stylish pop and R&B on "The Way You Do the Things You Do," "My Girl," "Get Ready," "Ain't to Proud to Beg," and "I Wish It Would Rain" to the psychedelic soul of "Cloud Nine," "Psychedelic Shack," and "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)," as well as covering socially relevant issues on "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" and "Plastic Man." Of course, all of those favorites are included here, as are a handful of tunes that predate their association with Berry Gordy and Motown. The initial five-man incarnation came together as the Distants (whose "Come On" is the opening selection of the set in 1959) -- featuring Otis Williams, Eldridge Bryant, and the distinctive bass pipes of Melvin Franklin -- linked up with the Primes' Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams, first as the Elgins and ultimately the Temptations. Drawing from the copious songwriting of Smokey Robinson, Norman Whitfield, and the formidable trio of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland, they racked up a considerable cache of classic recordings. Unfortunately, the personal problems of tenor David Ruffin (who had replaced Bryant) created an insurmountable rift with his bandmates, and he was replaced by one-time Contours member Dennis Edwards. Kendricks and Paul Williams would both leave shortly thereafter, and any hopes for the original members to work together again was dashed when Williams committed suicide on August 17, 1973. With Damon Harris and Richard Street, the Temps were able to recapture their former glory with the chart-topper "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," but after Harris departed, the Temptations became completely disenfranchised from Motown by the mid-'70s. Despite a lack of hits in 1982, Ruffin returned to the fold, as did Kendricks, for the highly publicized but short-lived Reunion album and tour. While Emperors of Soul glosses over this latter era on discs four and five, only avid fans and dedicated enthusiasts will probably venture beyond the '70s fare. There are a few rarities scattered throughout, most notably early singles such as "Oh, Mother of Mine" b/w "Romance Without Finance" from 1961, "I'll Love You 'Til I Die" and "I Couldn't Cry if I Wanted To" circa 1962, and "(Talkin' 'Bout) Nobody But My Baby" the following year. In terms of unreleased material, there is "Witchcraft (For Your Love)" circa 1963, "I Got Heaven Right Here on Earth" from 1966, and from 1967 there is "Angel Doll" as well as a cover of "Ol' Man River." The accompanying 80-page book is a great read and replete with photos and a thorough Temptations discography. ~ Lindsay Planer
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Come On The Temptations 2:15
  3. 2 Oh, Mother of Mine The Temptations 2:15
  4. 3 Romance Without Finance The Temptations 2:47
  5. 4 Check Yourself The Temptations 2:41
  6. 5 Dream Come True The Temptations 3:10
  7. 6 Mind Over Matter (I'm Gonna Make You Mine) The Temptations 2:59
  8. 7 I'll Love You 'Til I Die The Temptations 2:46
  9. 8 Paradise The Temptations 2:46
  10. 9 Slow Down Heart The Temptations 2:37
  11. 10 I Couldn't Cry If I Wanted To The Temptations 2:38
  12. 11 Witchcraft (For Your Love) [Previously Unreleased] The Temptations 2:27
  13. 12 I Want a Love I Can See The Temptations 2:29
  14. 13 The Further You Look, the Less You See The Temptations 2:14
  15. 14 Farewell My Love The Temptations 2:42
  16. 15 A Tear from a Woman's Eyes The Temptations 2:33
  17. 16 The Way You Do the Things You Do The Temptations 2:37
  18. 17 I'll Be in Trouble The Temptations 3:16
  19. 18 The Girl's Alright with Me The Temptations 2:52
  20. 19 Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue) The Temptations 2:10
  21. 20 Baby, Baby I Need You The Temptations 2:36
  22. 21 My Girl The Temptations 2:54
  23. 22 (Talking 'Bout) Nobody But My Baby The Temptations 2:42
  24. 23 It's Growing The Temptations 2:56
  25. 24 You'll Lose a Precious Love The Temptations 2:25
  26. 25 Since I Lost My Baby The Temptations 2:47
  27. 26 You've Got to Earn It The Temptations 2:36
  28. 27 My Baby The Temptations 2:56
  29. 28 Don't Look Back The Temptations 2:52
  30. 1 Get Ready The Temptations 2:35
  31. 2 Fading Away The Temptations 2:35
  32. 3 Ain't Too Proud to Beg The Temptations 2:30
  33. 4 Too Busy Thinking About My Baby The Temptations 2:38
  34. 5 Who You Gonna Run To The Temptations 3:3
  35. 6 Beauty Is Only Skin Deep The Temptations 2:19
  36. 7 I Got Heaven Right Here on Earth [Previously Unreleased] The Temptations 2:50
  37. 8 (I Know) I'm Losing You The Temptations 2:25
  38. 9 All I Need The Temptations 3:15
  39. 10 Sorry Is a Sorry Word The Temptations 2:26
  40. 11 I'm Doing It All The Temptations 2:29
  41. 12 No More Water in the Well The Temptations 3:4
  42. 13 You're My Everything The Temptations 3:8
  43. 14 Just One Last Look The Temptations 2:42
  44. 15 Angel Doll [Previously Unreleased] The Temptations 2:28
  45. 16 (Loneliness Made Me Realize) It's You That I Need The Temptations 2:35
  46. 17 Don't Send Me Away The Temptations 2:50
  47. 18 Hello, Young Lovers The Temptations 2:54
  48. 19 Ol' Man River [Previously Unreleased] The Temptations 4:46
  49. 20 I Wish It Would Rain The Temptations 2:52
  50. 21 I Truly, Truly Believe The Temptations 2:42
  51. 22 I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You) The Temptations 3:34
  52. 23 Please Return Your Love to Me The Temptations 2:20
  53. 24 How Can I Forget The Temptations 1:42
  54. 25 For Once in My Life The Temptations 3:45
  55. 26 My Girl [Mono Version] The Temptations 2:51
  56. 1 Cloud Nine The Temptations 3:33
  57. 2 Why Did She Have to Leave Me(Why Did She Have to Go?) The Temptations 3:7
  58. 3 I'm Gonna Make You Love Me The Temptations 3:4
  59. 4 I'll Try Something New The Temptations 2:22
  60. 5 Runaway Child, Running Wild The Temptations 4:44
  61. 6 Don't Let the Joneses Get You Down The Temptations 4:37
  62. 7 I Can't Get Next to You The Temptations 2:51
  63. 8 Message from a Black Man The Temptations 6:1
  64. 9 War The Temptations 3:11
  65. 10 Psychedelic Shack The Temptations 4:14
  66. 11 Hum Along and Dance The Temptations 3:54
  67. 12 Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today) The Temptations 4:0
  68. 13 Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite the World) The Temptations 4:9
  69. 14 Just My Imagination (RunningAway With Me) The Temptations 3:49
  70. 15 Take a Look Around The Temptations 3:8
  71. 16 It's Summer The Temptations 2:53
  72. 17 Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are?) The Temptations 2:51
  73. 18 I Ain't Got Nothing The Temptations 3:43
  74. 19 Mother Nature The Temptations 3:8
  75. 20 Papa Was a Rollin' Stone The Temptations 6:55
  76. 1 Masterpiece The Temptations 4:20
  77. 2 Plastic Man The Temptations 4:13
  78. 3 Hey Girl (I Like Your Style) The Temptations 4:32
  79. 4 Law of the Land [Previously Unreleased][Alternate Mix] The Temptations 4:58
  80. 5 Let Your Hair Down The Temptations 2:37
  81. 6 Heavenly The Temptations 3:50
  82. 7 You've Got My Soul On Fire The Temptations 3:46
  83. 8 Happy People The Temptations 3:36
  84. 9 Shakey Ground The Temptations 4:0
  85. 10 Glasshouse The Temptations 3:55
  86. 11 A Song for You The Temptations 4:44
  87. 12 Memories The Temptations 5:59
  88. 13 Keep Holdin' On The Temptations 3:12
  89. 14 Darling, Stand By Me (Song for My Woman) The Temptations 3:44
  90. 15 Who Are You The Temptations 3:42
  91. 16 In a Lifetime The Temptations 3:9
  92. 17 Power The Temptations 4:8
  93. 18 Isn't the Night Fantastic The Temptations 4:15
  94. 19 Aiming at Your Heart The Temptations 3:32
  95. 1 Standing On the Top, Pt. 1 The Temptations 4:19
  96. 2 Sail Away The Temptations 4:13
  97. 3 Treat Her Like a Lady The Temptations 4:13
  98. 4 My Love Is True (Truly for You) The Temptations 6:6
  99. 5 Do You Really Love Your Baby The Temptations 4:8
  100. 6 Magic The Temptations 5:12
  101. 7 Lady Soul The Temptations 4:29
  102. 8 I Wonder Who She's Seeing Now The Temptations 4:21
  103. 9 Look What You Started The Temptations 4:28
  104. 10 Soul to Soul The Temptations 4:17
  105. 11 Special The Temptations 4:23
  106. 12 My Kind of Woman [Previously Unreleased] The Temptations 4:5
  107. 13 Hoops of Fire The Temptations 4:16
  108. 14 Error of Our Ways [Previously Unreleased] The Temptations 5:13
  109. 15 Givin' U the Best [Previously Unreleased] The Temptations 4:47
  110. 16 Elevator Eyes [Previously Unreleased] The Temptations 4:2
  111. 17 Blueprint for Love [Previously Unreleased] The Temptations 3:52

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