Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Temptations - Wish it Would Rain 1968

This is another entry in the 21st century British two-on-one reissues of the Temptations' classic albums. These are two of the most unalike of all of the group's albums, and also a completely natural pairing -- In a Mellow Mood was the Temptations' effort, urged by Berry Gordy, to push their sound toward an adult audience, while its immediate follow-up, Wish It Would Rain, was a return to their soul repertoire just a few months later, the prior album having done its job by getting them a much-sought gig at New York's Copacabana. Perhaps in deference to the tastes of most fans, the more soulful Wish It Would Rain tracks come first on this CD, and these are ear-opening in this new edition -- one even gets a sense of the action on the bells in the introduction of "Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got," and the voices of David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks (and even Melvin Franklin in his basso showcase "I Truly, Truly Believe") are so close that the singers seem like they're in the same room with you. In a Mellow Mood fits together chronologically with its successor, but the musical textures between the two sets of recordings are so different that they're jarring to hear at first. This material -- for which the group had a genuine affinity -- has a bigger, more booming sound and, with a couple of exceptions, is nowhere near as exciting as the companion volume. The vocals are impressive for their virtuosity, however, and Paul Williams' rendition of "The Impossible Dream," in particular, benefits from the clean, sharp mastering of this edition, which only brings out greater radiance in the singing. AMG.

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