“All Directions” by The Temptations - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1972Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

The singing quintet - now without David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks - released “All Directions” in July, 1972, and it did very well for them in the States, rising to #2 in the Billboard 200 and was regarded in many quarters as their high watermark, kinda proving that the group's identity was stronger than that of any individual. Personally, I find it to be too sickly too often for my tastes; the high pitched vocals and overly smooth strings often get on my nerves to be honest. Bizarrely, the two tracks which resonate well with rebel sensibilites are the two which the group fought “tooth and nail” to exclude, although they maybe had a fair point with regards to the racially controversial “Run Charlie Run”, which concerned itself with the perceived phenomenon of white's fleeing towns and cities due to incoming non-whites; they were asked to repeat the phrase “the niggers are comin'!” in an affected Caucasian accent. If it gets the message across it's worth doing I reckon, but I can understand the dilemma. Dominating the album is their 12 minute pièce de résistance, “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”, a cover version of a recent single by Undisputed Truth, brilliantly arranged by producer Norman Whitfield, a masterclass in shade and tension. The five act as siblings, taking turns to ask momma about their deceased father. Her response is devastating: “Papa was a rollin' stone, wherever he laid his hat was his home, and when he died, all he left us was alone”. Brilliantly, the (edited) single version would go on to hit #1 in the Billboard 100, in spite of the gritty subject matter. Commercial and critical aims were realized; the holy grail for any artist.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:56] 3.5.png The Temptations - Funky Music Sho’ Nuff Turns Me On [live] (Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong) Disco / Funk
A2 [02:59] 6.1.png The Temptations - Run Charlie Run (Jan Foreman, Maurice C. King) Soul
A3 [11:45] 9.5.png The Temptations - Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone (Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong) Soul
B1 [02:38] 3.7.png The Temptations - Love Woke Me Up This Morning (Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson) Soul Ballad
B2 [03:30] 4.5.png The Temptations - I Ain’t Got Nothing (Evans King, Maurice C. King) Pop Ballad
B3 [03:59] 4.1.png The Temptations - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Ewan MacColl) Pop Ballad
B4 [02:54] 3.4.png The Temptations - Mother Nature (Nick Zesses, Dino Fekaris) Soul Ballad
B5 [02:52] 4.0.png The Temptations - Do Your Thing (Isaac Hayes) Soul

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