Saturday, 26 December 2009

The Temptations - Truly For You - 1984 / 2009 - Gordy / PTG

This has to be my favourite Temptations albums of all-time - most certainly of the 1980s at any rate. This album spawned a surprise UK top 10 hit in the form of "Treat Her Like A Lady", and was written and fronted by then-rookie Ali-Ollie Woodson. Even at this early stage Ali demonstrates great raw vocal power and to my mind he has developed and matured with age. Such a classy album, and since release in October 1984 has been staple choonage in my player. The album benefited from the production of Earth, Wind & Fire's superb Al McKay, along with cohort Ralph Johnson, and he continues on in style from where he left of with Finis Henderson's 1983 set. Consisting of very credible dancers and string-laden ballads, "Truly For You" remains a true masterpiece within the Temptations back catalogue. This was released on CD in the US many years ago, and having been deleted become highly sought after. This had also been re-issued, along with "Magic" by Motown in Japan during 2008 but has, I understand, dried up and is now commanding STUPID money. Along comes vinyl masterpiece who breath a third spell of life into this magnificent album and release it at a much more affordable price.

I already note "Treat Her Like A Day" was a smash UK side - a pity it never took off in the US. It's a classy, uptempo 80s soul gem and was a perfect vehicle for a group that had already been around for a quarter of a century! They easily stepped up to the plate and turned in a great performance. The follow-up single was a scorching, string-laden, ballad called "My Love Is True (Truly For You)" and bar a corny monologue courtesy of Otis Williams stands up as well today in 2009 as back in the day. "Memories" is a brilliantly encouraging piece of music, chirpy, happy and totally in the Jay Graydon / Al Jarreau sort of mould. If you're down in the dumps then this sort of material can really raise your spirits. However, for me, the best track by far - possibly my all-time favourite Temptations cut - is the beautiful midtempo "Just To Keep You In My Life". I have very fond memories of this song and today I still spin it VERY regularly. Melvin Franklin's monologue adds weight to the exquisitely paced dancer, "Set Your Love Right" and the set closes on a high with a very capable cover of "I'll Keep My Light In My Window", a cut written by Leonard Caston for his criminally undervalued "Caston & Majors" set back in 1974. An essential album and thanks again to all at Vinyl Masterpiece for believing in this truly magnificent album. So if you're unfortunate enough not to own this...get it now!

Barry Towler

The Vibe Scribe