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The Temptations – All Directions (1972)

August 17, 2019

[Album 659/1001]

“It’s apt. Apt!”
– Lisa Simpson

I appreciate a good apt title name.

Prior to All Directions, I pictured My Girl when I thought of The Temptations.

Well I guess you’d say this album took me for a ride all around the compass.

If gentle soul ballads like My Girl would be the equivalent of facing North, the opening track, Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On, takes a right turn. It’s funky & sure enough (sho nuff), it’s a solid choice to get things moving.220px-Tempts-alldirections

However, if I thought the opener would be an outlier, and they’d go right back to gentle balladeering, I couldn’t have been much more mistaken. Though its solid groove/horn work shouldn’t have been all that surprising, the recurring racial slurs in Run Charlie Run would qualify as a complete 180º from my initial/incomplete picture of the group.

The unexpected journey continued Eastward with the nearly 12-minute track, Papa Was a Rolling Stone. With the persistent hi-hat cymbal & wah-wah guitar pedal, I was initially reminded of Shaft. The lyrics here also describe a complicated man, maybe only understood by his woman. But in this case, it’s his widow, and it’s impossible not to feel sympathy for the mother character telling her child about their deceased father.

The fourth track, Love Woke Me Up This Morning, returns to more familiar territory and the trip around the musical compass reaches 360º. The positive tune feels tailor-made for the closing scene of a feel-good film.

And that’s only describing the first half of the album!

I’m now keen to explore their other 1001-listed album (Cloud Nine) to see what kind of voyage they lead me on there.


Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to artists that evolve & try new sounds!


From → 1970s

  1. Nothing like some good Temptations.

    • And much of this was nothing like the Temptations I was expecting – fortunately, still good temptations!

  2. Any title that has Sho Nuff in it is worthy of listen that’s​ for sure

  3. I can resist anything, except the Temptations – Oscar Wilde, said that (after listening to this, I believe).

  4. When I wrote a memoir piece on this five years ago (!) the focus was on the story and ‘Papa’. It’s an amazing track – up there with other epics like Traffic’s ‘Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys’ and ‘Kashmir’. Cloud Nine is different again, but certainly worth a listen.

    • I immediately dove into Cloud 9 yesterday – that description fits it nicely, different than All Directions & certainly worth hearing!

  5. Love the funk. I’ll give this a spin.

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