Picks and Pans Review: The Temptations' 25th Anniversary

updated 09/01/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/01/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Temptations

The first 20 tracks in the three-record Supremes' album pack enough dynamite to set even the most casual pop music fans to singing and swaying. Such old hits as You Can't Hurry Love, You Keep Me Hangin' On and Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart still sound as vital as when they were recorded in the '60s. The last three sides of the set are strictly for die-hard fans and collectors. Among 20 previously unreleased recordings you'll find uninspired versions of The Blue Room and Manhattan, two selections that were dropped from the 1976 album The Supremes Sing Rodgers and Hart. Or you can hear insipid covers of Heigh-Ho and When You Wish Upon a Star from Diana Ross and the Supremes Sing Disney Classics. Motown has even dredged up a 1965 Coca-Cola commercial. To the tune of Baby Love, the girls sing: "I dig your style/ The way you smile/ Let's have a Coke/ And talk awhile." The Temptations' two-record package, on the other hand, includes a few previously unreleased cuts that would make interesting additions to anybody's collection. Soulmate, apparently an outtake from 1975's A Song for You LP, is a melancholy torcher sung by Dennis Edwards, and Truly Yours features the anguished vocals of David Ruffin at his love-stung best. Then there's the Tempts whipping themselves into a frenzy on live performances of Can't Get Next to You, Cloud Nine and Papa Was a Rollin' Stone. The speed and precision with which these guys trade off lead vocals, despite several personnel changes over the years, is the stuff that still makes their concert audiences go wild. This double LP sputters to a start with four unremarkable tunes the group recorded before it hit its stride in 1964. But from cut five forward, you'll hear the Temptations' remarkable music machine in excellent running order. (Motown)

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