Top positive review
Hits from a parallel world
15 December 2004
The Lost And Found series has featured unreleased masters by the Four Tops (a complete debut album of standards in a wholly different style from their norm), Marvin Gaye, the Miracles and others, all demonstrating the same thing - that the Motown machine was a mighty force that threw up far more goodies than it could handle.
This Temptations collection is no exception to that rule. The period between 1962 and 1968 had them quickly rising to fame and fortune with the relatively stable line-up featuring Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and David Ruffin (who joined in 1963) as lead and harmony tenor vocalists, with Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin adding baritone and bass.
After a few plays, some of the tracks here already sound so much a part of the Temptations repertoire that is almost impossible to believe that they have languished in a vault unheard for all this time, and one cannot escape the suspicion that some of these would have made better album tracks than those that made the final track-list. Perhaps some internal politics came into play; producer pressure, or a ruling from Berry Gordy on high.
There are two versions of one song written and produced by Berry Gordy. Camouflage is first heard in a recording from February 1962, the earliest recording on the disc, and then in a supercharged version from March 1967. Three of the songs are familiar from other versions. You've Got To Earn It is known from Temptin' Temptations, but turns up here in an alternative fast version. Ain't Too Proud To Beg is one of their best known songs, a US Top Twenty hit in 1966, but minus the seductive but possibly inappropriate string section that fascinatingly adorns it here. Their magnificent signature tune, My Girl, closes the album in an on-stage version performed without ceremony just 10 days after its release as a single.
One star is lost as all but three have been mastered from mono mixes.
Maybe there is a parallel world where some of these tunes were singles and were part of the fabric of everyday life as they so easily could have been here