The Temptations

House Party

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Longtime producer/writer Norman Whitfield left Motown in 1974 to start his own label at Warner Brothers, while his primary group, The Temptations, stayed behind. In his absence the group was desperately searching for a style and new producers. This 1975 set collects both so-so sessions from 1974 as well as cuts made to bide time between A Song for You and 1976's Wings of Love. Releasing an album of "leftovers" for a group of The Temptations stature is still a little silly, but Motown thought it was a good idea in case anyone would forget them in the course of a year. The 1974 songs are the lowlights: "It's Just a Matter of Time" and a cover of Bobby Womack's "Can't Stop a Man in Love" were dated by the time tracks were laid. The Steve Cropper produced tracks, "Johnny Porter" and "The Ways of a Grown up Man" attempts to attain the Whitfield production aesthetic with little success. This album's best tracks were recorded in 1975. The well-produced gaudy funk of Eddie Holland and Brian Holland's "Keep Holding On" gave lead singer Dennis Edwards plenty of room to wail. That track, along with the smooth "Darlin' Stand By Me (Song For My Woman)," landed on the groups 1994 Emperors of Soul box set. The album's best track, the ballad "If I Don't Love You This Way," is warm, early '70s Motown benefiting a strong lead from Richard Street. Despite the good tracks House Party is not one of the group's essential albums.

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