This double-CD set is the first of two anthologies to gather the solo work of Temptations co-founder Eddie Kendricks. Included are his early-'70s long-players All by Myself, People...Hold On, Eddie Kendricks, and For You. Although he had gained considerable distinction as a key component in the Temptations during the 1960s, by decade's end the group was being torn apart by substance abuse and egos. David Ruffin's departure was followed by Kendricks -- who had actually already begun to record All by Myself prior to officially leaving the Temps. His debut project was sensitively produced by Motown stalwart Frank Wilson, who showcases Kendricks at his best and most diverse. The material ranges from the funky "Let's Go Back to Day One" through to the Philly soul score that weaves beneath the remake of Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We." People...Hold On takes Kendricks down a path of introspective, socially conscious themes -- much like labelmate Marvin Gaye had done with his landmark What's Going On in 1971. Among the standouts are the optimistic "Someday We'll Have a Better World" and the passionate "My People...Hold On." Much more personal are the inspired "Day by Day" and the driving groove that propels "Let Me Run into Your Lonely Heart" -- all reconfirming Kendricks' stature as a substantial singer. Although there were several singles from All By Myself and People...Hold On that performed admirably on the R&B surveys, the majority didn't create a stir on the pop charts. All that changed, however, with Eddie Kendricks -- which entered the Top 20 R&B and pop LP countdowns. Much of the attention was due to the chart-topping "Keep on Truckin'," which is here in the unedited seven-plus-minute album version. On the other side of the stylistic spectrum are "Each Day I Cry a Little," replete with spoken intro, and the not-to-be-missed remake of "Any Day Now" -- the Burt Bacharach-penned song that Chuck Jackson spun into gold some years earlier. The success of "Keep on Truckin'" spilled over to For You, with Kendricks garnering a pair of Top Ten tunes with "One Tear" and his second number one, the refined "Shoeshine Boy." He also covers light rock hits with "If" by Bread and an outstanding interpretation of "Time in a Bottle" that may best Jim Croce's original. Keep on Truckin': The Motown Solo Albums, Vol. 1 is limited to an edition of 5,000 and comes with a full-color glossy 28-page booklet with photos, reproductions of the LP artwork, full credits, and discographical details.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2