Reunion is a very good Temptations album that could have been great. Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were originally rumored to produce this reunion of Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin with the current crop of Temptations. However, the two sides couldn't get the deal done. So Motown rationed out the production assignments to in-house producers Rick James, Smokey Robinson, and others. Seven voices sang on these tracks besides Kendricks and Ruffin, including Dennis Edwards, Glenn Leonard, Richard Street, Melvin Franklin, and Otis Williams, a mini-choir. Considering the voices on hand, they should have spread the leads around. Of the seven tracks, Edwards sings six and Ruffin one, the very ordinary "You Better Beware," written by money man Barrett Strong. Ruffin's vocal sounds rough and he appears to strain trying to reach some notes. Punk-funker Rick James' epic "Standing on the Top" production is the most popular track here, with its dead-on beat, blaring horns, and multiple voices; Rick James himself joins the Tempts on this festive song. Kendricks' bluesy falsetto lines on the fade are like cherries topping a sundae. Relishing the opportunity to produce Dennis Edwards, Smokey writes two beauties for the churchy belter: the introspective, engaging "Backstage" and the understated "More on the Inside," the second release from this set. Kerry Gordy, one of Berry Gordy sons, co-wrote two in-your-face cold-blooded stompers, the so-true "Money Hards to Get" and the frantic "Lock It In the Pocket," both excellent and both left for dead on the album. Edwards displays his balladry ability on a stunning rendition of "I've Never Been to Me" originally done by Charlene. Not a bad album, but the product doesn't equal the sum of the voices and producers. Why wasn't Eddie Kendricks given a lead? Or Richard Street and the Kendricks-sounding Leonard? Fans would have loved to hear the two falsettos featured on a song, or Kendricks and Ruffin co-leading as they did on "You're My Everything" and the lesser-known but just as brilliant "Born to Love" from The Temptin' Temptations.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Hamilton
feat: Rick James