Eddie Kendricks

Slick

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Slick (1977) marked Eddie Kendricks' final association with Motown Records' subsidiary Tamla. So, he went back to his old Motor City stomping grounds hooking up with former collaborator Leonard Caston and a few of the first-generation Funk Brothers -- including Eddie Willis (guitar), Robert White (guitar), Uriel Jones (drums), and Richard "Pistol" Allen (drums). While certainly not a full-fledged return to his glory days, Kendricks' sweet tenor hasn't lost a bit of its charm. Judging by the strength and command he exhibits throughout, his precious falsetto has not failed him either. Nowhere is that better displayed than the funky and danceable opener "Something Shady (Is Going On)" or the retro doo wop "Baby." "I Want To Live (My Life with You)" is a different kind of ballad with a desire reflected in the palpable sense of longing. Even more opulent is the smooth and suitably sexy groove of "Intimate Friends," giving Kendricks the perfect venue for his enticing vocals. He uncovers a similar sensuality on the upbeat "Then Came You" -- which shouldn't be confused with the Spinners/Dionne Warwick mid-'70s hit of the same name. The jazzy take of Seals & Crofts' "Diamond Girl" adopts a call-and-response between the lead and backing singers that gives this reading a hint of gospel overtones. Although Slick concluded his Motown tenure, Kendricks continued to record until the mid-'80s and took place in the reunion of the original Temptations. This prompted a joining of forces with his former Temps co-lead David Ruffin and the dynamic duo of '80s blue-eyed soul, Hall & Oates. The results were unanimously lauded and captured on Live at the Apollo (1985) with a medley containing the Temptations' hits "My Girl" and "The Way You Do the Things You Do" that made it into the Top 20. Slick can also be found as part of Hip-O Select's limited-edition, triple-CD The Thin Man: The Motown Solo Albums, Vol. 2 (2006) anthology.