The Temptations

Solid Rock

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Solid Rock spawned two hits, the rockish "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)" written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield with David Ruffin foremost on their minds, and "Take a Look Around," a slow lilting social commentary number featuring Richard Street and Damon Harris. Whitfield put a totally new arrangement on "Stop the War Now," popularized Edwin Starr and turned the rocker into a mammoth head song. It begins with bass singer Melvin Franklin reciting the Lord's Prayer on top of a slow syncopated beat before mushrooming for more than 15 minutes into some classic-'70 psychedelic music wherein Whitfield made good use of his bag of studio tricks. Every time you listen you hear something new. It was not for everybody though, as many thought it was a waste of space and weird beyond comprehension. A rendition of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" is one of the better cuts, Street and Harris again take turns at lead, while the others perform their background gymnastics. Whitfield was known for recording the same song with different Motown artists, varying the arrangements to keep them from sounding similar, but on "It's Summer" he went one better by recording the same song on the same group twice; this version has Dennis Edwards singing lead, the previous version was led by Melvin Franklin, both versions are equally as effective, on this rendition Franklin's low bass plays a prominent role in the background, and the Temptations' harmonies are heavenly. Two other cuts, "The End of Our Road," and "What It Is," are indistinguishable remakes. "Smooth Sailing" led by Damon Harris, is an upbeat tune about being in love that lacks bite and is saddled with adolescent lyrics.

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