The Four Tops


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By the time the Four Tops moved to Casablanca Records in the early '80s, they were cold commercially and, vocal prowess aside, bore little resemblance to the soul group that achieved superstardom on Motown (or even the one that had enjoyed success on ABC in the early to mid-'70s). This 1981 album does have the big hit "When She Was My Girl," which narrowly missed the pop Top Ten, as well as a couple tracks ("Don't Walk Away" and "Tonight I'm Gonna Love You All Over") that were smaller hits in the U.K. Due much more to the material and arrangements than the singing, it's fairly faceless early-'80s R&B, occasionally marked by distinguishing tics like a stirring Levi Stubbs vocal phrase, the uplifting backup harmonies on the verse of "Don't Walk Away," and the melodica (by session musician Ralph Schuckett) on "When She Was My Girl." The production is lush in a very dated way, sometimes with a late-period disco aftertaste, and the slower numbers in particular are slick urban contemporary tunes.

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