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Soul Express Album of the Month

October 1998

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Phoenix Rising
(US Motown CD, 1998)
1) Here After 2) Stay 3) False Faces 4) How Could He Hurt You 5) I'm Calling You (interlude) 6) This Is My Promise 7) My Love 8) Tempt Me 9) If I Give You My Heart 10) Take Me In Your Arms 11) That's What Friends Are For 12) Just Like I Told You 13) Stay (remix)

If we forget their For Lovers Only set, then I can say with some conviction that this is THE BEST TEMPTATIONS CD to date. For Lovers Only was a masterpiece, and this set is as essential, but in a different way. I cannot stop playing this CD as every track is strong, soulful and is aimed at the QUALITY soul lover.

Although the line-up has changed again, their unique sound remains the same and it is a tribute to the strength and commitment of Otis Williams to keep the flame burning. I cannot fault one single track on here - all tracks are worthy of the highest praise possible. A track that will both surprise you and excite you is the first track to be lifted as a single, which is Stay. The Temptations actually sample themselves with the bassline and guitar riff of My Girl and with the production magnificence of Narada Michael Walden they deliver a top-drawer and totally unmissable summertime smash. This is the sort of track (and album) that grabs your attention.

The following cuts will impress you greatly. If ballads are your bag then there are plenty, including a more downtempo reading of For Lovers Only's Take Me in Your Arms. This is mouth-watering SOUL at its very best. Terry Weeks of For Lovers Only is a fully-fledged member of the group now and he fits like a hand in a glove. There are some classy dancers and midtempos too that defies the current obsession with the tired hip-hop formula. It seems that the guys have gone into the studio and have delivered us a CD of enormous appeal, longevity and quality that I imagine that creativity was taken out of the hands of Motown executives!!! This is the sort of soul CD that REALLY sorts the men from the boys! Do not delay in acquiring this album, and do NOT overlook it. Every track a quality cut and an album that cannot be beaten. SOUL HEAVEN.
- Barry Towler

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