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The Temptations: All the Time

Reviewed by Barry Towler

Rating: 7/ 10

Universal, 2018

1) Stay With Me
2) Earned It
3) Pretty Wings
4) Thinking Out Loud
5) Waitin' On You
6) Remember The Time
7) Be My Wife
8) Still Feel Like Your Man
9) When I Was Your Man
10) Move Them Britches

All The Time is the first new Temptations album in eight years, and to be honest, I thought Otis Williams had decided to chuck in the towel. After 58 years in the business who could blame him?! heart jumped when I saw this release a few days ago. Bit of a mixed bag, this one, but well worth adding to your collection. Suffice to say it is NOT “Still Here”. Personally, I am way tired of albums of cover versions, especially if they tread too close to the original. This album falls into that trap on a number of songs, and one wonders what the point of the exercise is. Interesting, though, is the choice of songs, all of which are recent pop hits in the UK, US and Europe. Now, shocked as you may be, I personally like many of these artists and am quietly surprised at these choices. Some are better than others, but one of these covers is the reason I had to buy this CD IMMEDIATELY!

Sam Smith’s hit “Stay With Me” is given a superb makeover with Temptations magic and Terry Weeks’ excellent chops and classic harmonies wipe the floor with Smith’s woeful whine any day (Gladys Knight also loves this tune and performed it at her gig here the UK last summer to a tee). This comes recommended, as does Ed Sheeran’s beautiful song “Thinking Out Loud”. The guys work a majorly soulful effort on this, giving it a bit of a warm Stax feel. Love it! John Mayer’s quality US hit “When I Was Your Man” is sprinkled with magic and elevated further. These tracks are well worth the money – an a rather inexpensive release too in the UK at £7.99!

My favourite song then...WOW! You may remember Maxwell released an album back in me it was as dull as ditch water and very bland. On it was a track called “Pretty Wings”. Quite nice but nothing memorable. Along comes Otis and the gang and NAIL IT. The song starts with harmony that makes my hairs stand up on my arms. The deep, rich bass, handclaps, lazy guitar and ethereal keys smack of hot summers and warm breezes. Seriously, I must have played this song over and over and over again on repeat. It floors me, and elevates this album from OK to essential. It ranks as one of the best cuts they have laid down this side of the millennium.

The new material now. Only one really does anything for me, and that is the superb Dennis Nelson penned “Waitin’ On You”. Dennis contributed to a lot of their 1990s material (Emperors Of Soul etc), as well as collaboration with fellow Motown act For Lovers Only. This beaty ballad is beautifully harmonised and sweetened with strings and fronted by...Terry Weeks! I cannot recommend this tune enough. “Be My Wife” is pleasant as a midtempo floater and the funky jam “Move Your Britches” which has been written by rookie Larry Braggs, wraps up the set. I can easily leave the rest, but I strongly recommend the CD for the aforementioned tracks. Welcome back, guys!

Barry Towler,
The Vibe Scribe

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