The Temptations – Gettin’ Ready

Today’s album:

The Temptations – Gettin’ Ready.

Listen to it here: http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/Temptations+Gettin+Ready/66608970
Read about them here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Temptations

Fun Facts: Oh there are tons of facts about them and at least one tv mini series.  So let’s just pick one specifically about this album…

Norman Whitfield had requested the opportunity to write for the group and in 1966, Berry Gordy promised him that if Robinson’s “Get Ready”, with Eddie Kendricks on lead, failed to chart in the Top 20, Whitfield would be allowed to produce the next song. “Get Ready” subsequently missed its mark, and Gordy issued the Whitfield-produced “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, with David Ruffin on lead, as the next single. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” outperformed “Get Ready” on the Billboard charts, and Whitfield became the Temptations’ new main producer. He began pulling the group away from the ballad-based productions espoused by Robinson, toward a harder-edged and brass-heavy soul sound reminiscent of James Brown.

 

Ali:

The Temptations – Getting’ Ready

Preconceptions:
Wall-of-sound-Cadillac-records-type music, right?

Mood:
I’m pretty exhausted. I was up late, but at least I’m happy about it!

After Listening:
This was exactly the sound that I was expecting. It was a little surprising that so many of these songs were about rejection and heartbreak. Whenever I think of doo-wop R&B I think of a ponytailed girl in saddle shoes and a letterman jacketed guy holding each other close in a gymnasium. Then Marty McFly runs out and sings about Johnny being damn good and his hand doesn’t go away and he is still LATE to save Doc Brown. That guy is terrible with time management. http://www.nerdist.com/2009/01/an-open-letter-from-doc-brown-to-marty-mcfly/
Ultimately, the music wasn’t compelling enough for me to take note of each song, so the score suffered from that.

Favorite track/tracks:
Ain’t Too Proud To Beg – Who doesn’t like this song?

Least favorite track/tracks:
Fading Away – The song was pretty boring.

Overall (1-5 stars):  3

Josh:

The Temptations – Gettin’ Ready: 3.5 stars

Precon: Classic Motown and Big D 103 mainstays before Big D started playing Bon Jovi. I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw whatever variation of them was kicking around in the 80’s at the annual Lyman Auditorium oldies show. I might remember if I hadn’t been so distracted by the crazy lady in the poodle skirt who danced in the aisles.

Favorite Track: Ain’t Too Proud to Beg but I can’t really hear it with fresh ears so an alternative would be Little Miss Sweetness for effectively comparing a woman to a malted milkshake.
Least Favorite: I’ve Been Good to You

I’m relieved “Say You” isn’t a Lionel Richie song.
“Fading Away” sounds familiar. I’m gonna add “like smoke from a cigarette” to the list of retired pop song analogies.
“Who You Gonna Run To” is a bit odd musically. Kinda has a calypso vibe. I have no idea who does the lead on this one, but I prefer this vocal style to the falsetto stuff.
“Not Now” is an interesting change of pace. Not the greatest song but refreshing after what seemed like a lot of filler.
I like most of the musical arrangements on this album, and I was often paying more attention to them than the vocals, which could have been stepped up I think. It started to lose me halfway through, but I gave it a second listen and was able to appreciate the deep cuts a little more. I would say I enjoyed it on the whole. A good Valentine’s Day record.

Magic the Gathering Card: Torch Song

Marissa:

The Temptations-Gettin’ Ready

Preconceived Notions: Curiosity pick of mine, basically because I wanted to be guaranteed of hearing “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” at least some point in this season.  I like The Temptations big hits, but finding an album with more than 2 singles I’d heard was difficult.  I realized I’d never heard a whole Temptations album, so might as well go with this one.  Also, I love David Ruffin’s voice.  That I know.

As Listening:
Is there something reminiscent of “On Broadway” going on in “ Lonely, Lonely Man Am I”
“I’ve been Good To You” is pretty much what I was looking for on this album.  A hidden gem that you think to yourself, “HOW have I not heard this before?”  I like it so much it means Mike hates it.  I think I’ve finally figured out my role here.  It’s to be the opposition.
I love how 80% of Temptations songs reference women as some sort of candy or sugary substance.  Appropriate for Valentine’s Day.
Oh come on, the clapping chorus on “Not Now, I’ll Tell You Later”.  There’s no question that I would love that right?  And The Supremes on backing vocals?!  Oh yes, please!    What I wouldn’t have given to be a fly on any Motown recording studio wall between 195 and 1969.

After Listening:  I have to say, I was really worried.  I thought maybe the singles were the only thing going for the album.  Looking back, it does seem like Motown was ridiculously successful at single releases but the albums, as a whole, are certainly on the weak side.  I’m sure there are a million reasons for this, but I was afraid that everything else on the album might be terrible.  And I didn’t want to hear anything terrible from The Temptations.  And while I think that the right singles were chosen (Ain’t Too Proud To Beg has to be one of the best songs to come out of Motown…and maybe out of the 60s) I think that there are some sleeper hits on there.  I’m a little surprised that “Not Now I’ll Tell You Later” didn’t do better, especially as a collaboration with The Supremes, and maybe if it had been released a few years earlier, it would have been a bigger hit, but still, I’m pleasantly surprised that a lot of these songs still seem to hold up, or at least, they make me happy.  And that’s really all I ask for on a record.  Plus any guys with this much style, deserve whatever credit they can get:

Favorite Track(s): Ain’t Too Proud To Beg (I think I became obsessed with this song once I saw The Big Chill, which I probably shouldn’t have seen when I did)/ Not Now I’ll Tell You Later
Least Favorite Track: Fading Away (sounds too similar to other things that they’ve done, but just not as well done.  Sounds like a mashup with “I Wish It Would Rain” as one of the base songs)

Overall: 4

Mike:

Preconceived Notions: You’ve heard the Temptations before.  Everyone has, whether it’s b/c you’re an enthusiast of the group, or on the backing of a brownie commercial.  Me, I always enjoyed Motown and I can’t see this album being anything less good.

After Listening:  Melvin Franklin is the man. If as a vocal group you have a bass voice as strong and definitive as his, then you are bound to have a great sound.  Melvin might even be a little underused on this record, and it still all works out. Musically there is a lot more light funk accompaniment on this record than their earlier stuff – and as pointed out in the intro email I think you have to thank producer Norman Whitfield for that.  And while we’re tempted to heap praise on the group’s singers – let’s acknowledge that these guys did not contribute very much to the writing of these songs.  I don’t really fault them for this, that’s not the way Motown –or really most places operated back then – but let’s just remember the next time we’re harping on some modern day artist for not having the ability to write their own songs, that this phenomena has been going on forever.  So let’s stop and praise the The Funk Brothers who were the main backing band in Motown at the time, and played on nearly every song on this record – and the 5 producers who helped shape this record.

Favorite Tracks:  “Ain’t too Proud to Beg”  – that signature “I knoooww” Ruffin opening sets the mood perfectly between desperation and homage to the ideals of love.
“You’re not an Ordinary Girl”  – not a mega hit, but a solid rock n roll track with the subtle greatness of Melvin below  and Kendricks carry some key moments on top.

Least Favorite: “I’ve been Good to you” – In a way this reminds me of when Frank Zappa used to parody 50’s and 60’s ballad music – in a parody context it could be funny and good.  In the real context of this album however it’s completely formulaic and boring – definitely album filler.

Overall:  4.013 The Temptations are one of those rare acts that have transcended the evolution of  musical tastes for over 50 years.  On this album you get the consensus best lineup of the group, and at least 2 of their best known and loved hits  (Ain’t too Proud to Beg & Get Ready) – and on top of this we get a slight musical directional change from ballads to rock and funk.  While it wouldn’t be til later that the group recorded the perfection of this direction with “Papa was a Rolling Stone” – you can see the seeds that are planted on this very record.   All those things are mega positives, there is some filler here – and maybe that’s the Temptations fault by being contrasted against their own success, still it’s disappointing to hear an effort like “I’ve Been Good to You”  as a promoted single.   Enjoyable if not innovative, this album was the real beginning of The Temptations and deserves a listen.

Paul:

The Temptations – Gettin’ Ready

Preconceptions: I like the hits and I assume I might like one or two of the other cuts on this album. In general I dig Motown stuff, so this should be good. Although, I have to say that I’m not expecting it to blow me out of the water.

After Listening: Pretty good album, but there were definitely a couple of clunker songs that did absolutely nothing for me, and even a couple of moments in which I was annoyed by what I was listening to—such as when they sing the “sweetness!!” part on the Little Miss Sweetness song. Anyway, that annoyed me.

That song Who You Gonna Run To sounds familiar, like it was ripped off from someone else or someone ripped it off from them. In any case, it didn’t really dig that one very much either. Something sounded off about it… and boring, did I mention boring

Speaking of boring, Fading Away is a disappointing snoozefest.

However, in all I would say that Getting’ Ready is a good album from the Motown gallery, a great choice for Valentine’s Day, and a worthy recipient of a positive, if not somewhat lukewarm—but still positive—review from this reviewer.

Favorites: The hits, you know ‘em—but besides those, I enjoyed Lonely, Lonely Man Am I and You’re Not an Ordinary Girl
Least: Fading Away; Who You Gonna Run To; Little Miss Sweetness

Overall: 3.2 stars

Seth:

The Temptations – Getting’ Ready

Preconceptions – Aww, hellz yeah son! I may not have heard all these songs but the ones I gave are classics.

After Listening – Oh. So that’s why I haven’t heard those other songs.

Proud: Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, Getting’ Ready, Not Now I’ll Tell You Later
Begging: Say You, Lonely, Lonely Man Am I, most of the album

Overall: While the hits are great, this album really shows the flaws in Barry Gordy’s cynical singles-based business model. The album hangs a mess of filler on two tent pole singles. The harmonies seem flat on songs like “Who You Gonna Run To”, almost as if they knew it wasn’t worth another take.

Rating: 2.0
Preslisten Guess: 4.5
Season to Date: -0.63

admin (196 Posts)

Record Club began in the cold, dank, snowmageddon scene that was New England of January 2011. We’re probably no different than you. We all work in cubicles, some in smaller, less private cubicles than others; that just means we have to be even sneakier about how we listen to our music. But we have to listen to our music, mostly as a way of saving our own personal sanity. Sometimes our opinions lead us to debates that may or may not be published in their entirety on this site, but I can promise you’ll at least get a glimpse of the way our minds work. The main goal is to find new music we like or find old music that we didn’t know we liked. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes it’s a total and complete disaster. After our ears have rejoiced or stopped bleeding we try something else. This is our pattern, every Tuesday and Thursday. Sometimes, when the club isn’t officially in session, just to keep everyone on their toes, we throw in a theme day. We’re beginning to run low on our original list, so please, if you have albums that you’d like us to review or themes that you’d like to see our playlist of, feel free to contribute. After all, we’re all in this together once we punch the time clock. So if you’re busy (or just plain bored) lurking in your cubicle as you read this join in. After all, life wasn’t meant to be lived staring at a computer screen. I guarantee you, it’s at least more fun when you plug the headphones in.


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