August 29, 2017

The Temptations In A Mellow Mood A Jewel Of Classics

The Temptations In A Mellow Mood
A Classic Innovation. Why was it groundbreaking?

writer: Lee Evans

The Temptations In A Mellow Mood was the sixth studio album by The Temptations for the Motown label released in 1967. This album was one of the most magnificent, intricately arranged, harmonically blended, inspirational albums released by the mighty Temptations. Arranged by H. B. Barnum and big band saxophonist John Costa, produced by Jeffrey Bowen and Frank Wilson who wrote and produced hit records for Brenda HollowayMarvin Gayethe Supremesthe Miracles, the Four Topsthe TemptationsEddie Kendricks, and more. Album liner notes done by 'Soupy Sales'

This record, a brainchild of Berry Gordy Jr, was made with the intention of crossing the amazing Temptations over to a broader based white dominated pop market which to a large extent it succeeded. Many fans from the Tempts 'Black' fan base accused them of 'selling out'. The Temptations felt the need to expand from their current formula which gave us #1 chart topping hits like 'My Girl' 'You're My Everything' and 'Get ready'. 

In music history, especially at that time, never has another 'Soul' 'R&B' group took on such a risky undertaking to release an album in a totally different genre and do it so well!. Today, it is a bit more widely received with the likes of Lady Gaga crossing from her well-received edgy dance pop albums to her romp into classic jazz music with the legendary Tony Bennett. 

The 'Mellow Mood' album certainly struck the right chord with me and helped to shape my musical and harmonic palette for my productions and arrangements. It has been a major influence to this day.

Stirring lead vocal performances include Paul William's For Once In My Life and David Ruffin's 'What Now My Love'. Give this playlist a whirl. If you're a fan of the classics ala 'Frank Sinatra', Cole Porter, you'll be a fan!

Check out the full Temptations In A Mellow Mood album with bonus performances here:

Lee Evans is a music veteran, musician, songwriter, producer, and Co-owner/CEO  of JAMBOX Entertainment Studios NYC

The "Classic 5" lineup of the Temptations: 
David Ruffin
 (bottom left), Melvin Franklin (top left), Paul Williams (top right),
Otis Williams
(bottom right),
Eddie Kendricks (center) c. 1965.


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