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Album Review

Some feel Eddie Kendricks' solo career was a bust. Not true. Only when compared with his Hall-of-Fame years with the Temptations does the topic even merit discussion. Kendricks had two number-one hits, many pop hits, and was a mainstay on the R&B charts throughout the '70s. Some singers record for years and never crack the Pop 100. Solo, he wasn't the road dog he was with the Temptations (who, to this day, often do promotions on their off days), but his live concerts were well-attended and applauded. This collection features many recordings that other Kendricks' compilations have neglected, many from the two albums he recorded in Philadelphia under Norman Harris: He's a Friend and Goin' Up in Smoke. The two number ones, "Keep on Truckin'" and "Boogie Down," are here, but so are abandoned jewels like "Honey Brown," "Never Gonna Leave You," and Ron Tyson's "A Part of Me" — three of his best ballads. "Can I," the ballad that evolves into a jump tune, is an urban favorite that gets updated every decade. Also of note are "He's a Friend," a gospel tune; the wistful "Just Memories"; and "The Newness Is Gone." Covering Kendricks' career with 18 tracks is impossible, and there's a lot missing, but hopefully a box set featuring the cream of the thin man's Motown, Arista, Atlantic, and Ms. Dixie recordings will drop one day.


Born: 17 December 1939 in Union Springs, AL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Known for both his years with the Temptations and his major solo hits of the 1970s, Eddie Kendricks was among the many soul legends who did his part to put Motown on the map. The expressive vocalist (who often sang in a falsetto), born Edward James Kendrick, grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, but it was Detroit's Motown label that made him a star. Kendricks was still living in Alabama in the late '50s when he formed the Primes with Kell Osborne and Temptation-to-be Paul Williams. After moving from Alabama...
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