Classics: The Temptations – Treat Her Like A Lady (Gordy)
Totalizing some 57 albums since their debut back in 1964, The Temptations have inevitably gone thru various mutations. From a period to another. But also upon the various changes of their line-ups. Not to mention their collaborations with way different producers.
Setting up themselves first as a Doo-Wop group. Then coming to deliver some of the most beautiful pages in the history of Soul Music. They would embrace psychedelic vibes along with producer Norman Whitfield in the first half of the 70’s. Then get back to a reputedly more classic repertoire, although eventually venturing into R&B territories in the 80’s. From ‘Standing On The Top’ with production work by the likes of Rick James in 1982 to ‘Look What You Started’ 5 years after. Not to mention ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’…
One of the highlights from their 1984 ‘Truly For You’ album, ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’ saw them working with a dream team. From producers Al McKay and Ralph Johnson, remembered for their work with Earth, Wind & Fire. To arranger Victor Carstaphen who contributed shaping the Philadelphia Sound with MFSB, People’s Choice or Teddy Pendergrass. The Temptations delivering one of their most uplifting gems as a result. With lead singer Ali-Ollie Woodson‘s performance standing as the icing on the cake. Don’t you think?
– From Detroit, MI, the group went thru different names, beginning with The Primes and lastly The Voicemasters by the beginning of the sixties. This before turning themselves into The Temptations and sign a record deal with Motown in 1962. With Otis Williams, Elbridge ‘Al’ Bryant, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams standing as the original members of the band. And other luminaries such as David Ruffin, Dennis Edwards and Damon Harris joinin’ along with time. Then, last not not least, Ron Tyson and G.C. Cameron to name a few.
The Temptations released their debut-single – ‘Check Yourself’ – back in 1961 on Motown subsidiary label Miracles Records. Eventually scoring their first #1 US R&B hit in 1964 with ‘The Way You Do The Things You Do’. Then toppin’ the Billboard US Hot 100 the same year with ‘My Girl’. Meanwhile opening an impressive series of hits during the following years. From ‘Don’t Look Back’ to ‘Get Ready’, ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg’ and ‘You’re My Everything’. But also ‘Cloud Nine’ and ‘I Second That Emotion’. This in addition to ‘Psychedelic Shack’, ‘Ball Of Confusion’, ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’ and ‘Masterpiece’. Not to mention ‘Standing On The Top’ along with Rick James or ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’ among others.
Like Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang and / or The Commodores, The Temptations pretty much went thru two major periods. The first as a Doo-Wop/Soul band with production work courtesy of Smokey Robinson. And the second seeing them turning themselves into Psychedelic Soul pioneers along with producer Norman Whitfield. This resulting in extra gems such as ‘Plastic Man’ and ‘Law Of The Land’…
– Raised in Town Creek, AL, Detroit, MI nativeAli-Ollie Woodson is best remembered as the lead singer of The Temptations. He first joined from 1984 to 1986 (replacing Dennis Edwards), then from 1988 to 1996. His biggest contribution to the group’s success is most likely the memorable ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’. A song which he co-wrote and co-produced meanwhile singing lead and playing keyboards, with arrangements courtesy of Vic Cartstaphen. Taken from the 1984 ‘Truly For You’ album, which went to #2 position on the U.S. R&B charts.
Hospitalized for several weeks, Woodson sadly died in Los Angeles, CA on May 30, 2010, after having battled against leukemia for nearly eighteen months. He was 58.
– A native of New Orleans, LA, Albert Philip McKay had his first break soon after finishing High School. This while accompanying a bandmate to an Ike & Tina Turner‘s rehearsal. And eventually impressing Ike with his left-handed playing guitar skills. And the same way he did with the latter, he would do with Sammy Davis, Jr. Although demonstrating this time his mastery of the then new Wah-wah pedal. Before comin’ to tour with Isaac Hayes among others…
McKay joined Earth, Wind & Fire to fill the void created by Roland Bautista‘s departure after the release of their 1972 ‘Last Days And Time’ album. A band member first, he would later add his voice (just like Charles Stepney) to the songwriting/production team of the band along with Maurice White. Eventually penning ‘Singasong’ back in 1975, then ‘September’ 3 years after. This before sharing the production duties with White on ‘Boogie Wonderland’ featuring The Emotions in 1979. Eventually writing the memorable ‘Best Of My Love’ for them in 1977. But also producing Renn Woods‘ debut-album, ‘Out Of The Woods’, in 1979. Itself mostly remembered for ‘Everybody Get Up’.
Al McKay left Earth, Wind & Fire soon after the release of their ‘Faces’ album which saw the light by the end of 1980. With a then returning Roland Bautista replacing him.
McKay‘s name also appeared along with the ones of Central Line, A Taste Of Honey and Glenn Jones. Not to mention Finis Henderson or The Temptations for whom he produced ‘Skip To My Lou’ and ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’. His departure from E, W & F never got synonymous with anger though. And it’s no surprising we saw him reuniting with former members of the band. Meanwhile givin’ birth to Al McKay Allstars back in the dawn of the Third Millenium. Then subsequently releasing the ‘Al Dente’ album in 2001.
The freshly squeezed ‘Heed The Message’ most likely sounds like the jam that could get them to be topping the charts. This with new arrangements courtesy of Joey Negro. Meanwhile a new album is in the pipeline, enthuzes McKay on his own website…