December 31, 2010 Playlist

"1990" by The Temptations (1973)
The Temptations  "1990"  1973 (USA)
For New Year's Eve, we look to the future.  One of my favorite tropes in old records, films and TV is the "past vision of a future that never came to be."  And since this album is named for the once-futuristic year Nineteen-Ninety -- now nearly 21 years in the past -- let's look at one of the past's great futuristic soundmakers.  Norman Whitfield was a songwriter and producer for the Motown record label who took over helming The Temptations' sessions from Smokey Robinson at the end of the 1960's.  Whitfield used the group as a vehicle to create some of the most extravagant "progressive soul" records of all time, climaxing in 1973 with Masterpiece (featuring an orchestral 14 minute title track) and this album (featuring a 14 minute song about flying saucers!), which was the last LP Whitfield made with the group.
The Temps were one of Motown's biggest acts for more than a decade -- first, here's the classic lineup featuring David Ruffin's lead vocals on "I'm Losing You".  After Ruffin was fired from the group, Dennis Edwards took over his spot during the psychedelic era -- here's a string of their classic Norman Whitfield era hits:  "Cloud Nine" kicked things off, and "Psychedelic Shack" made their new direction obvious, while "Ball of Confusion" was a rare political statement from the group (Whitfield originally wanted them to do the song "War", which became a #1 hit for Edwin Starr instead.)  Another far-out soul group produced by Whitfield was the rather strange The Undisputed Truth, who dressed very psychedelic and had a hit with "Smiling Faces".
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year (label) Country
Lee Michaels Day Of Change Barrel 1970 USA
Deodato Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001) (Richard Strauss) Prelude 1972 Brazil
The Temptations Ain't No Justice 1990
1973 USA
The Isley Brothers Climbin' Up The Ladder Go For Your Guns 1977 USA
The Temptations 1990 1990
1973 USA
The Temptations Zoom 1990
1973 USA
Screamin' Cyn Cyn & The Pons If That Bitch Screamin' Target Heart Rate 2007 USA
The Temptations Ball Of Confusion Greatest Hits Volume II 1970 USA
The Undisputed Truth Law Of The Land Down To Earth 1974 USA
Sly & The Family Stone In Time Fresh 1973 USA
Curtis Mayfield Future Shock (single edit) Back To The World 1973 USA
Holy Fuck
Red Lights Latin (N) 2010 (Young Turks/XL) Canada
Nice Nice
Big Bounce Extra Wow (N) 2009 (Warp) USA
Caribou Jamelia Swim (N) 2010 (Merge) Canada
Four Tet She Just Likes To Fight There Is Love In You (N) 2010 (Domino) UK
Pantha Du Prince A Nomad's Retreat Black Noise (N) 2010 (Rough Trade) Germany
The Orb featuring David Gilmour Metallic Side (excerpt) Metallic Spheres (N) 2010 (Columbia) UK
Earthling Society Night Of The Scarecrow Forthcoming as yet untitled 2011 album (N) 2010 (as yet unreleased) UK
Black Tempest Biodivinity Ex Proxima (N) 2010 (Tempest Towers) UK
The Guess Who Pain Train (live) Live At The Paramount 1972 Canada
The Guess Who Palmyra The Way They Were rec. 1970, rel. 1976 Canada
The Guess Who Talisman American Woman 1970 Canada
The Guess Who Lie Down #10 1973 Canada
Neil Young Fork In The Road Fork In The Road 2009 Canada
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