TEMPTATIONS

ALEX

The Bee Gees may have been the undisputed disco kings of the late '70s, but KC & the Legacy is as cutting-edge as tomorrow. As vital as today. As soul-satisfying as yesterday. Legacy is the brilliant new release from the Temptations, the project being called "a high point in the remarkable career of America's premier super-group." In their fifth decade, the Temps bring new freshness and fire to the world of contemporary urban music. Legacy is a non-stop suite of red-hot hits, a bright new mix of sounds, grooves and, above all, soaring voices. Legacy is all about voices. Voices to live by. Voices to love by. Voices to dance to. Voices to convey the grit and grace, the rhythm and romance of modern R&B.

 

"I love this Legacy," says Otis Williams, the creative force behind the Temps' perpetual relevance and reinvention. "We found the right songs and the right producers--Benjamin Wright, Steve "The Scotsman" Harvey, Daniel Weatherspoon-who channeled our energy while maximizing our power. This is my 40th year as a Temptation, and I've never heard our blend of voices sound so smooth and exciting. "Terry Weeks and Ron Tyson, our long-time lead vocalists, are joined by the legendary G.C. Cameron, formerly of the Spinners. The result is thrilling. With the addition of Joe Herndon, one of the best basses in the business, our new lineup is absolutely bullet-proof. We're singing with more fire power than ever. That's the power of Legacy." "Otis Williams is a natural visionary," says Herndon, "the quiet force that leads the background. He incorporates that old-school Motown genius for competitive creativity while keeping the sound current. Otis is the glue." "Singing with the Temps is singing at the very top of the food chain," says Cameron. "And to kick off my association on Legacy with material this strong is more than an honor. It's a blessing."

The dazzling array of songs-from the stepping Chicago-groove of "Love to the Music" to the thick rich harmonies of "You Are Necessary In My Life (The Wedding Song)"-embrace a myriad of seductive moods. "The vibe in the studio was so positive," says Terry Weeks, "so inspiring and so close-knit, I have a hard time telling where my voice stops and G.C. starts. And with Ron and Joe and Otis blending so beautifully, this new ensemble is the best yet." "Listening to the production on songs like 'Mr. Fix It' and 'Something Special," explains Ron Tyson, who is celebrating his 22nd year as a Temptation, "you realize the miracle is more than longevity, even more than the amazing fact that we're still touring the world 40 weeks a year. The miracle is that we're still on the pulse of what's happening musically. We always insist on being judged by the time we keep. And, believe me, in 2004 we're right on time." "If you look at your history," adds Otis, "you see a shift . In the beginning-the Sixties, Seventies, even the Eighties-larger-than-life personalities dominated. David Ruffin. Paul Williams. Eddie Kendricks. Then larger-than-life producers dominated. Smokey Robinson. Holland Dozier Holland. Norman Whitfield. They were genuine geniuses, and I learned from all of them. "But at some point it became clear that our sum was greater than our parts. That magical essence of the Temptations has proven to be more than any one singer or any one producer. That mystique is our Legacy. We aren't celebrating our individual selves. We're celebrating the binding spirit that continues to unify us, the same spirit that makes us bolder and pushes us higher.

"Legacy's signature song is surely 'Still Tempting.' It expresses the unstoppable beating heart of our group. It's about more than simply getting by. It's about our proud history: Self-respect and reaching. Man, we never stop reaching. My goal is to make every new record our best. We want to be tested against the best-and still shine." "At the risk of sounding grandiose, I call the Temps God's group. I say that because there's every reason in the world why we should have expired long ago. Every adversity has come our way. We've tasted anguish. We've tasted tragedy. We've tasted disappointment and frustration. We've passed through decades of changing musical fashion. Yet we're here. Not simply surviving, but thriving."

Legacy lives as a testimony to the musical power of great music, nurtured through the phenomenon of Motown and expanded, year after year, into a triumph of here-and-now hits. Legacy is the latest in that dynamic line of hits, a tribute to the past, the present, and the future of a timeless sound that will always be "Still Tempting."

    

But it was another Casey/Finch original, "Rock Your Baby," that R&B artist George McCrae scored a hit with in 1974 as KC & the Sunshine Band began issuing further albums and singles, quickly scoring big hits on their own. The group then began an impressive run of disco hits: 1977's "Shake Shake Shake (Shake Your Booty)," "I'm Your Boogieman," "Keep It Comin' Love," "Boogie Shoes" (the latter included on the monster-selling soundtrack to the hit John Travolta disco movie, Saturday Night Fever), 1979's "Do You Wanna Go Party," and 1980's "Please Don't Go." Despite earning nine Grammy nominations (receiving three awards) and selling millions of records, KC & the Sunshine Band were still susceptible to the backlash that disco bands felt by the dawn of the '80s, eventually leading to dwindling sales and the group's split by the early '80s (although KC scored a moderate solo hit in 1983 with "Give It Up"). Come the '90s, an appreciation of everything '70s swept across the U.S., which led to a renewed interest bands from the era, prompting KC & the Sunshine Band to re-form for concert performances. That decade saw the release of countless KC "hits" collections and even an episode of VH1's popular Behind the Music series that studied the group's ups and downs

 

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