“The Temptations had the big hit with Ball of Confusion but the Undisputed Truth (also signed to Motown, and working with the song’s co-writer Norman Whitfield in the producer’s chair) took it way further, bigger, louder. Seriously, did any Motown record before or since rock harder than this? So yeah, take a bow, Mr. Whitfield, and Undisputed Truth for being up to that groove. And then there’s that band I saw at a school dance, maybe Grade ten, doing their own long and sloppy rock take, all jammed out and obviously memorable, because here I am remembering it. I had no idea it was a Motown cover at the time, just caught some of the lyrics and couldn’t help relating. Because that’s what the world was (even fifteen year old me had that much figured out) – a ball of confusion indeed. Just turn on the six o’clock news – everything pumping with paranoia, unease, threat. And the band played on.” (Philip Random)
Zoom is about the future apparently (the 1973 album in question being called 1990), a trip to the moon to be specific, though men had already been walking the moon for four years by 1973, smacking golf balls around even. Either way, this is the Temptations (arguably the greatest all male vocal group ever) together with their producer Norman Whitfield boldly and beautifully going as far (and as long) as they ever would, indeed as far as man ever has, a thirteen minute trip, which if taken at the speed of light would actually get you past Mars. Not bad for a bunch of guys from the wrong side of the tracks, Detroit.
“Edwin Starr is mostly known nowadays for the song known simply as War. He didn’t write it but he did own it. Absolutely. And the same can be said of Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On. It didn’t rise as high in the charts as War, didn’t cross over so emphatically. But I still managed to hear it back when it was new, one of many soul-funk rave-ups you encountered on commercial radio back in the early 1970s before the corporate types got organized and ruined everything. But the real discovery came twenty odd years later, a flea market find, and proof in advertising all the way, the funk being fiercely evident from the first squall of guitar. What a turn on!” (Philip Random)
Tracks available on this Youtube playlist (somewhat inaccurate).
The Final Countdown* is Randophonic’s longest and, if we’re doing it right, most relevant countdown yet – the end of result of a complex process that’s still evolving such is the strangely existential nature of the project: the 1297 Greatest Records of All Time right now right here, whatever that means. What it means is over a year of radio, if all goes to plan, and when has that ever happened?
Installment #12 of The Final Countdown* went like this.
1070. Temptations – masterpiece
1069. Blues Project – flute thing
1068. Simon & Garfunkel – we’ve got a groovey thing goin
1067. Prince – automatic
1066. Peter Hammill – the Institute of Mental Health [burning]
1065. Aphrodite’s Child – Aegean
1064. Howard Shore – The Black Meat
1063. Ill Gotten Gains – spirit of 67
1062. John Zorn – the little lieutenant of the loving god
1061. Shadows – wonderful land
1060. Bob Dylan – blue moon
1059. Ultramarine – saratoga (upstate mix)
1058. Keltic Electric – Wild Mountain Thyme
1057. My Bloody Valentine – loomer
1056. John Klemmer – third stone from the sun
1055. Animal Collective – Who Could Win a Rabbit
1054. Grateful Dead – cosmic Charlie
1053. DS Crew – frontier
1052. Todd Rundgren – healing [part 1]
Randophonic airs pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and/or download options usually available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.
It’s 1973 and the times may be grim but the Temptations (and producer Norman Whitfield) are in full, expansive, beautiful bloom (riding as they are on the mega-success of 1972’s Papa was a Rolling Stone). But the focus now is not the past, but seventeen years into the future, the dawning of the 1990s, not that not much has changed. There still ain’t no justice.
No Motown act embraced the psychedelic stuff quite so thoroughly as the Temptations, with 1970’s Psychedelic Shack (song and album) their most obvious offering in that regard. “Fact is, there were psychedelic shacks in all three of the suburbs where I served my pre and early teen years (late 60s, tipping into the early 70s). Absolute no-go zones where long-haired freaky people set snares for small children, to be sacrificed unto Satan in acid drenched rituals come the next full moon. Later, I realized they were mostly just teenagers hanging out, and my parents were full of sh**.” (Philip Random)
This program marks the middle point (time wise, not numbering) of our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
Part Twenty-Five of the journey went as follows:
- Crazy World of Arthur Brown – prelude + nightmare
- Temptations – hurry tomorrow
- Nektar – remember the future [part 1]
- Hatfield + the North – the Yes No interlude
- David Bowie – station to station
- The Who – Tommy overture
- The Who – amazing journey
- The Who – sparks
- The Who – see me feel me
- Focus – birth
- Focus – Hamburger Concerto excerpts
- Al Stewart – roads to Moscow
Randophonic will be taking a brief break from new programming for the next couple or three weeks. Fresh episodes of the Solid Time of Change will return in the new year, every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9.