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  Eddie Kendricks

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Kendricks was the former Temptation who had the greatest solo career of their army of lead vocalists, largely due to his embrace of dance material. Soon after leaving the Temps, he scored a huge hit with "Keep On Truckin'" in 1972, a very un-Motown like track, a blast of proto-disco that was very different from the glamorized product Motown was focusing on at the time with Diana Ross and the Jackson Five.

His "Girl You Need A Change of Mind" was another pre-disco dance classic with its generous length, funky arrangement and emotional breakdown.  That famous break came directly from the church and is exhibit A in dispelling the notion that dance music doesn't have soul. For this song alone, Kendricks would have earned legendary status.

Fortunately, Kendricks had other Frank Wilson and Leonard Caston-produced hits with "Boogie Down," "Skipping Work Today," and "Shoeshine Boy" before hooking up with Norman Harris around 1976. Their collaborations resulted in Kendrick's most explicity discofied work, with tinges of spiritual concerns in the lyrics that continued to reflect the gospel influence on dance music: "He's a Friend," "Going Up In Smoke," and "Born Again."

He rode out the decade by recording with Patrick Adams and Jeff Lane (scoring a minor hit with "Ain't No Smoke Without Fire") before doing occasional work with David Ruffin and Hall and Oates. As part of Ruffin and Kendricks, he returned to the charts with "I Couldn't Believe It" in the mid 1980s. He died of cancer in the late 1990s.

Eddie Kendricks' Deepest Grooves

Kendricks rose to fame via his leads on Temptations' classics like "Just My Imagination," "The Way You Do The Things You Do" and "Get Ready." Fans of his silky falsetto are advised to seek these recordings.

All By Myself (Tamla, 1971)
Debut was more a statement of independence than an artistically successful work, redeemed by the ballad "Can I."

People Hold On (Tamla, 1972)
A very strong collection of material, headlined by "Change Of Mind," which continues to dazzle upon repeated listening. But the title tune is a lost soulful conscious-raising gem in its own right.

Eddie Kendricks (Tamla, 1973)

Boogie Down (Tamla, 1974)

He's A Friend (Tamla, 1976)

Going Up In Smoke (Tamla, 1977)
The title tune was a cautionary tale that was revived by Ten City in 1994.

Vintage 78 (Arista, 1978)

Something Special (Arista, 1979)

At His Best (Motown)
All the hits, the only Kendricks compilation available for many years. Very few singers made the transition from 60s soul to disco with as much ease as Kendricks. He was one of those singers who just needed the right production around him to flourish. This was the first of many compilations issued by Motown as part of their endless repackaging program.

Ultimate Collection (Motown, 1998)

Millennium Collection (Motown, 2000)

The Essential Collection (Motown, 2002)

Copyright 2001, 2002 All rights reserved.

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