Abraham Villanueva’s recommendation: “The Temptations are one of my favorite groups and I feel are often wrongly disregarded as 60’s love/bubblegum pop. The discography attached with this vocal group is amazing, the production, musicianship and songwriting talent that went along with the temptations were an amazing catalyst that provided opportunity for a talented group of singers to flourish. The range of style which the Temptations preformed is in part due to the fantastic quality of the performers ability to interpret the songs (making otherwise lyrically banal top 40 songs genuine and unique) and also to the inventiveness of the producers and the musical talent of the legendary Funk Brothers. The earlier hits are most often associated with the band, but as the years and styles changed through the 60’s you find a group of artists (arrangers, writers, musicians and producers included) willing to push the boundaries of an otherwise simple act into a vehicle for great musical achievement. A fact I find incredibly important is the team never sacrificed groove and melody for ego/novelty as you often find with a lot of late 60’s music.”
New to The Temptations? Abraham suggests you start here: “I find some of the most interesting tracks came during the production/writing transition from Smokey Robinson to Norman Whitefield. Not yet into the 7-9 minute funk epics to come, and far from the simple sugary pop of the early years; albums like I Wish It Would Rain and Sky’s the Limit find the band feeling their place in a musical climate built around the overemphasized political messages and psychedelics of the era. Pulling from all the creative elements of the bands past (R&B, Broadway, Vocal-Pop), The Temptations created a group of songs that are probably as beautifully strange today as they were back then. More often then not, it seems, when presented with the question: why would you make a certain musical choice, the group responded with: why not?”
About our guest author, Abraham Villanueva: Abraham is the piano player and one of the vocalists of Hacienda, a Mexican-American quartet that wowed Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Auerbach heard a six song demo from the band and went on to produced both their 2008 offering, Loud Is the Night and their latest, Big Red & Barbacoa. The Beach Boys are clearly an influence on the boys, but spy the Younger Days clip below and you’ll think your listening to the Band (is that Robbie Robertson on gueeetar?). Check the Hacienda MySpace page for tour dates, and New Yorkers, be sure to catch them opening for My Morning Jacket!
MP3: Whose Heart Are You Breaking Now? by Hacienda