The CLASSIC Temptations – It’s Summer (1970)
Bass singer Melvin Franklin takes lead on “It’s Summer” while the awesomely harmonious Temptations provide a glorious background on this cut from the 1970 “Psychedelic Shack” album. The was their first of the new decade and their 15th in their career. Another class set, every song on this LP was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, and of course Whitfield produced all sessions.
I recall that this single was the B-side to “Ball of Confusion” and I played it over and over again on my portable record player — just listening to this song as it it were being sung only for me. I also recall that I was getting on my Grandmother’s nerves playing it over and over again. ;-) But Mel’s voice was just mesmerizing. Don’t you think?
The 4 MAN Temptations – It’s Summer (1972)
Now imagine 2 years later when I find out that the same song with Melvin’s lead has been replaced. I resented this fact — plus the fact that my dear sweet Eddie Kendricks was not a part of this album. Eddie was now gone because of his desire to continue to sing love ballads and not the psychedelic soul Whitfield was intent on making. But my Dad played this Album so much that he finally wore me down and it is now a favorite.
This album is also notable in that it contains the last Temptation’s song that Paul Williams ever sang on, “It’s Summer,” and it is the only song on the album with his voice. Paul was now gone from the group due to sickle cell and alcoholism and I just felt betrayed that my classic five were no more. I really took it hard.
This time around Norman Whitfield not only had another artist re-do his song but had the same artist repeat it themselves with another one of his elaborate musical orchestrations. Wonder how Melvin felt about them turning his solo masterpiece upside down? And which one do you prefer my friends?
Trivia: With Eddie now gone this song was recorded with only 4 Temptations instead of 5!