Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Temptations: Anthology [Motown, 1995]
The Tempts were too good for their own good--good enough to placate what was once called the adult audience with so-called "standards." Fortunately, the horrible examples that blotch their catalogue are held to "The Impossible Dream," which closes disc one with a dull, symbolic thud. Whereupon they start fronting Norman Whitfield's funk group, which was one of the best. Personally, I would have skipped a few Motown subclassics for a little of the crazy and mellifluous late doowop they made back when Paul Williams was their soul man and Berry Gordy hadn't finalized his formula. But as any American should know, "My Girl" and "It's Growing" and "My Girl" and "I Wish It Would Rain" and "My Girl" and "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" and "My Girl" are the essence of that formula--and also, if he was as lucky as we hope, of David Ruffin's tragic life. A