Artist: The Temprees
Album: From the Heart
Label: Point 3 Records
Release Date: 09/16/2016
You might not think they make music like this anymore, but the Temprees are doing now what we remember from the Dramatics, the Spinners and even this same trio’s original sound from the early seventies. Produced by loyal fan and acclaimed producer and musician Angelo Earl, the legendary Stax trio has their vintage sound very much intact. To be fair, a close listen will reveal some new things as strains of pop, hip-hop and blues influences are sprinkled in, but the smooth, old-school, three part harmony sound that we’ve long cherished prevails.
Two of the original members, Deljuan “Del” Calvin and Harold “Scotty” Scott, are still aboard, joined by new member Walter “Bo” Washington. The Temprees have been on hiatus since 2001 following the passing of original member Jasper “Jabo” Phillips. All the songs except one were written by Deljuan Calvin and Angelo Earl; “Reasons” is a 1975 Maurice White and Philip Bailey tune recorded by Earth, Wind & Fire. White was a fellow Memphian and friend.
The album opens with the mood setting title track, “From the Heart,” a musical love letter to their loyal fans, families and artists that have supported them. Next, they drop a slew of iconic Memphis names like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Rufus Thomas in “We Do Music,” calling out city names too as they continue. The track seemed a bit long to me, because we normally associate this kind of sound with the two to three minute AM radio hits. On this album, though, eight of the eleven tracks are over five minutes, with the closer, “Live Your Life” clocking in at over nine minutes. In between, “Keep It Real” is a shout out to better communication in our society. The funky beats of “Paparazzi” may remind you of other soul bands like the Commodores and Kool & The Gang.
If vintage soul is your preference, the Temprees will certainly make you smile, and might even get you dancing. Not only do they sound great, but my guess is that the recording quality far outdistances similar recordings in your collection.