The Temptations Cloud Nine

The Temptations – Cloud Nine (Limited Edition Vinyl Review)

The year of 1969 was a wild one in many ways. Turning our attention to the USA – Neil Armstrong became the first person to land on the moon, 350,000 people gathered in Woodstock, NY for a massive music festival, the Manson cult murders took place, but still, there was so much going on. A time of war, conflict, hope, but also uncertainty, changes were happening… especially in music. With styles shifting from the sounds that dominated the earlier part of the decade, at the forefront of these changes in Soul music were The Temptations.

A dynamic singing group who had major success as leaders of Motown in the early ‘60s, The Temptations were ready to take on a new direction. The year after the dismissal of Lead Vocalist David Ruffin in June of ’68, much curiosity surrounded The Temptations as they moved forward with his replacement, Dennis Edwards. Edwards, who had sung with the Contours briefly, took on the opportunity with open arms, and solidified himself as a new member of The Temptations with the late ’68 release of Live at the Copa.

A great way to pique a broader fanbase’s interest, just months prior to this release, they just began work on brand new studio recorded material with Edwards immersed in the fold. Becoming their ninth studio album Cloud Nine, it was a follow up to the impressive final Ruffin studio album, Wish It Would Rain which hit in April of 1968. Released on February 17, 1969, the new recordings had Norman Whitfield (who had worked with the group for many albums through to 1973’s 1990) in sole control of the production, and with it, he eyed a stylistic shift. Something that was inspired based on suggestion from leading Temptation Otis Williams, what transpired was the group branching off into a more psychedelic and funk sound that debatably set trends for the ‘70s era of R&B and Soul.

A truly bold and pivotal moment, Cloud Nine became a big hit in 1969; rising to number four on the Billboard Pop Albums Chart and earning the group their first ever Grammy Award. Very impressive, it is an album dressed with experimentation that found The Temptations funkier than ever before, and even more profound as well. Somewhat of a haunting collection sonically and lyrically, there is no denying the power of cuts like the title-track, “Run Away Child, Running Wild,” but also the distinction renditions of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” or “Hey Girl.”

In all, Cloud Nine is an album that blazed a new path for The Temptations which still holds up strongly as the album celebrates 55 years. A big anniversary in many ways, in its honor Elemental Music is reissuing Cloud Nine to a limited-edition vinyl. Set for release on July 12, 2024, it marks the second Temptations vinyl reissue from Elemental Music this year thus far; with Wish It Would Rain arriving on May 10th, a mono edition of ‘64’s Meet The Temptations set for release September 13th, 1971’s Sky’s the Limit set to arrive on October 11th, before 1972’s Solid Rock comes December 13th. A lot to look into, Cloud Nine is pressed to a 140-gram virgin vinyl, and let us just say, the quality really lets the dynamic production shine with vivid color.

A standard black vinyl with the classic Motown label bulls-eyed in the center of the wax, the single LP is packed in reprinted classic artwork with the stellar essay from Chester Higgins also printed on the back. Beaming class all the way through, the true win here is having a chance to get a pristine reissued pressing of this highly significant album. That is why Cryptic Rock urges you to recollect this piece of music history, giving The Temptations’ Cloud Nine limited edition vinyl reissue 5 out of 5 stars.

The Temptations Cloud Nine
The Temptations – Cloud Nine / Elemental Music (2024)

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