08 May 2010

Early Influences: The Temptations' "Psychedelic Shack" (1969)

The time was December 1969, Christmas; Santa brought me the first stereo I ever had. I didn't have an older sibling to help me sort out the good music from what I would outgrow -- specifically, almost all of what was considered cool at school. I started with were a few albums, my growing singles collection, top 40 radio and Rolling Stone magazine.

Lucky for me concerts were cheap back them and I could follow up on bands that I heard on the radio. The films Woodstook and The Concert for Bangladesh were also early influences, but that's another story for another time. My main resources were the radio and the 45s I was buying.

It was a glorious time to be learning. There were a lot of great bands making their mark in those years. Psychedelia was a big part of that scene, something I had no way of fully understanding. I had the right music, but acid just wasn't part of my world.

What was expanding my young mind in those days were singles and albums I bought after hearing them on the radio. One of those singles was by The Temptations, minus David Ruffin, backed by the glorious Funk Brothers, performing Psychedelic Shack. Unlike a lot of what I was listening to back in 1970, this song has stood the test of time.

This is the record that opened the window to Motown for me. And I'll never forget the thrill I got from singing along with Otis, "Music so low, you can't get under it, uh-huh!" I've learned a lot since then and my tastes have evolved. But I'll never forget one of the places I started, the Temps single Psychedelic Shack, ".... That's where it's at. ...." Uh, huh!

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