Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #91 – Eddie Kendricks: “Keep On Truckin’ Part 1” b/w “Keep On Truckin’ Part 2”– Tamla T-54238F
Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…
Originally a member of The Primes (to the Supremes’ Primettes), Eddie Kendricks possessed one of the most soulful voices in the group that would later be renamed The Temptations. With the group, Kendricks angelic falsetto voice climbed the charts numerous times on such classics as “Just My Imagination,” “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” “Get Ready” and dozens of others too numerous to mention here.
After Kendricks’ acrimonious split from the Tempts in 1971, they went on to score a monster hit with “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” and released a single called “Superstar (Remember How You Got To Where You Are)” which was a slam at Kendricks before the hits began to dry up.
In the meantime, Kendricks would have to wait a few years for one of his records to click with the American public, but when “Keep On Truckin’” did, it sold over a million copies and topped both the R&B and Pop charts, ushering in the Disco era and making him the most successful solo artist from the group.
The song was written by producer Frank Wilson, Anita Poree and Leonard Caston Jr. In the track, Kendricks’ returned the favor by including a reference to his old group in the lyrics: “In old Temptations’ rain, I’m duckin’ / For your love though sleet and snow, I’m truckin’.”
The track was released on Kendricks’ self-titled third album featuring backing by Darrell Clayborn and James Jamerson on bass, Billy Cooper, Dean Parks and Greg Poree on guitar, Ed Greene and Kenny Rice on drums, Gary Coleman and Jack Ashford on percussion, Harold Johnson and Leonard Caston on piano and Kin Errisson on congas. The album version of the song ran over eight minutes for maximum dancefloor pleasure; however it was split into two parts for its 45rpm single release.
Kendricks’ disco success continued with the release of “Boogie Down” the following year, which climbed to the #2 slot on the Pop charts and topped the R&B charts. In the 1980s, he appeared at Live Aid, backed Hall & Oates (with David Ruffin) on their Live At The Apollo album and was inducted into The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame as a Temptation. Kendricks died of lung cancer at the age of 52 on October 5, 1992.
“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.