I’m often asked to name some of my favourite tracks. Of course there are hundreds of great tracks we dance to, but I’ve come up with a list that I hope will get some approval. My criteria for choosing a track are that I must have heard it in at least three different venues and it should be at least 5 years old. The list is in no particular order and my tenth choice is Lady Soul by The Temptations.

A slow track, but not too slow

I love it when DJs slow the pace down a little, but I don’t want it too slow. I still want to do my modern jive moves, but in a more relaxed and chilled out manner. This song fits the bill perfectly, and it is probably the most popular track of its kind. Some slow tracks only get played at the very end of the evening, but this track works at any time in the night when the DJ wants to take the pedal off the gas.

The Temptations line up was forever changing

Lady Soul was recorded in 1986 by The Temptations, but features a very changed line-up from the Motown Super Group of the late ’60s. In fact the only original members featured on the track are Otis Williams (the founder) and Melvin Franklin. The vocals on Lady Soul were sung by Ali-Ollie Woodson who had joined the group in 1984.

The changing lead singers of The Temptations gives some insight in to the musical chairs at Motown. In the original Motown line up most of the lead vocals were sung by Eddie Kendricks. It was the arrival of David Ruffin (brother of Jimmy Ruffin) as lead singer in 1964, that brought the group its major success. The first hit with Ruffin on lead was My Girl, and he voiced one of their greatest hits – Aint too proud to beg.

David Ruffin is replaced by Dennis Edwards

Ruffin got too big for his boots and was sacked in 1968, to be replaced by Dennis Edwards who had been the lead singer of Motown group The Contours. During the period up to 1971 Edwards shared the lead vocals with Kendricks on tracks like Cloud 9, and I can’t get next to you. Kendricks also left for a solo career in 1971 and though he hit the big time with Keep on trucking, had little further success.

Dennis Edwards now took over lead vocals, and it is his distinctive gravelly voice, that is  featured on the Norman Whitfield produced 1972 masterpiece, Papa was a rolling stone. Edwards himself left in 1977, a year after the group left Motown for Atlantic Records. There they had little success and they eventually returned to Motown in 1980. It was during this period that The Temptations recorded the To be continued… album, from which Lady Soul was taken.

Who first played this wonderful piece of music?

The song itself had limited success in The USA, but did nothing in Britain. This begs the question – who was it that first dug Lady Soul out of the Motown vaults and gave it a spin at a Modern Jive venue? It would have been such a shame to have missed out on dancing to this wonderful piece of music. I did hear Lady Soul this year on Radio 2, so perhaps it’s gained a general recognition over the years. I wonder if the current line up of The Temptations sings Lady Soul at their concerts. I would like to think they do, because it has brought so much pleasure to the modern jive dance floor.