Years ago I watched The Temptations: the Mini Series and experienced a wealth of emotions and memories which took me back in time. Just for the record, I didn’t get misty-eyed and I have no desire to turn back the clock. Still, I get righteously indignant hearing snippets of Sly and the Family Stone, Ben E. King, Sam and Dave, and various other R&B artists incorporated with advertising jingles or sampled by rap artists. These tunes are priceless… I grew up on soul music. My friends, Marilyn, Cashmere, Irene, and I would sing the lyrics to songs by the Miracles, the Supremes, the Temptations, and others as we walked to Claremont, which was a junior high school in Oakland, Ca way back then. It’s a middle school now. My favorite radio station, KDIA Lucky 13 on the AM dial featured everyone from Etta James and Bobby Blue Bland to Ernie K. Doe; from Wilson Pickett to James, The Godfather of Soul, Brown. This music was magical to me. I fell in love, puppy love that is, with help from the temptin’ Temptations, Barbara, Yes I’m Ready, Mason, the Whispers, Eddie Knock on Wood Floyd, et al. Even today, listening to My Girl, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, My Baby, and You’re My Everything, to name a few, unlocks precious memories which become more tantalizing as I mature. My love of soul music solidified in high school. I got a big kick out of driving my family’s Chevrolet Impala with the radio blaring and the bass pumping: I was too cool for words. Soul music punctuated my many high school romances. There were our songs, the break up and make up tunes, and dance records, especially slow drag tunes. I had a radio in my bedroom and listened to it faithfully. I usually spent all of my allowance on the latest 45s and today I have a record collection to die for. While the Temptations defined romantic love for me, Aretha Franklin gave voice to my budding adolescent yearnings. Natural Woman is my anthem!!! When Otis Redding sang Respect, I barely heard. When the Queen of Soul spelled it out and demanded a clear understanding of what it means, I was right there lifting my voice with hers. Aretha and the Temptations…got me through high school and college, no easy feat, I assure you. Today, they are but two of the most enduring artists of my youth. Their continued presence on the music scene means so much to me because they are singing my life, as well. I appreciate their longevity. The incredible harmony and smooth moves of the Temps gave no hint of the pitched battles, personal demons, and collective angst of this talented quintet of brothers, most of whom are now deceased, who just wanted to sing. Likewise, the Queen of Soul has risen above heartache, memorialized good loving, and come on with contemporary tunes speaking to the hearts of all women. Absolutely nobody says it like Aretha! As she expands her repertoire to include operatic arias, along with her banner hits performed by symphony orchestras, and the Temptations entertain another generation of fans in prime time, those of us who remember when can do so without guilt. We can enjoy the whole song, not just a taste, and strut our stuff at the same time. After all, who didn’t learn the Temptation Walk? So, a stroll down memory lane every now and then is good for the soul, music, that is. ©1999 and September 2015 by Theresa Bennett-Wilkes. This essay was originally published in A Taste of Theresa: Musings From My Point of View, by Theresa Bennett-Wilkes, Holly Tree Publications, LLP, High Point, NC. All rights reserved.