Ali “Ollie” Woodson (October 12, 1951 – May 30, 2010)

Allow me to begin by stating very clearly that The Temptations are the greatest singing group to ever do it… period. My mother brought me up on a heavy dose of Temptations music, which left me completely biased when it came to the whole “Temps vs. Tops” argument (if you want to call it that) even as a 6-year old – There was never even been a competition in my opinion. The Temps had the vocals and five-part harmony down to a ridiculous science, their choreography was flawless, even well into the 80’s and 90’s, but the one major factor that allowed the group to stand so far apart from others was their ability to consistently enlist powerful and audience captivating lead singers. From one of my favorite lead singers of all-time, David Ruffin, to the incomparable vocals of Dennis Edwards, to Mr. Ali-Ollie Woodson…

In the mid-80’s, while my mother was putting me on to all of the classic Temptation records, she was also running the current Temptations albums on repeat. Whenever the Temps released a new one, she would pick up a cassette tape for the car and a vinyl copy for the record player in the family room. In 1984, I listened to their Truly For You album (“Treat Her Like A Lady”) up until 1985 when Touch Me was released… Then ’86 when they dropped …To Be Continued, which contained the single “Lady Soul” all the way up to 1987 when they put out Together Again (Actually, Dennis was the lead singer for this album, but Ali came back for their 1989 release, Special). Most of these songs are so embedded in my brain that even after not hearing the music for more than 20 years, I can turn it on now and recite most of the words. Needless to say, it always breaks my heart when we lose one of their members and in this case it effected me no differently. We have lost yet another extremely talented member of the Temptation family, not only vocally, but the brotha wasn’t too bad on them keys either!

Ali-Ollie Woodson, may you rest in peace… Your talents will be missed. Case in point… see below.

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