Saturday, 29 September 2012


New links for all the old files are now available in the comments section of each post.

Please let me know about any broken link and deleted or unavailable files and I'll do my best to quickly reupload them, it will take you a minute, c'mon!

If you enjoy the blog please consider leaving a comment, your feedback is important, thank you!

Friday, 28 September 2012


Well, all the files offered here for download are hosted by SpeedyShare: today I discovered that most of them now require a SpeedyShare Premium Account to be downloaded, I'm not sure about when this policy was introduced, but anyway... Toooooo bad!

I am going to re-upload all files somewhere else, new links will appear in the comments section of each post as usual.

All the files uploaded on SpeedyShare will remain available until the Stereo Candies account expires.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Baby, don't fight it, I'm comin' baby

Do you know how long I'm dreamin' of a reason it grows?
You may ask me all these questions but darling, no one knows
It should be clear, I really love you, don't ask me why, I just do
Do you ask the Lord who loves you why he makes the sky clear blue?

It's the way, it's the way nature planned it
We were meant, we were meant to stay together
It's just the way, it's the way nature planned it
Oh, don't ask me how long I'll love you

When you're gone, my heart aches, I'll never, never leave you
Girl, all my life, for you I'd wait 'cause it's the way
It's the way, it's the way nature planned it
We were meant, we were meant to stay together
It's the way, it's the way nature planned it

Don't fight it, baby, I'm coming, girl

It should be clear, I really love you, don't ask me why, I just do
'cause it's the way It's the way, it's the way mother nature planned it
Like the stars and the sky and the beautiful heaven

It's the way, it's the way nature planned it
We were meant, we were meant to stay together

Do you know why it rains? It's the way, it's the way nature planned it
Something that no-one can explain, we were meant
We were meant to stay together

Why does a flower grow? It's the way, it's the way nature planned it
Why does the river flow? It's the way, it's the way nature planned it
We were meant, we were meant, we were meant
We were meant to stay together
Why does it rain? It's the way, it's the way nature planned it
Why do I feel this pain? It's the way, it's the way nature planned it

[from the lyrics of "(It's the Way) Nature Planned It"]

One of Motown's most consistent hitmakers and its longest lived lineup (over four decades), the Four Tops were the most stable vocal groups to emerge from the label in the '60s, charting with scores of upbeat love songs featuring Levi Stubbs' rough hewn lead vocals.

The Four Tops were a product of Detroit's North End: Levi Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir sang together in a group while attending Pershing High School. Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton were boyhood friends and attended Northern High together in Detroit too. At the insistence of their friends, they performed at a local birthday party and decided to remain together christening themselves The Four Aims.

Roquel "Billy" Davis, who was Lawrence Payton's cousin and sometimes sang with the group as the fifth Aim, sent a demo tape to Chess Records in Chicago. They were sent bus tickets and invited to audition.

It seems that Chess was more interested in Davis' writing skill than the group. However Davis' persistence ended up with them being signed to Chess Records. In 1956 they changed their name to Four Tops to avoid confusion with the The Ames Brothers, another well-estabilished vocal group.

Over the next seven years, the Tops endured unsuccessful tenures at Chess, Red Top, Riverside Records and Columbia Records. Without any hit records to their name, they toured frequently, developing a polished stage presence and an experienced supper club act. In 1963, Berry Gordy, Jr., who had worked with Roquel Davis as a songwriter in the late '50s, convinced the Tops to join the roster of his growing Motown record company.

Gordy had them record "Breaking Through" for his experimental Workshop Jazz subsidiary. Later that year they were finally directed toward contemporary soul. Under the wing of Motown's top production and recording team, Holland-Dozier-Holland, the Four Tops were launched with "Baby I Need Your Loving", which went to #11 in 1964.

Over the next eight years The Four Tops appeared on the charts almost thirty times, and Levi Stubbs became an international star and an influence on singers from the Sixties to the present time.

After scoring their first #1 hit, the often-recorded and revived "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" in June 1965, the Four Tops began a long series of successful hit singles. Among the first wave of these hits were the Top 10 "It's the Same Old Song", "Something About You", "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)", and "Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever".

Like many other Motown acts, the Four Tops became popular in major nightclubs around the world. In 1967 they had hits with "Bernadette", "7-Rooms of Gloom" and "You Keep Running Away". By now, the Tops were the most successful male Motown act in the U.K. ( the United States, they were second to The Temptations...), and began experimenting with more mainstream pop hits.

They scored hits with their versions of "If I Were a Carpenter" and "Walk Away Renée". These singles and the original "I'm In a Different World" were their last hits produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, who left Motown in 1967.

"Nature Planned It" original innersleeve shows many Motown goodies...

Without Holland-Dozier-Holland, the quality of the Four Tops' output began to decline, and hits became less frequent. The group worked with a wide array of Motown producers during the late 1960s, including Ivy Hunter, Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, Norman Whitfield and Johnny Bristol, without significant chart success.

Their first major hit in a long time came in the form of 1970's "It's All In the Game", produced by Frank Wilson. Wilson and the Tops began working on a number of innovative tracks and albums together, echoing Whitfield's psychedelic soul work with The Temptations.

Their 1970 album "Still Waters Run Deep" was an early ancestor to the concept album. It also served as an inspiration for Marvin Gaye's 1971 classic album "What's Going On", the title track of which was co-written by Obie Benson.

In addition to their own albums, the Tops were paired with The Supremes for a series of three albums: "The Magnificent Seven" was released in 1970, "The Return of the Magnificent Seven" and "Dynamite!" followed in 1971. While the albums themselves did not do well on the charts, "The Magnificent Seven" featured a Top 20 version of Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep - Mountain High", produced by Ashford & Simpson.

In early 1972 the Four Tops recorded "Nature Planned It" with producer Frank Wilson, it was their last Motown album for more than twenty years...

...and more goodies on the back!

The following short review of "Nature Planned It" was published on the 13th May 1972 issue of Billboard:

The Four Tops have always been in a class of supremacy and their latest collection of songs certainly bears out the point. Their Sensitive interpretations of the title cut and "Happy (Is a Bumpy Road)" are just two of the standout numbers. Other topnotch tracks include "I Can't Quit Your Love" (their newest single), "If You Let Me" and "I'll Never Change".

"Nature Planned It" contains the following tracks:

01. I Am Your Man (4:22)
02. (It's The Way) Nature Planned It (3:48)
03. I'll Never Change (2:49)
04. She's an Understanding Woman (3:03)
05. I Can't Quit Your Love (3:41)
06. Walk With Me, Talk With Me, Darling (2:41)
07. Medley: Hey Man / We Got To Get You a Woman (7:27)
08. You Got To Forget Him Darling (2:43)
09. If You Let Me (2:53)
10. Happy (Is a Bumpy Road) (3:02)
11. How Will I Forget You (2:47)

All tracks were remastered in August / September 2012, they are available as a single FLAC lossless format file or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 file. Both formats include complete printable artwork as PDF files.

Before you burn this album on CD-R using the provided CUE file you will need to convert the original files to WAV format using an appropriate software. Here's an option for FLAC to WAV conversion and one for MP3 to WAV conversion.

As usual, please have a look at the comments for the download links.

Note: most of the songs on the original vinyl album are interluded with small effected bits taken from the title track. These extra bits were omitted in the 1987 CD release (cat. number MD08046MD) in my possession. Furthermore, on this release the albums "Keeper of the Castle" and "Nature Planned It" have been squeezed on one CD and many songs were edited for time purpose. My remastering offers the most faithful representation of the original album using both vinyl and CD as sound sources.

"Nature Planned It" was released by Motown with catalogue number M748L in April 1972. The album was produced by veteran Frank Wilson, who since 1965 had been writing and producing hit records for many other Motown artists like Brenda Holloway, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Miracles, The Temptations, Eddie Kendricks and more.

The album opens with "I Am Your Man", a mellow slow number composed by Ashford & Simpson that was also previously released on Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers' self-titled album in 1968. The ballad is sung in the distinctive Levi Stubbs' warm, emotive baritone.

The title track was written by Frank Wilson and Pam Sawyer (...who also worked with many other Motown artists...); it presents an engaging lead and Abdul Fakir, Lawrence Payton and Renaldo Benson's smooth harmonies at their best. The song was later covered in a Rocksteady/Reggae style by Ken Boothe in 1974 for Trojan Records, it was also more recently sampled by Austrian Hip-Hop producer Brenk.

"(It's the Way) Nature Planned It" was also released as a single in August 1972 backed with the more upbeat "I'll Never Change", a song written by Kathy Wakefield and Leonard Caston (...The Supremes, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Eddie Kendricks...) and sung by Stubbs near the top of his register, adding even more fuel to an already dynamic arrangement.

Next comes the laid back groove of "She's an Understanding Woman", a composition by singer-songwriter Willie Hutch who is better known for the soundtracks to the cult blaxploitaion movies "The Mack" and "Foxy Brown".

"I Can't Quit Your Love", another strong uptempo number with a sparkling arrangement, was written by the Wakefield / Caston team. It was chosen as the first single from the album, backed by "Happy (Is a Bumpy Road)" on the domestic version and "I Am Your Man" on the U.K. release.

Side One ends with "Walk With Me, Talk With Me, Darling", composed by John Glover, Clay McMurray and James Dean. Originally this song was supposed to appear on "Promises Kept", an unreleased album recorded by The Supremes in 1971, which was shelved in favour of "Floy Joy", another album entirely produced and arranged by Smokey Robinson.

Side Two starts with a medley: "Hey Man", written by Frank Wilson, Leonard Caston and the Tops' own Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton, showcase a long instrumental intro and is flavoured with assorted Latin percussions and a sort of street corner talking probably played by Obie and Payton; the song merges with "We Got To Get You a Woman", a Todd Rundgren cover originally included on his debut album released in 1970. Both songs refer to a certain Leroy who seems to be in deep water... The closing part of "Hey Man" is largely instrumental and enhance the Latin feeling with a nice flute line played by an unknown session man.

"You Got To Forget Him Darling" was written by David Jones Jr., Johnny Bristol and Wade Brown Jr.; with its prominent piano, brass arrangement and background harmonies it breathes the old Motown climate.

The melodic "If You Let Me" features female backing vocals and Levi Stubbs in a more relaxed fine form. The song was written by Frank Wilson and was also recorded by Eddie Kendricks the same year. The Supremes also recorded a song with the same title in 1969; since it seems to be one of their lost recordings I'm not sure that it is the same song, it could be a completely different one.

"Happy (Is a Bumpy Road)", once again written by Frank Wilson and Pam Sawyer, is a cover of The Supremes original released on their album "Touch" in 1971.

The album closes with the excellent "How Will I Forget You", written by Al Cleveland ( of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On"...) and Lorie Green along with Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton; strangely enough, a sitar seems to be featured among the instruments...

Here's the credits and personnel list of "Nature Planned It":

Produced by Frank Wilson

Mr. "Keys": Leonard Caston
Drums: Richard "Pistol" Allen, Andrew Smith
Percussionist: Jack Ashford
Conga and bongos: Eddie "Bongo" Brown
Guitars: Dennis Coffey, Eddie Willis, Mel Ragen
Bass (personified): James Jamerson

Recording engineer: Cal Harris
Mastering engineer: John Lewis

Arrangements by Jerry Long and David Van DePitte

All tunes published by Jobete Music Company Inc. BMI except "We Got To Get You a Woman", published by Earmark Music BMI

Four Tops in 1972: Lawrence Payton, Levi Stubbs, Renaldo "Obie" Benson, Abdul "Duke" Fakir

More information about "Nature Planned It", Frank Wilson, The Funk Brothers and the Four Tops is available here:

If you have any other useful information about the Four Tops and "Nature Planned It" - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

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