Reach Out [Limited Edition] [Remastered] [Slipcase]
The Four Tops: Levi Stubbs, Renaldo Benson, Lawrence Payton, Abdul Fakir.
Producers: Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Clarence Paul, William "Smokey" Robinson.
Though it's one of the best Four Tops records of the '60s, Reach Out still feels weighted down by a few vain attempts at adult pop crossover. It certainly starts out right, with the glorious "Reach out, I'll Be There," the group's second pop/R&B chart-topper. After a faithful cover of the Left Banke's "Walk Away Renee," though, listeners are forced to sit through trite versions of "If I Were a Carpenter," "Last Train to Clarksville," and "I'm a Believer" to get to real highlights like the dramatic, impassioned "Standing in the Shadows of Love" and "Bernadette." There is room for a great lesser single ("I'll Turn to Stone"), but the flip side finds the Four Tops taking on "Cherish," which could've worked well but didn't. Reach Out still did better than any other original LP by the group, almost breaking the Top Ten. ~ John Bush
Q (10/99, p.160) - Included in Q Magazine's Best Motown Records Of All Time - "...The title track and these companion pieces were radical expansions of Motown's vocabulary; woodwind timbres adding haunting echoes to the urgency of the R&B backbeat..."