Dennis Edwards is the only living original Temptation, and he's trying to keep that Motown sound alive.
"I want to bring back the old raw sound that captivated the nation," said the singer in a phone interview from Philadelphia. "Just the guys are gone, and it's such a challenge. I don't think I could ever get what I had."
Monday night, Mr. Edwards, 53, and four younger singers will get close to the original sound with a tribute to his former band at the Labor Day Jam at the Bell Auditorium. They'll go through the musical history of the group, including performances of songs such as My Girl, The Way You Do the Things You Do and Papa Was a Rolling Stone, which brought fame to the quintet in the 1960s and early '70s.
His new project came three years after the death of Eddie Kendricks to cancer. David Ruffin had died of a cocaine overdose a year earlier. Mr. Edwards had hit a low point, frustrated about what to do with his career and suffering from the loss of his friends.
He renewed his faith in God and began to rebuild his life. His career changed soon after when he listened to a tape that a quintet had sent to him two years earlier.
The guys sounded a lot like his former band members.
Mr. Edwards joined the group.
"It was like God-sent," he said. "I got out of the rut I was in and got my life in order."
Now known as Dennis Edwards and the Temptations Revue, the group has been touring internationally for two years and is planning a new record deal. Mr. Edwards admits that some nights are tough because memories flood back when he stops and listens to how closelythe group resembles the original Temptations.
"I never realized that we were any good. We just harmonized and sang," he said.
The impact of the Temptations' music really hit him at the group's induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
"When I finally saw my name in the hall, for some reason a chill got over me," he said. "I started to think, maybe I did contribute something."
Who: Dennis Edwards and the Temptations Revue, and local artists Roosevelt Johnson, Lovin' You, Tony Howard, Pump the Party Up, Derrick Monk and Evergreen
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St.
How much: $17.50 advance, $20 day of show
Phone: TicketMaster locations or call 828-7700.