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The Motown Solo Albums, Vol. 2

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Album Review

This is the second volume of David Ruffin's post-Temptations Motown output. In addition to the three long-players Who I Am (1975), Everything's Coming Up Love (1976) and In My Stride (1977), there are a dozen "lost and found" cuts from throughout Ruffin's career. Unlike fellow Temptations frontman Eddie Kendricks, Ruffin 's style of disco drone flourished. Much of that is undoubtedly thanks to an association with the one and only Van "Do the Hustle" McCoy. Who I Am (1975) would be the highest charting crossover LP that Ruffin had enjoyed since his debut My Whole World Ended (1969) six years prior. Ironically, each respectively peaked at a commendable number 33 on the pop survey. The success of Who I Am benefited from two light and breezy Philly soul influenced singles "Walk Away from Love" and its soundalike follow-up "Heavy Love." On the other side of the spectrum is the gorgeous and introspective "Statue of a Fool." Everything's Coming Up Love (1976) doesn't go very far off the path and is perhaps best remembered — especially by supporters of the pugilistic arts — for Ruffin's cover of McCoy's "First Round Knock Out" — a tune also done by boxing great Joe Frasier. The title track, "Everything's Coming Up Love," has a grandiose Love Unlimited Orchestra feel that works admirably. It joined "On and Off" as both managed to get some national radio airplay. Speaking of "on the air," Disc One concludes with a few promotional "Christmas Greetings" that were sent to DJs who would in turn broadcast Ruffin's tiding of cheer to fans around the nation. Although it didn't make as much of an impact on pop listeners as his previous LPs had, In My Stride (1977) chalked up another pair of R&B hits with "Just Let Me Hold You for a Night" and, to a lesser extent, the superior "You're My Peace of Mind" — which fared less attention. The second CD is augmented with a dozen formerly unheard treasures and outtakes from various points in Ruffin's post-Temps legacy. These l'il nuggets may be worth the price of admission alone. The late-'60s Stevie Wonder composition "Make My Water Boil" — aka "Loving You Has Been So Wonderful" — which Wonder likewise produced, finally surfaced after decades in the "rumored to exist" files. Several selections actually pre-date Ruffin's debut long-player My Whole World Ended (1969) including the stellar outtakes "Let's Say Goodbye Tomorrow" and "Which Way To My Baby" as well as "One Lucky Day I Found You" from the David — The Unreleased Album (2004) project that was vaulted for nearly a quarter-century before Hip-O Select thankfully unleashed it. These are likewise the same keepers of the Motown archives who had the foresight and good taste to create classy and meaningful packages such as this.


Born: 18 January 1941 in Meridian, MS

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

One of the greatest lead singers the Motown stable ever had, David Ruffin became one of the artistic cornerstones of the Temptations after his lead vocal on "My Girl" (1965) paved the way for such majestic follow-ups as "Since I Lost My Baby" (1965), "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" (1966), "All I Need" (1967), and "I Wish It Would Rain" (1968). Unfortunately, ever-mounting internal pressures within the group, coupled with Ruffin's swelling ego, led to his dismissal from the group in late 1968. His solo...
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