42 Songs, 2 Hours, 20 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though Motown head Berry Gordy did his best to present the Temptations as highly polished purveyors of universally palatable uptown soul, the untutored vocal tenacity of David Ruffin always injected just the right amount of edginess into their silken harmonies. Ruffin, with his rough Mississippi bred baritone and irrepressibly raw throated delivery, was always something of a black sheep amongst the impeccably coiffed Temptations. When he left the them for a solo career in late 1968, he was quick to break free from Gordy’s influence, indulging his penchant for smoldering deep southern soul ballads and raw dance floor fillers. The four David Ruffin solo albums compiled here rank amongst his very best work, and contain a sense of urgency and adventurousness often missing from his work with the Temptations. On the breathtakingly woe-begotten “Double Cross” from 1969’s My Whole World Ended Ruffin strains his vocals past the breaking point while delivering a tale of lost love, while 1973’s indignant “Common Man” finds him following label mates Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye into the realm of pointed social commentary. The albums collected here have been out of print for years; by bringing them back into print the impeccably compiled Essential Motown Albums does Motown fans the world over an incalculable service.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though Motown head Berry Gordy did his best to present the Temptations as highly polished purveyors of universally palatable uptown soul, the untutored vocal tenacity of David Ruffin always injected just the right amount of edginess into their silken harmonies. Ruffin, with his rough Mississippi bred baritone and irrepressibly raw throated delivery, was always something of a black sheep amongst the impeccably coiffed Temptations. When he left the them for a solo career in late 1968, he was quick to break free from Gordy’s influence, indulging his penchant for smoldering deep southern soul ballads and raw dance floor fillers. The four David Ruffin solo albums compiled here rank amongst his very best work, and contain a sense of urgency and adventurousness often missing from his work with the Temptations. On the breathtakingly woe-begotten “Double Cross” from 1969’s My Whole World Ended Ruffin strains his vocals past the breaking point while delivering a tale of lost love, while 1973’s indignant “Common Man” finds him following label mates Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye into the realm of pointed social commentary. The albums collected here have been out of print for years; by bringing them back into print the impeccably compiled Essential Motown Albums does Motown fans the world over an incalculable service.

TITLE TIME
3:28
2:46
3:04
2:55
2:58
2:53
3:03
4:27
4:22
2:33
2:40
2:40
2:54
2:44
4:21
3:21
2:32
3:06
2:50
3:18
2:38
3:09
2:40
3:12
3:07
3:08
2:46
4:28
2:48
3:48
5:48
3:04
2:29
2:32
6:47
3:30
5:30
3:04
3:33
3:33
3:12
3:11

About David Ruffin

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 career got off to a promising start with the powerful ballad "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)," which cracked the pop and soul Top Ten in early 1969. His last hit to reach the Top Ten was the Van McCoy-produced dance ballad "Walk Away From Love," from 1976. After leaving Motown in 1977, Ruffin recorded for Warner Brothers and later for RCA accompanied by Eddie Kendricks. Unfortunately, Ruffin's career, marred by years of substance abuse and artistic indifference, culminated in his death from a drug overdose in 1991. ~ John Lowe

  • ORIGIN
    Meridian, MS
  • BORN
    January 18, 1941

Songs

Albums

Listeners Also Played