After rising to superstardom as the Temptations' co-lead vocalist, David Ruffin concluded his oft-tumultuous relationship with the Motown quintet to forge a solo career. His debut album was less a statement regarding his status as a former Temp and more a reflection of the artist's temperament. Although drugs would begin to erode his immeasurable talents from the inside out, Ruffin can be heard at the top of his game on My Whole World Ended (1969). While he may have been out of the band, he was still considered a key component in the Motown family and, at least for a while, was afforded support by the best and brightest that the label had to offer. Among the perks was working with top-notch hit making producers Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol, Paul Riser,and Ivory Joe Hunter -- all of whom add their magic to the mix. Ruffin's vocals are uniformly inspired, particularly when he pours himself into the performance. The LP kicks off with the title track, "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)." The song's dark and somewhat menacing tone provides all the atmosphere Ruffin needs to unleash his trademark heart-wrenching leads. It is no wonder that the number made a significant impact as a Top Ten crossover smash. As was the assembly line nature of new Motown product, quite often the deeper cuts were just as appealing, especially when it was David Ruffin behind the microphone. The mid-tempo soul-stirrer "Pieces of a Man," as well as the churning funk-a-thons "World of Darkness" and "Flower Child" may be the effort's sleeper classics. Ruffin certainly isn't afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve either as the ballads "Message from Maria," "I've Lost Everything I've Ever Loved" and the radiant waltz "My Love Is Growing Stronger" demonstrate to great effect. Pop music fans will undoubtedly recognize the melody to "Everlasting Love" as it had already been a hit for Robert Knight two years earlier in 1967, while Carl Carlton -- a fellow Detroit-based singer -- would score even higher with his 1974 update. Perhaps the same fate could have befallen Ruffin's take had it been extracted as a single release. In the end the project didn't need too much help to take to the top of the R&B album survey for two weeks and into the Top 40 on the pop side. Parties looking for My Whole World Ended on CD are encouraged to check out the Hip-O Select Great David Ruffin: The Motown Solo Albums, Vol. 1 (2005) double-disc anthology. The contents have been digitally remastered and also offer Ruffin's follow-up long-players Feelin' Good (1969), David Ruffin (1973), and Me 'N Rock 'N Roll Are Here to Stay (1974).
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer