David Ruffin

Essential Collection

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AllMusic Review by

David Ruffin's leads landed higher on the charts than Eddie Kendricks when both reigned as the dominant lead singers for the classic Temptations. That reversed when they became solo artists; Kendricks enjoyed a far more successful and consistent career than Ruffin. Ruffin had two major hits: "My Whole World Ended the Moment You Left Me" and "Walk Away From Love" (the exquisite Van McCoy production); the latter didn't make this compilation, which is perplexing because other McCoy productions -- "Everything's Coming up Love," "On and Off," the marvelous "Questions," and "Discover Me" -- did. Purists love Ruffin au naturel and singing in his proper key; examples of this include: "I'm Just a Mortal Man," "Roving Kind," and "The Letter" (an uninteresting, atypical Smokey Robinson song; not the Box Tops' hit), but adding them and not "Walk Away From Love" is ludicrous. But all is not doom and gloom; there are some startling cuts, many unfamiliar to most because they were either album cuts or B-sides. Tunes like "No Matter Where," "The Double Cross," "We'll Have a Good Thing Going On," and the R&B hit "I Lost Everything I Ever Loved" are exciting performances by Ruffin. Still, the omission stinks. And what's up with "What You Gave"? Everybody at Motown seems to have recorded this Nickolas Ashford/Valerie Simpson song and the results are all the same -- boring.

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