David Ruffin

Essential Collection

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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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