This double-disc anthology gathers David Ruffin's first four solo long-players -- My Whole World Ended (1969), Feelin' Good (1969), David Ruffin (1973), and Me 'N Rock 'N Roll Are Here to Stay (1974). My Whole World Ended was greeted with open ears, landing at the top spot on the R&B LP chart and turning out one of Ruffin's most memorable sides, the foreboding title track "My Whole World Ended (When You Left Me)," which crossed over into the Pop Singles survey at a respectable number nine. Presumably wanting to continue to strike while the iron was hot, Feelin' Good (1969) reflects the residual positive vibe. The album once again boasts a blend of sock-it-me soul and poignant balladry. Worth multiple spins are Ruffin's funky take on Dave Mason's "Feelin' Alright," the Gladys Knight co-penned "I Pray Everyday You Won't Regret Leaving Me," and the cozy "I Let Love Slip Away" -- which was to have initially been recorded by Marvin Gaye. When the eponymous David Ruffin (1973) surfaced, so too did an insight into his inner demons. The update of Luther Ingram's hit "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" finds him "a man in desperation," before begging "can't you help the situation." Ruffin is joined by his old Temptations co-lead Eddie Kendricks on the Philly soul of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff's "I Miss You, Pt. 1." The optimism of Me 'N Rock 'N Roll Are Here to Stay (1974) actually translates into the grooves revealing what could be the strongest (if not most varied) of the four projects. The nearly seven-minute spacey "I Saw You When You Met Her" and the intimate redux of the Undisputed Truth's "Smiling Faces Sometimes" both command frequent revisitation. Accompanying the CDs is a 28-page booklet containing complete full-color reproductions of the vintage LP jackets, formerly unpublished photos, as well as text by soul music authority David Ritz. Interested parties should note that the CD edition of The Motown Solo Albums is limited to 5,000 non-numbered copies.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2