For David Ruffin, leaving the Temptations in the early 1970s to pursue a solo career was taking a gamble. Like Eddie Kendricks (who did the same thing), Ruffin was asked whether or not he was sure he wanted to leave such a successful group. But the soul singer had some fine moments as a solo artist, a fact that is illustrated by this CD. Released in 1998, The Ultimate Collection focuses on Ruffin's post-Temptations work in the 1970s. There's a lot to admire in this good- to excellent-anthology, which ranges from his hits "Walk Away from Love" and "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)," to a pleasing cover of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "I Miss You." The late soul man was a master of dramatic tearjerkers, and the emotional, heart-on-his-sleeve approach serves him quite well on "Pieces of a Man" (not to be confused with the Gil Scott-Heron song), "World of Darkness," and "No Matter Where." If you've never experienced the pleasures of Ruffin's solo years, The Ultimate Collection would be the most appropriate starting point.
The Ultimate Collection Review
by Alex Henderson