Monday, March 26, 2007

David Ruffin - David (2004)

Most people know David Ruffin as the gravelly-voiced singer in the Temptations, whose career was plagued by drug addiction and personal friction with Motown label-head Berry Gordy. However, the Motown vaults contained another side of the story. The recordings for what should have been David Ruffin's 1971 solo album have remained almost entirely unreleased until Hip-O Select resurrected them in 2004. This reissue finally makes this lost gem available, and now we know what we've been missing. Evidently, it was quite a lot. While not as monumental an achievement as say Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On, or Stevie Wonder's album-length statements from the early 70's, this record contains some near-classic slices of upbeat, post-Motown, sweet 70's soul. Check out David's take on the Jackson 5 staple, "I Want You Back". The song makes a lot more sense when sung by a full-grown man, and Ruffin's forceful grunts and soul shouts give the lyrics a real sense of urgency. Opener, "Each Day is a Lifetime", is another standout cut. The track begins with strings as Ruffin pours his heart out, detailing his methods for coping with a breakup. When the chorus hits, the Motown rhythm section kicks in and a backing chorus swells behind him. The song continues in this pattern of ebb and flow, oscillating between string-backed laments and driving gut-bucket soul. In a way, the entire album could be summed up in similar terms. There is a prevailing upbeat tone throughout, making this long-overdue collection a treat not to be missed.


Stream "Each Day is a Lifetime"


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Anonymous said...

Excellent choice, as ever, i do like blogs like this, selective yet tasteful, keep up the good work mate. Loved the Arthur Russell stuff too.

Scott - UK

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