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Published on May 4, 2013

David Ruffin's third and self-titled solo offering was in many ways a collaborative effort with Bobby Miller, who produced the David Ruffin (1973) album and supplied eight of its ten tracks. There is a conspicuous dichotomy between the personas that Ruffin portrays throughout the project and the man whose fractious relationship with Motown had practically cost him his association with the label. Things had gotten so bad, they permanently shelved what should have been Ruffin's third LP. Motown simply refused to put it out until cooler heads eventually prevailed some three decades later. He was likewise no longer afforded access to "A-list" material and support musicians either. While his previous outings had sold respectably, they certainly were no match for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, or even his former bandmates in the Temptations whose "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" had been a crossover pop chart topper months earlier. "The Rovin' Kind" gets things underway bearing an almost emblematic mid-tempo Motown groove. Ruffin's once crystalline voice now endures the sonic substantiation of chronic drug and alcohol addiction. In a perverse way, the combination of his aging falsetto, coupled with the rough-hewn timbre, actually enhance his role in the ballad "Common Man," as well as the blithe and bouncy "I'm Just a Mortal Man" with the Andantes providing the equally amicable background vocals. The update of "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" -- a seductive side that Luther Ingram had considerable success with the previous year -- is personalized as Ruffin confides in the opening that he is "a man in desperation" backing it up with the plea "can't you help the situation"? His short rhythmically spoken intro continues as he owns up to his reputation as a "wild child," begging the question whether Ruffin is actually in or out of character. The Philly-style soul of the Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff written "I Miss You" suits the heart-wrenching adaptation. The six-plus minute gritty social commentary "Blood Donors Needed (Give All You Can)" is a starkly accurate portrayal of inner-city life. Perhaps in the escapism mentality of the times, it failed to make an impact on the singles charts. Yet, the lack of a marketable 45 seems to have had little relevance on R&B record buyers as David Ruffin made it into the Top Five album survey -- although it did not fare nearly as well, peaking at number 168 on the pop side. Those slipping figures are endemic indicators of the increasing lack of interest that Motown would invest in Ruffin's future endeavors.

  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

    • David Ruffin
  • Writers

    • Carl Hampton, Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • UMG (on behalf of Hip-O Select); UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA - UBEM, CMRRA, UMPG Publishing, LatinAutor - UMPG, BMI - Broadcast Music Inc., LatinAutor, Warner Chappell, and 2 Music Rights Societies


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