Early 70s Motown from David
Ruffin – a pair of albums on a single CD! First up is a self-titled set from Motown giant Ruffin – and a record that pairs him with producer Bobby Miller, who'd worked some real late 60s magic with The Dells! As with that group, Miller has a wonderful way of letting the rough lead vocals come right to the front of the mix – while still serving up a batch of backings with a lot of power and focus – and a sense of complexity that comes through in both Miller's original tunes for the date, and the following arrangements from David
Van DePitte. This unified approach gives the record even more focus than other Ruffin albums of the period – and the whole thing stands not just as a lasting tribute to his talents, but also to the way that Motown was getting better and better at recording full albums over singles. Titles include "Common Man", "I Miss You", "A Little
More Trust", "Go On With Your Bad Self", and "Day In the Life of the Working Man". Me & Rock & Roll Are Here To Stay is a record with a strange title, but a great sound – and a real righteous step forward for David
Ruffin! Given Ruffin's work for Motown – both as a solo act and in The Temptations – we're hardly likely to associate him with rock and roll – but we can say that the record has David
working with more badass arrangements than ever before – a set of backings from Paul Riser that are produced by Norman Whitfield with some of the headier, more powerful elements he had brought to Ruffin's former group in the late 60s! There's some great basslines, sweet keyboards, and lots of sharp elements that feel like they might have been lifted off a hip 70s soul soundtrack – all in support of the record's powerful lyrics, half of which were written by Whitfield. Titles include "I Just Want To Celebrate", "No Matter Where", "Superstar", "I Saw You When You Met Her", "City Stars", and a great version of "Smiling Faces Sometimes".