David Ruffin – David Ruffin Motown M762L (1973)
This self-titled album was my first exposure to David Ruffin’s solo material, back in the late 1990s. I knew him as the lead singer of The Temptations, and hey, those glasses were back in style! Definitely not his best. Yet stuff like “I Miss You, Part 1” is still decent. The problem is that he’s not doing the sweet, sumptuous string backing thing but also hasn’t fully committed to the psychedelic soul sound that would work well on his next effort Me ‘n Rock ‘n Roll Are Here to Stay. So he’s stuck in some kind of middle-ground limbo. It’s that, plus the material is forgettable and his voice isn’t as effective as elsewhere. He had that once-in-a-lifetime coarse soulfulness in those vocal chords. Here he comes across as almost hoarse much of the time. Adequate, but unessential.