Thursday, 21 November 2019

David Ruffin


I Couldn't Believe It/Ordinary Girl/One More For The Lonely Hearts Club/Whatever You Got/Don't Know Why (You're Dreaming)/Family Affair/One Last Kiss/You Only Get What You Put Out/Goodnight Pillow  

Daryl Hall & John Oates managed to get these two ex-Temptations together to record this little-known comeback album in 1987, long after they had left The Temptations. They also used the two of them to join in parts of their stage show on a Motown nostalgia slot. I used to own a long-deleted live album of that show and it was really good. (Actually it still exists, I'll get round to reviewing it - it's called Live At The Apollo).

Eddie Kendricks revered to his birth surname of Kendrick, without the 's' for this album and throughout the 1980s.

Anyway, this album is a long-forgotten soul rarity with some good stuff on it and it is great to hear them singing together again. Tragically, within five years, both of them would have passed away.
I Couldn't Believe It is a marvellous Motown-style stomper, led by Ruffin's mellifluous voice, backed up by Kendrick's falsetto. Both of them are sounding understandably older, but man, they've still got it, haven't they? The song has a killer saxophone solo too. The backing is slightly more eighties than sixties, but you can't help but bop along. It has a bit of feel of those "modern Northern Soul" records, recorded in the eighties to sound "Northern". Ordinary Girl has a very Hall & Oates-style backing that sounds like that they used on Maneater. It is not a Hall & Oates song but it sure sounds like it, with that frisky, fast bass beat. Kendrick leads on the syrupy ballad One More For The Lonely Hearts Club. Ruffin's backing vocal is sumptuous.

Whatever You Got is a solid slice of eighties soul funk, led by Ruffin, featuring some nice jazzy saxophone.The synthy backing is very eighties, though. Don't Know Why (You're Dreaming) has a summery, vaguely reggae-ish beat. The pair's cover of Sly & The Family Stone's Family Affair is handled competently enough but doesn't really find me wanting to listen to it in preference to the original. Its eighties backing takes some of the appeal of the original seventies funk away from it.

One Last Kiss is a delicious slice of sweet, harmonious soul. You Only Get What You Put Out is a cookin' pot full of funk with the two voices interacting perfectly. Once more I have to say that it is very eighties. Goodnight Pillow is a late night slushy number as you might expect.

Overall, this is a pleasant, quality soul album. It is nothing outstanding, though and is rendered a little important by its very synthesised eighties backing, but there is no denying the timbre of the voices. It is eminently listenable certainly not essential.

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