“I heard in [his voice] a strength my own voice lacked…made me remember that when a lot of women listen to music, they want to feel the power of a real man.”
–Marvin Gaye speaking about David Ruffin
David Ruffin is my kind of singer. Yeah, I know I just used the present tense and I know he died many years ago, but f***, if you can listen to this:
Let Somebody Love Me – David Ruffin
Rainy Night In Georgia – David Ruffin
and not be moved, not feel as if the man is present, then you’re deader than he is. Ya’ dig. As one of the Temptations’ lead voices during their classic era, D-Ruff (can I call him that? Yeah, this is my blog, I think I can) helped crystallize the soul singer blueprint. Emotional? Check. Anguished? Yep. Vulnerable? Absolutely. Authoritative? Yessiree. Authentic? You damn right.
“His voice had a certain glorious anguish that spoke to people on many different levels.”
Go and listen to classic Temptations tunes like ‘Beauty’s Only Skin Deep’, ‘I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)’ and ‘You’re My Everything’ (where Ruffin shares lead duties with Eddie Kendricks and his sweet falsetto) to hear what a soul singer sounds like. Hell, he sang lead on ‘My Girl’ and ‘I Wish It Would Rain’ for christsakes (The latter tune in particular is a personal favourite. When I was a teenager I used to hold a speaker in my lap, rest my head against it while listening to the song, almost like I was trying to get inside of it or something. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say I really like this song).
Anyway, the point is, David Ruffin is a great soul singer (there’s that pesky present tense again). Nowadays, we bandy about the terms underrated and underappreciated way too often when referring to athletes, actors, musicians, singers etc…Well, David Ruffin is truly underrated and underappreciated. And in an era of manufactured and packaged singers/artists, listening to D-Ruff is a revelation. Head to your latest music retailer or look him up on i-Tunes to further your edification.