David Ruffin – 1969 – Feelin’ Good
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David Ruffin (January 18, 1941 – June 1, 1991) was an American soul singer most famous for his work as one of the lead singers of The Temptations from 1964 to 1968 (or the group’s “Classic Five” period as it was later known). His was the lead voice on such famous songs as “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg“. Known for his unique raspy and anguished tenor vocals, Ruffin was ranked as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2008.. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 for his work with the Temptations.. Fellow Motown recording artist Marvin Gaye once said admiringly of Ruffin that “I heard in [his voice] a strength my own voice lacked.”
Feelin’ Good is the second solo album from former Temptations member David Ruffin. Released only six month after his solo debut My Whole World Ended (the #1 R/B hit), this album climbed to #9 on the R/B charts. The album was arranged by David Van De Pitte, Henry Cosby, Paul Riser, Wade Marcus and Willie Shorter.
A1 Loving You (Is Hurting Me) 2:54
A2 Put a Little Love in Your Heart 2:56
A3 I’m So Glad I Fell for You 3:20
A4 Feeling Alright 3:09
A5 I Could Never Be President 2:32
A6 I Pray Everyday You Won’t Regret Loving Me 2:57
B1 What You Gave Me 2:52
B2 One More Hurt 3:05
B3 I Let Love Slip Away 2:41
B4 I Don’t Know Why I Love You 2:59
B5 The Forgotten Man 2:40
B6 The Letter 2:58
Less than six months after the release of his triumphant solo debut My Whole World Ended (1969), Motown issued former Temptations‘ frontman David Ruffin’s dozen-song follow-up Feelin’ Good (1969). One factor in such a rapid turnaround was the availability of several leftovers from Ruffin’s former project and another was undoubtedly to strike again while the iron was still hot — as My Whole World Ended had topped the R&B charts for two weeks and spawned a pair of pop crossover hits to boot. Keen-eared listeners can discern the earlier recordings as Ruffin’s voice hasn’t developed the noticeably grittier quality that is reflected in the opening upbeat soul stirrer “Loving You (Is Hurting Me).” His timeless falsetto has a weariness that simply can’t be simulated. Of the two non-Motown covers on this collection, the incendiary update of Dave Mason‘s “Feelin’ Alright” wins hands down over the comparatively uninspired, but charming take of Jackie DeShannon‘s anthemic “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” None other than Motown founding father Berry Gordy himself is credited with the production on the gospel-flavored ballad “I’m So Glad I Fell for You“. The raw emotion in Ruffin’s fervent delivery and the spirited support of the Hal Davis Singers were enough to take the tune into the Top 20 R&B charts. Although the specific references may have changed, “I Could Never Be President” is as much a politically charged statement as it is an exuberant love song. It projects a more positive future than the present set of circumstances that most of Ruffin’s core audience would have been concurrently experiencing. The exceptionally funky rocker “I Pray Everyday You Won’t Regret Loving Me” — which was co-penned by Gladys Knight and her brother (not to mention a Pip) Merald “Bubba” Knight — is one of the better remnants from the My Whole World Ended sessions, standing among the album’s better deep cuts.
The lightness of Ashford & Simpson‘s “What You Gave to Me” pays an homage to Sagittarius‘ psychedelic sleeper “My World Fell Down” by essentially stealing the opening lyric “Just like a breath of spring/you came my way” and condensing it to “Like a breath of spring you came….” Ruffin’s perfect falsetto helps turn in another excellent leftover, which is also the source for the sublime mid-tempo “I Let Love Slip Away“. Before Ruffin was assigned the selection, a backing track was created for fellow Motown artist Marvin Gaye. As Gaye never got around to it, Ruffin was thankfully given a chance to see where he could take it. The austerity of Ruffin’s instrument indicates more about his personal state of affairs than perhaps he had intended to reveal. Yet he is able to conjure up the same beguiling temperament that had contributed to masterpieces such as “I Wish It Would Rain” and “My Girl“. Hip-O Select’s Great David Ruffin: The Motown Solo Albums, Vol. 1 (2005) double-disc anthology includes Feelin’ Good and its predecessor My Whole World Ended (1969), as well as David Ruffin (1973), and Me ‘N Rock ‘N Roll Are Here to Stay (1974) — all of which have been digitally remastered for optimal fidelity.