Monday, 9 January 2017

"My Whole World Ended" by DAVID RUFFIN [feat Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua and The Funk Brothers] (2016 Universal Spain/Motown/Elemental Music 'Stereo' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Saw My Flower Child..."

When DAVID RUFFIN stepped out of the shadows and up to his debut solo LP (Lead Vocalist with The Temptations) – he enlisted some of Motown's most gifted writers and produced a classic Soul LP that raced to the coveted No. 1 spot on the US R&B charts in 1969. And God does it still stand up - both as a great example of quality Sixties Motown Soul but as a wet dream for Northern Soul dancers gagging to flick talcum powder on the kitchen Lino. Which brings us to this superb reissue...

This 2016 CD Remaster is part of a European Reissue Series from Universal Spain distributed in the UK by Elemental Music – a reissue label specialising in Disco, Soul, Funk and Fusion LP titles that are long out of print on both vinyl and CD. With access to the vast back-catalogue of Universal - you get mainly US rarities and obscure albums originally on Polydor, Chess, Cadet, People, Mercury, Capitol Records and of course the huge Motown repertoire including Rare Earth, Soul, Tamla and Gordy (see list below). They’ve been releasing titles steadily since November 2015 and into 2016...

Each CD Reissue is housed in a gatefold LP replica card sleeve with an Inner (a limited edition). It doesn't say anywhere on their glossy packaging (inners or CDs) who or even where these were transferred or remastered despite the claims of such on the stickers on the outer shrink-wrap. Having said that the repro sleeves are accurate - tactile to touch - all coming with a gatefold artwork when most of their original album covers were single sleeves - and best of all have superb Audio care of Universal UMC. If was to hazard a Remaster Engineer guess - it sounds like the work of Gary Moore or Kevin Reeves - both of whom have handled huge numbers of these genre albums for Universal in their extensive 200+ 'Originals' Series. Here are the details...

UK/Europe released November 2016 - "My Whole World Ended" by DAVID RUFFIN on Universal Spain/Motown/Elemental Music 88527 (Barcode 8435395501542) is a straightforward CD Remaster of the 1969 12-track STEREO LP originally on Motown Records and plays out as follows (minutes):

1. My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)
2. Pieces Of A Man
3. Somebody Stole My Dream
4. I've Lost Everything I've Ever Loved
5. Everlasting Love
6. I've Got To Find Myself A Brand New Baby
7. The Double Cross [Side 2]
8. Message From Maria
9. World Of Darkness 
10. We'll Have A Good Thing Going On
11. My Love Is Growing Stronger
12. Flower Child
Tracks 1 to 12 are his debut LP "My Whole World Ended" - released May 1969 in the USA on Motown MS685 (Stereo) and September 1969 in the UK on Tamla Motown TML 11118 (Mono) and Tamla Motown STML 11118 (Stereo) – the STEREO mix is used for this CD Remaster. Arranged and Produced by HARVEY FUQUA and JOHNNY BRISTOL - it peaked at No. 1 in the USA on the R&B charts (No. 31 on the Pop). David Ruffin - Lead Vocals and Piano - Backing Singers are The Originals (Freddie Gorman, Walter Gaines, Hank Dixon and C.P. Spencer) with Female backing Singers - The Andantes - Rhythm Section by The Funk Brothers  

The glossy black and white inner gatefold starts the lyrics at Song 1 and ends on Song 8 only to continue on one-side of the inner sleeve for Songs 9 to 12 (the flipside of the inner has track details, musician credits and other discography info - see photos attached). The CD label is Motown Stereo and the Remastered Audio is beautifully clear – sounding a lot like the versions done by KEVIN REEVES for the 2005 Hip-O Select sets out of the USA - in fact the annotation is almost identical. With those 5000-only Hip-O Select sets now costing silly money - this is s welcome reissue...

Ruffin surrounded himself with great songwriters for his debut - legends behind the scenes. HARVEY FUQUA had formed the famed Vocal Group The Moonglows in the early Fifties and had a history with Motown stretching right back to their first release for Barrett Strong that Fuqua distributed on his own Anna Records. He'd guided Marvin Gaye to Tammi Terrell and co-written the monster Miracles No. 1 "Tears Of A Clown". His hands are on three songs - the big single and its B-side "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)" b/w "I've Got To Find Myself A Brand New Baby": which the label put out prior to the album's release in late January 1969 on Motown 1149 which rose to No. 2 R&B (No. 9 Pop) - and the third being "World Of Darkness" - a co-write with Thomas Kemp who'd written hits for other Motown acts like The Spinners, The Isley Brothers and Marvin and Tammi. The other huge force on the LP is future Disco legend JOHNNY BRISTOL who co-pens six of the twelve songs on here - "My Whole World Ended (The Moment I Lost You)", "Pieces Of A Man", "I've Lost Everything I've Ever Loved", "I've Got To Find Myself A Brand New Baby", "My Love Is Growing Stronger" and "Flower Child" - most of which are very upbeat Northern Soul dancers and display his uncanny knack for a hooky tune.

Penned by Buzz Carson and Mac Gayden - "Everlasting Love" is the kind of infectious love song that has legs everywhere and for everyone - Robert Knight first aired it in 1967 (Rising Sons RS 705) - The Love Affair put it at No. 1 in the UK on CBS Records in January 1968 (CBS 3125) while Carl Carlton returned to it in October 1974 on Back Beat Records and got a US R&B No. 11. Here David takes the hooky little sucker and simply adds some Motown Soul to The Love Affair dancing version. Other winners include "The Double Cross" and "We Have A Good Thing Going On" - both penned by the duo of Allen Story and George "Horgay" Gordy. Motown's second single off the album was "I've Lost Everything I've Ever Loved" which they paired with "We'll Have A Good Thing Going On" in September 1969 (Motown 1149) - gaining them a more modest R&B placing of No. 11 (No. 59 Pop). The album ends on the very wordy and contemplative "Flower Child" - a mid-tempo message song about a daughter making the writer's pain melt away.

David Ruffin's "My Whole World Ended" is a five star winning debut. He'd follow it with the less-convincing "Feelin' Good" album only months later in November 1969 (April 1970 in the UK on Tamla) – but that felt like sloppy seconds for the most part. This is the one - and resplendent here with sexy repro presentation and lovely Audio - fans should dive in and get tearful once again with the mighty Ruff...

Titles in the 2015/2016 'Universal/Elemental Music' CD Reissue Series are:

1. Hang On In There Baby (1974 LP on MGM Records) - JOHNNY BRISTOL (Universal/Elemental 88518 - 8435395501153)
2. The Original Disco Man (1979 LP on Polydor) - JAMES BROWN (Universal/Elemental 88523 – Barcode 8435395501450)
3. Music To Make Love By (1975 LP on Chess) - SOLOMON BURKE (Universal/Elemental 88528 – Barcode 8435395501627)
4. Hot On The Tracks (1976 LP on Motown) – THE COMMODORES (Universal/Elemental 88511 – Barcode 8435395500965)
5. Breakin' Bread (1974 LP on People) – FRED (WESLEY) & THE NEW JB’S (Universal/Elemental 88522 – Barcode 8435395501252)
6. Doing It To Death (1973 LP on People) - THE JB'S [with James Brown] (Universal/Elemental 88517 – Barcode 8435395501146)
7. People...Hold On (1972 LP on Tamla) – EDDIE KENDRICKS (Universal/Elemental 88501 – Barcode 8435395500569)
8. Mother Nature's Son (1968 Stereo LP on Cadet, Charles Stepney Production) – RAMSEY LEWIS (Universal/Elemental 88504 – Barcode 8435395500590)
9. Them Changes (1970 LP on Cadet) - RAMSEY LEWIS (Universal/Elemental 88516 – Barcode 8435395501139)
10. Fire (1974 LP on Mercury) - THE OHIO PLAYERS (Universal/Elemental 88506 – Barcode 8435395500973)
11. Skin Tight (1974 LP on Mercury with 1 Bonus Track) - THE OHIO PLAYERS (Universal/Elemental 88510 – Barcode 8435395500958)
12. Get Ready (1969 LP on Rare Earth) – RARE EARTH (Universal/Elemental 88505 – Barcode 8435395500866)
13. Soulin' (1966 Stereo LP on Capitol) - LOU RAWLS (Universal/Elemental 88515 - 8435395501122)
14. Smokey (1973 LP on Tamla) – SMOKEY ROBINSON (Universal/Elemental 88503 – Barcode 8435395500583)
15. My Whole World Ended (1969 Stereo LP on Motown) - DAVID RUFFIN (Universal/Elemental 88527 – Barcode 8435395501542)
16. The Groove Governor (1970 LP on Soul) – JIMMY RUFFIN (Universal/Elemental 88513 – Barcode 8435395501108)
17. Still Waters Run Deep (1970 LP on Tamla) – THE TEMPTATIONS (Universal 88502 – Barcode 8435395500576)
18. Face To Face With... (1971 LP on Gordy) – THE UNDISPUTED TRUTH (Universal/Elemental 88509 – Barcode 8435395500941)
19. Together Brothers O.S.T. (1974 2LPs on 20th Century, Single CD) – BARRY WHITE and THE LOVE UNLIMITED ORCHESTRA (Universal/Elemental 88507 – Barcode 8435395500880)

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