Thursday, June 17, 2010

O hell! to choose love by another's eyes

I think that David Ruffin had one of the richest, deepest, most profound voices in soul music, with a tragic backstory to match. I love Marvin Gaye, but at times, the pleading in his voice can be too much. I read somewhere that he always had an uneasy time deciding between the Bible and the Bedroom, and perhaps this was what lead him to certain areas where the nervous tension was evident in his voice. Certainly on his divorce settlement album, 1978's Here, My Dear the self-pitying, hostility and sarcasm is so thick that could almost erase all of the good will the man built up for himself through all the other great music he gave us, where not human vulnerability such a crucial component to great soul music.

Ruffin's desperation was of a different sort all together, accompanied by the octave-jumping vocal acrobatics that has been so thoroughly perverted by contemporary soul and vocalists, with their overly trained voices and artificial throat bubbles. Anyways, these songs are best enjoyed without my off-base commentary, and I've got to run to prepare for a wedding tomorrow - one of those life and love affirming events that get me all sentimental and appreciative.

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