14 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 1970, David Ruffin was a mess (ex-lover Tammi Terrell had just died; his solo career too often butted up against his substance abuse) when he made this album with his brother (whose own career was scoring well in the U.K.). Yet you’d never be able to tell. Backed by assorted Funk Brothers and arranged by unsung Motown champs including Paul Riser and Henry Crosby, the tunes and performances here prove the truism that there’s nothing like duets and harmonizing when genetics play a big role. The album simply captures the yin and the yang of Detroit’s gospel-weaned brothers, with younger David’s hard-earned soul and Jimmy’s smooth-operator croon. The result is a handsomely toiled, cohesive whole. Between the so-beautiful-it-transcends-the-obvious covers (“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” “Stand by Me”) and punchy, pop-hook–heavy standouts (“Steppin’ on Dream,” “True Love Can Be Beautiful”), there’s gospel-deep soul (“Your Love Was Worth Waiting For”) and soul-tender gospel (James Taylor’s “Lo and Behold”). Even the original of The Delfonics' “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” can’t hold a candle to the version here.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 1970, David Ruffin was a mess (ex-lover Tammi Terrell had just died; his solo career too often butted up against his substance abuse) when he made this album with his brother (whose own career was scoring well in the U.K.). Yet you’d never be able to tell. Backed by assorted Funk Brothers and arranged by unsung Motown champs including Paul Riser and Henry Crosby, the tunes and performances here prove the truism that there’s nothing like duets and harmonizing when genetics play a big role. The album simply captures the yin and the yang of Detroit’s gospel-weaned brothers, with younger David’s hard-earned soul and Jimmy’s smooth-operator croon. The result is a handsomely toiled, cohesive whole. Between the so-beautiful-it-transcends-the-obvious covers (“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” “Stand by Me”) and punchy, pop-hook–heavy standouts (“Steppin’ on Dream,” “True Love Can Be Beautiful”), there’s gospel-deep soul (“Your Love Was Worth Waiting For”) and soul-tender gospel (James Taylor’s “Lo and Behold”). Even the original of The Delfonics' “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” can’t hold a candle to the version here.

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