David Ruffin's swan song
The Fancy One | Westchester County, NY | 02/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By 1968, the Tempts were the biggest R&B group in the world, but unknown to many of their fans, they were going through a stressful period during the time WISH IT WOULD RAIN was recorded. As the well-known story goes, David Ruffin was falling out on them, and basically got a big head from all the attention he garnered as the Tempts' electrifying lead singer. He started making impossible demands, such as changing the groups' name to "David Ruffin and the Temptations". Well, the other group members didn't like it very much and let him know it. By that summer, he was gone.
WISH IT WOULD RAIN is the last remnant of what was once the most magical lineup in R&B. David Ruffin dominated the music the Tempts recorded during this period, and out of the twelve cuts on this CD, he sings lead on seven of them. This CD includes three hit singles, "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)", "I Wish It Would Rain" and Eddie Kendricks' sweet fasletto lead on "Please Return Your Love To Me". Even the B-cuts are of the highest quality: David's lead on the Smokey Robinson-penned songs "Cindy" and "Fan The Flame" are just a few to take note of. Melvin Franklin, the bottomless bass of the group gets a surprizing solo turn with "I Truly, Truly Believe" and he sounds GREAT! Paul Williams, the underrated baritone of the group gets his chance to shine on "Gonna Give Her All The Love I've Got" and "No Man Can Love Her Like I Do", co-written by his buddy and fellow Tempt, Eddie Kendricks. Speaking of Eddie, along with the hit "Please Return Your Love To Me", he gets the lead on the Ashford and Simpson song, "This Is My Beloved".
If you can get your hands on this CD, you will forever treasure it. The Tempts' harmonies are just outstanding, and once again, you will understand just why this is the group that stands far beyond all the others in classic soul. A must have."
The Greatest Tempts LP
Halevi | Northern New England | 05/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, they were a singles band. All Motown acts were until Stevie and Marvin broke free and took control of their own "product". And this is just a collection of single recordings, but, that said, it plays like an album, rare in 60's Motown stacks, with one song flowing into another in mood and sensibility. And the five Tempts, the original five, are all in exceptional form. Yes, this was David Ruffin's last record with them, but he is lacking nothing in his strengths. In fact, the title song is an underrated triumph of emotional delivery. Hats off to Melvin Franklin for his solo number, which will stay with you for years. If you can find this in its doubled up CD release with In A Mellow Mood, you also get his "Old Man River". Gems, all of them."
Ruffin bows out gracefully
finulanu | Here, there, and everywhere | 08/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This really marked the end of an era for the Temptations. It was their last album with the late, iconic David Ruffin - he would unfortunately leave the group shortly thereafter to begin a solo career. It was also the last album the group made in the traditional R&B field, before Norman Whitfield pushed them to record psychedelic soul. The "psychedelic soul" period is kind of odd, in that it resulted in both some of the best and some of the worst songs in modern music. Anyway, this is a damn good R&B album. It's pretty standard Motown, but standard Motown is awesome, so there you have it. Other than the superlative, brokenhearted title track (a massive hit single), none of these songs are among the very best of the Temptations, but you've got some great stuff here regardless. Obviously, the best songs are the singles, all three of them lovelorn ballads: the aforementioned title track, "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)," and "Please Return Your Love to Me." The former is sung by Ruffin, who's at his peak on this album, delivering all of his lead vocals with a lot of conviction (the groovin' semi-rocker "He Who Picks a Rose," the kinda-funky "Fan the Flame," the dramatic, high-energy "Why Did You Leave Me Darling"), and the latter has Eddie Kendricks' heavenly falsetto at its best, more or less. He also sounds fantastic on "This is My Beloved," which is so-so otherwise. There is one generic, poorly mixed doo-wop throwaway ("I Truly, Truly Believe"), but even that one has a great bass vocal by Melvin Franklin. I guess a few songs near the end don't do much for me, but nothing bothers me, other than the organ on "Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got" and the cheesy lecturing on "I've Passed This Way Before." It's a very even album, really. If you're a Motown fan, scoop it up if you can find it, and if you're not one, this won't convert you. But if you're not a Motown fan, you're missing out on a lot of good music. Just so you know."