38. Son of a Legend – Kickin’ it with David Ruffin, Jr.

Posted: August 2, 2009 in African American, Black entertainment, family, fathers
Tags: , , , , , ,

david ruffinDavid Ruffin (born Davis Eli 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.” Wiki

Fathersfootprint’s recently caught up with David Ruffin, Jr. who is also an artist in his own right.  It didn’t take David Jr. any time at all to clear up some misconceived notions we had about his legendary father. 

 

David Ruffin, Jr’s Vital Stats:david ruffin jr cd

Name: David Ruffin, Jr

Relationship Status: Single

Profession: Recording Artist

Residence: Los Angeles, CA

Hometown: Detroit, MI

CD Titles: All My Life, Bloodline

Recording Label: Ruffin-It Muzic

 

FF: Not only are you the son of David Ruffin, you also bear his name.  How has this helped or hindered your career as an artist?

D-Ruff: Breaking into the music business isn’t something one pursues for three months, six months, or a year, and can expect to see great results. It’s something that most successful people find is a life-long pursuit. “Taking a shot” at a career in music is like taking a shot at being a quarterback, a track star, or being an Academy award-winning actor. The effort you put in will dictate the rewards you ultimately receive. I think my father David Ruffin was all that rolled into one.  He was the best of the best…he paved the way for many artists, including myself.  I do not feel my father’s career hindered me at all in the music industry.

FF: Your father is a product of the Motown Machine.  What advice do you have for artists looking to sign with a label in today’s entertainment environment labels?

D-Ruff: Hire an excellent attorney, booking agent, and shop until you have what you need as a artist.  I would like also to add my father was not a product of Motown.  He, as an artist, helped to define the Motown Machine as it is known today.

l to r: Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Otis Williams & Melvin Franklin ~ The Temptations

L to R: Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Otis Williams & Paul Williams ~ The Temptations

 

FF: There are rumors surrounding the life and legacy of your father, the great David Ruffin.  What rumor would you care to dispel for our readers?

D-Ruff: I’m sure people want me to comment about his untimely death and the circumstances around it, but I will not conjure up any words or some story to pacify the curious. However, more in the vein of- or for future artist’s and entertainer’s in general, I’ll say this: In the music world as in any entertainment field there are always going to be rumors, especially with the  group as large as the Temptations.  These men were on the road sometimes 40 weeks a year, in the recording studio, away from families & friends.  There is really no way to dispel any of the rumors out there. My father loved his children, family, friends and his music.

FF: In your estimation, what was the true source of your father’s pain?

D-Ruff: Perhaps his true source of pain was leaving home at such a young age. Learning is a process for all of us as adults.  My dad had to learn real fast at an early age how to survive in the music world and he struggled to make it.  It was not a overnight success story.  It took him years to make it.  Once he did, it hit all at once.  He tremendous amount of success may have been a little too much for him at the time.

David Ruffin Jr pic

FF: Tell us about your music. 

D-Ruff: I have a style, better yet, a way about my songs that are based on feelings. When I write songs, I am motivated and inspired by the song that I see around my life, the feelings that I get from the energy that I’m sharing with producers or peers and the actual track it’s self.  Not everything in life and love that we feel is great and good.  If we are lucky WE get to share our thoughts and feelings with others and in return they get some joy or a lesson from it.  My music is born from feelings, lessons, living and learning, coupled with intense music, sound, production and more feeling.  My music hopes to reach others and to help promote more, understanding, expression and love.

FF: We share Detroit roots and have both moved away from the “D”.  What aspect of Detroit has had the most profound effect on you as an individual?

D-Ruff: The Motown sound, Northern soul.  It’s a feeling you don’t lose or forget.  Detroit suffered when Motown moved its operations to the west coast, so did many of the artists.

We’re very excited to be able to share with the FathersFootprints’ audience a significant piece of Detroit’s (and music’s) rich history.  Today, the world famous Motown studio is now a museum displaying the great accomplishments of Detroit teenagers including: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles; Diana Ross and the Supremes; The Contours; The Four Tops; Martha and the vadellas; The Marvelettes; The Spinners; The Jackson 5; Stevie Wonder; Marvin Gaye;  and David Ruffin and the Temptations.

We look forward to continued lineage of souful sounds through David Ruffin Jr.  We close this feature with a couple lines from the David Ruffin-lead Temptations hit – Ain’t Too Proud To Beg:

“I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go

If I have to beg and plead for your sympathy

I don’t mind ’cause you mean that much to me

Ain’t too proud to beg, and you know it….”

We beg you to check out David Ruffin, Jr.  You won’t be disappointed.  To sample his music, visit his MySpace page by clicking the link below.

Until next time,

Damon signature

 

 

myspace logo

 

 

 

 

FatherFootprints sends a special shout out to our dear friend Kelley Terrell (niece of the late Tammi Terrell) for making this interview a reality.

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    I heard Jr Ruffin’s music. He has a real nice sound. I’m curious if he has any other artists on his Ruffin It Music label?

  2. Cynda says:

    Loved hearing the thoughts of another talented young man…I look forward to his music.

  3. Rachel Araya says:

    David,

    You are very talented! I’m listening to your music right now. Hot!!! You have a very unique voice. I will definitely support you in all of your musical endeavors.

    Damon,

    Great interview!

  4. Twyla says:

    Its incredible the way you keep putting out these blogs. I’m interested in starting a blog but don’t know where to start. How do I go about getting some help? I love the way you keep putting out new material, and the interviews, OMG. You really know a lot of famous people. Twinkie

  5. Mike says:

    Do your thang doggie. Roo

  6. Melvin D. says:

    I heard some of David’s music. He is very talented. I wonder if he would be more widely known if he signed with a major label. In any case, keep up posted on his work. Thaanks Damon. Mel-D

  7. I just stopped by to say THANX SO MUCH DD. A “hello” to R.A., and a Thanx You to the readers as well. As to if I have others on my Label … of course I do, got talent? And expect more after the new year. Thanx again….David Jr.

  8. Jackie says:

    Very proud of you!! Keep your head up and keep up the good work. Your father would be PROUD!!

  9. Karen says:

    No comparrison to the great David Eli Ruffin SR. Nope sorry that is not the real thing.

  10. Annie Reynolds says:

    I loved them. ALL of them. Thank you for being alive…

  11. Aint no other REAL THING besides me! I aint trying to be my Father, so you keep comparing US and you will either be very disappointed or pleasantly surprised. DAVID RUFFIN JR / “MUTHAPHUCKAWERK” = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AnR6jLeVvU Hope you like it! Lemme know please!

    Thanx again….much Love & Respect! DRJ (SonOfaLegend)

  12. Mimi says:

    Love it!!!

  13. CAROLE KING says:

    I Love your above mentioned interview! Take care

  14. Malcolm says:

    MY MAN D-RUFF, YOU ARE A VERY INTELLIGENT INDIVISUAL FIRST AND FOREMOST. YOU TELL IT LIKE IT IS! I RESPECT THAT AS A MAN.PEOPLE ARE SO NEGATIVE AT TIMES I’M A PERSON WHO FOLLOWED YOUR DAD’S CAREER FOREVER, HE IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE MY FAVORITE SINGER,NOT JUST MY FAVORITE TEMPTATION. YOUR FATHER IS A MAN OF PRINCIPALS AND DIGNITY,HIS MUSIC SIGNIFIED THOSE TRAITS. I HONOR HIS MUSIC,MEMORY,HIS MERE EXISTENCE,AND I THANK GOD FOR SHARING HIM WITH US FOR THAT SHORT PERIOD OF TIME,DAVID RUFFIN SR. SHOULD BE REMEMBERED FOR HIS GOD GIVEN TALENT,BECAUSED THAT’S WHAT HE WHOLEHEARTEDLY GAVE TO THE WORLD IN EVERY SONG HE SANG. IT’S SAD WHEN WE AS AFRO-AMERICAN’S LOOK AT OUR FELLOW BROTHER’S WEAKNESS BEFORE WE APPRECIATE HIS STRENGTH, I’AM ONE BLACK BROTHER WHO LOVES YOUR FATHER MY DEAR NUBIAN BROTHER,YOU STAY STRONG AND TO HELL WITH THE NEGATIVITY,RIP MR. DAVIS ELI RUFFIN SR,I GOT NOTHING BUT LOVE FOR YOU………

  15. deshawn smith says:

    your father the late great david ruffin was a great artist no one can dare to touch his vocal style.

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