Earlier this year I told you about an album that I bought in 1966 - a volume of The Motown Sound. I grabbed that long playing record off the rack at Mailman's because there were several essential Dell songs on it.
songs that I had never heard before - songs so good that they quickly became favorites. One of those soulful nuggets was "As Long as There is L-O-V-E Love," a Smokey Robinson penned smooth groove performed by Jimmy Ruffin.
To think that a soul treasure of that magnitude fizzled out at #120 on the Bubbling Under chart! Gimme a break!
Truth be told, Jimmy Ruffin spent the bulk of his career standing in the shadow of his younger brother David and other prominent Motown stars.
In August of 1966, eight months after the release of the grossly underachieving "L-O-V-E," Jimmy Ruffin gave the Shady Dell one of its all time greatest double-siders,
“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"/“Baby, I’ve Got It.” The dynamite double play became one of the most important Dell records of the mid 60's.
The 45rpm version of "Brokenhearted" that millions of Americans remember featured an extended instrumental opening before Jimmy's vocals began. The unusually long instrumental intro can be explained by the deletion of a spoken verse that was originally written into the song:
A world filled with love is a wonderful sight.
Being in love is one's heart's delight.
But that look of love isn't on my face.
That enchanted feeling has been replaced.
Would "Brokenhearted" have been even more popular with that spoken intro included, or would it have been less of
a hit? We'll never know.
Playing the faster paced “Baby, I’ve Got It” on the barn box was another sure-fire way to bring Dell couples out on the floor.
"Baby, I've Got it" is ranked way up there at #30 among
all surveyed songs on my Dell's Greatest Hits list!
“Baby, I’ve Got It” might have been an overlooked B side in America, but in the dance clubs of the UK and western Europe where fab but forgotten flips of American soul singles were frequently elevated to hit status this awesome northern dancer was the side favored by savvy deejays.
Jimmy Ruffin followed up his “Brokenhearted” single with another soul-stirring recording.
“I’ve Passed This Way Before,” released just in time for the Christmas holiday season of 1966, is memorable for Jimmy's dramatic spoken passages at the beginning and near the end of the song. It's hard to imagine this song being as great without Jimmy's soliloquy.
At #76 on the Shady Dell survey, “I’ve Passed This Way Before” was another mid-tempo Motown masterpiece that had the Dell dancers out of their seats, on their feets, and forming a big strong line!
Like the record spnners and clubbers of Northern England,
Dell rats constantly engaged in a jukebox treasure hunt. Whenever a new 45 turned up in the jukebox they auditioned both sides in hopes of uncovering the next great Dell dance classic.
Quite often the song with magic Dell dust sprinkled all over it turned out to be the flip side of the single. As many of you know by now I refer to this unexpected outcome as the killer bee phenomenon.
With that in mind, my official Jimmy Ruffin Pick to Click is
"Baby, I've Got It."
David Ruffin's death. Two decades? Hardly seems possible!
Have a Shady day!