Picks and Pans Review: Ruffin & Kendrick

updated 02/15/1988 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/15/1988 01:00AM

David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick

All right, it's a new year, so consider a new leaf to be turned and a more charitable critical policy to be in effect. Ready? This record is bor-r-r-ing. That, in fact, is being kind, because this drivel could put amphetamines to sleep. Ruffin and Kendrick, who made some unforgettable contributions to modern soul music in the '60s as members of the Temptations, forged a new alliance after a ballyhooed performance with Hall & Oates at Harlem's Apollo Theatre in 1985. It would have been more dignified to stay retired than to stumble through tepid, pedestrian material like this. Kendrick's ethereal falsetto is mismanaged, used mainly to shadow Ruffin's unabsorbing melodic statements. By turns gruff and stolid, Ruffin's voice has lost most of its authority. One More for the Lonely Hearts Club is the only reasonably spiffy vocal showcase on the album. Musically, guest producer Jay King's characteristically jukey arrangement of Sly Stone's Family Affair is a bright spot, and Goodnight Pillow has an easy, nostalgic pull reminiscent of Smokey Robinson. The rest of the songs are staler than year-old gingerbread. Hold on to your scratchy old Tempts' 45s. You won't be hearing their like again. (RCA)

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