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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Jimmy Ruffin - "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" b/w "I've Passed This Way Before" 45 rpm Vinyl Single, 1966 (Motown)

Perfection as sound.  Jimmy Ruffin, the younger brother of David, the lead singer of The Temptations, had a voice that can express severe romantic disappointment on a Wagner level of theater and angst.  The land of broken dreams, where happiness is just an illusion.  He walked in shadows looking for light.  And so forth.  The singer is not expressing just a romance going bad, he's singing about the darkness that absorbs the land.  The production is just as dark and confined as the lyrics. The backup vocalists echo the singer's observations. There's no opening or entrance to the outside world to get some fresh air.    Motown during the 1960s was mostly great, but for me, "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" is the tip of the mountain of greatness.  

The b-side "I've Passed This Way Before" is a song with a sense of hope.  Perhaps a commentary on the "Brokenhearted."   Still, the gloom is in place.