Tony Ferraro On the Soul of David Ruffin

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We've started poking around in locals' iTunes, iPods, Spotify playlists, CD players, cassette decks, turntables and brains with one question in mind: What are you listening to? We don't even care if it's good, we just want to know what the music community has been obsessing over, playing on repeat, picking apart, hating or turning people on to. Sometimes, these things even all happen at once.

Today, Tony Ferraro goes deep into his love for Temptations singer David Ruffin, and his sorely overlooked solo catalog. Ferraro's Denton supergroup, The Satans of Soft Rock, just released two more new songs off Friend of Man and Beast Alike. Check 'em out.

"I grew up on 98.7FM KLUV here in DFW. My pops was into the early rock, soul, girl groups and Billy Joel, while my mom was more into Tom Petty and Zeppelin. I rarely get into music of our day unless it is made by someone I know personally. My favorite bands are certainly local bands. Still, I have two inexhaustible wells of music library heroism: Dave Howard (my oldest friend, plays in Satans) and Ryan Becker. They are positively insatiable as fans and collectors. Almost every new piece I hear comes to me through them.

"An unreleased record, David, was recorded and scrapped in 1971 by Motown giant David Ruffin. It was 'found' and released in early 2004. When you put it on, the first thing you will hear is a very grave and passionate string section and harpsichord. The melodic descent of the arrangement immediately sets a scholarly scene in my head, with a slumped and sweater-vested Ruffin wandering alone through falling leaves on a campus, muttering, addressing an absent ex-lover.

"Ruffin's not a mutterer though, and his voice jump-kicks through the instruments.The story of 'Each Day Is A Lifetime' is familiar: His love is gone, the everyday details now bore him and the hours just hang around, unwanted. His gritty and powerful vocal performance again serves the theme: the phenomenon of slowed-down (perceived) time, and the power of our minds to sense a lull in the pacing of minutes and hours.

"The title's synecdochic nature is also a tribute to this phenom. Making two different measurements the same value is a literary device used to force the image of a grand picture and, simultaneously, its components. I connected. And my heart still goes out to those guys and girls who yearn for human connection, because I used to be like that; a weepy, emotional weenie. Nowadays, I value myself and love my life a lot more and I don't get down about romantic failures like my former, weaker self. DEAR LOVELORN PEOPLE, FIND YOUR HEALTHY COPING MECHANISMS, AND CHECK OUT MY BANDS AND DAVID RUFFIN!

"I simply love most poetry and lyrics for this reason: We can use language to try and make an image play in others' minds. It's an old tool. It's a wild tool, like jungle scissors (not real). Dear world, read books. Thank you so much for sitting through me rambling like this."

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Audra Schroeder
Contact: Audra Schroeder