"I'm Your Puppet" singer James Purify dies of COVID at age 76

(January 24, 2021) He was best known for a single hit, but wow was it a doozy. Singer James Purify, one-half of the duo James and Bobby Purify, has died in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida of complications from COVID-19. He was 76.

Purify and his cousin Bobby (who died in 2011) came out of the box in 1966 with what would be their signature song, “I’m Your Puppet,” a song that felt classic even as it was released – a Spooner Oldham/Dan Penn blend of doo wop and Stax-style instrumentation that went all the way to the top 10 on the pop and soul charts.

What is sometimes forgotten is that the duo continued to have success for the rest of the decade, with a big cover of “Shake A Tail Feather” and middling charters “Let Love Come Between Us,” “Do Unto Me,” and a half dozen more. The hits slowed down as the 70s arose, and Bobby retired due to poor health.

(January 24, 2021) He was best known for a single hit, but wow was it a doozy. Singer James Purify, one-half of the duo James and Bobby Purify, has died in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida of complications from COVID-19. He was 76.

Purify and his cousin Bobby (who died in 2011) came out of the box in 1966 with what would be their signature song, “I’m Your Puppet,” a song that felt classic even as it was released – a Spooner Oldham/Dan Penn blend of doo wop and Stax-style instrumentation that went all the way to the top 10 on the pop and soul charts.

What is sometimes forgotten is that the duo continued to have success for the rest of the decade, with a big cover of “Shake A Tail Feather” and middling charters “Let Love Come Between Us,” “Do Unto Me,” and a half dozen more. The hits slowed down as the 70s arose, and Bobby retired due to poor health.

James Purify reformed the group with Ben Moore and toured, mostly in oldies concerts, into the 80s.

James Purify will be remembered as important part of a Golden Era for soul music, and the co-creator of one of the classic soul songs of the 60s. Rest in peace.

By Chris Rizik

 

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