The soul music duo James and Bobby Purify hit the charts in the mid 1960s with the classic ‘I’m Your Puppet’ – issued on Stateside in the UK. They also enjoyed fame in the UK with the floor fillers ‘Shake A Tail Feather’ and ‘Let Love Come Between Us’ – again both on Stateside in the UK and released in 1967. Yet there never was a ‘Bobby’, although there was a James. ¬†In fact there were two “Bobby’s” ¬†– two different singers. The first ‘Bobby” was Robert Dickey who it is reported passed away on December 29th 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida aged 72.
Dickey joined up with his cousin Bobby in the mid 1960’s to form the duo who were produced by Don Schroeder. He brought the duo to the Fame Studios in Memphis where they cut ‘I’m Your Puppet’ which hit Number 6 on the pop chart and Number 5 on the R&B charts.
Their big hit was written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham.
They had ten records on the R&B charts, nine of which also made the Pop top 100.
Dickey said he actually hated ‘Puppet’, telling the Tallahassee Democrat “It was originally intended to be the B-side. But things got changed. I sang it for 23 hours straight (in the studio), that’s why I hate it.”
Robert left the duo in the early 1970’s and Ben Moore became the second ‘Bobby Purify’¬†and soon dropped out of the music industry, working as a city maintenance supervisor in Tallahassee.
Music trivia: ‘Shake A Tail Feather’ was a cover of a 1963 R&B disc on One-derful Records by The (Five) Dutones (see above) and was co-penned by Andre ‘Baconfat’ Williams. It was of course a one of the classic scenes in the ‘Blues Brothers’ film when performed by Ray Charles and the song was covered as ¬†‘Ike & Tina Turner’ in the Tina biopic ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’.