Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm Your Puppet

Frannie, Paige and I watched the movie Soul Men a few weeks ago ... and haven't been able to get the song "I'm Your Puppet" out of our heads ever since.

In the film, Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac play former members of an R & B group called The Real Deal, a group fronted by John Legend, who left the trio to pursue a solo career and has recently passed away. The remaining back-up singers decide ... somewhat hesitantly ... to reunite to perform at his farewell memorial service.

It's hardly a classic film comedy (although it DOES have its moments) ... and Jackson and Mac do pretty much exactly what you expect them to do in any of their film roles. (Jackson is an over-the-top, foul-mouthed maniac and Mac does his usual schizophrenic teetering between being the voice of reason and just a little bit crazier than Jackson.) The film is probably MOST notable for the fact that co-stars Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes died within a day of each other just before the movie was originally released in theaters.

It also, however, has an OUTSTANDING '60's Soul Soundtrack and, if you can get past the language, it's a pretty entertaining film to watch. (We watched it with our thirteen year old daughter, who laughed at all the right parts, but had to be constantly reminded that this is NOT the way to talk ... in fact, we probably apologized every minute and a half or so for what was being said and / or shown on screen!!! lol) Jennifer (Yo Stink Bitch) Coolidge has a HILARIOUS bit part, too, as one of the groupies who goes back to their hotel room.

Legend does a fine job of covering "I'm Your Puppet", first a hit for James and Bobby Purify back in 1966. (It hit #6 on the national pop charts and notched a point higher on Billboard's R & B Chart.) You will hear this one from time to time on the oldies stations but the duo's other Top 40 Hits (Wish You Didn't Have To Go, #35, 1967; Shake A Tail Feather, #25, 1967 and Let Love Come Between Us, #23, 1967) have all long since disappeared down the oldies radio sewer.
James and Bobby Purify were actually cousins James Purify and Robert Lee Dickey. (In fact, when Bobby decided to leave the act in the late '60's, James attempted an unsuccessful solo career. In 1974, he teamed with Ben Moore, who became the new "Bobby" in the stage act.)

The Box Tops also did a nice version of this song on their first album, "The Letter / Neon Rainbow".

Today we've got all THREE for you. (Join us in the madness ... let's see who quickly you can get this tune out of YOUR heads!!!)

James And Bobby Purify

The Box Tops

John Legend
(NOT the kind of song you expect to hear this guy sing ... but he does a VERY credible job with it!)