James & Bobby Purify were an R&B singing duo, whose biggest hits were "I'm Your Puppet" in 1966, which reached #6 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and in a re-recorded version #12 in the UK Singles Chart (in April 1976), and "Let Love Come Between Us" in 1967, which reached #23 in the U.S.
James Lee Purify was born on May 12, 1944, in Pensacola, Florida. "Bobby Purify" was actually two different singers. The first was James's cousin, Robert Lee Dickey (born September 2, 1939, Tallahassee, Florida), who adopted the Purify name for performing, and sang on their early records. The second Bobby was vocalist Ben Moore, who replaced Dickey in 1971 when Dickey suffered health problems. This duo recorded the remake of "I'm Your Puppet," which become a small hit in the U.K. and the Netherlands.
"I'm Your Puppet" was written by Spooner Oldham plus Dan Penn and was produced by Penn, who introduced Purify to Moore. The record spent 14 weeks in the U.S. chart, and sold an estimated one million copies. It was released in September 1966. The duo continued into the 1980s with no other big hits, but remained popular on the tour circuit. When James Purify withdrew from performing, Moore went solo, though still using the name 'Bobby Purify' occasionally. In 1983, he was nominated for a Grammy Award, for a gospel recording.
In 1998, Moore went blind from severe glaucoma and completely dropped out of the music industry. With the encouragement of Ray Charles, however, he returned to performing and recording. Following a new Bobby Purify album, the Dan Penn-produced Better To Have It in 2005, he joined the gospel band Blind Boys of Alabama.
Foundational text courtesy of Wikipedia. Photos courtesy of George Schowerer, engineer.
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