I'm Your Puppet
If you grew up in Chicago listening to Dick Biondi on Magic 104.3, or any city that had an oldies station, you're probably familiar with James and Bobby Purify's Motown version of this classic tune. I always assumed they were the original artists. A few years back I was watching the great BBC show Later with Jools Holland, which featured a wide array of musical acts playing a song or two, plus the occasional interview or jam session. A great opportunity to see some of your favorite bands live, and also discover some new artists. The group that left the greatest impression on me is when I caught Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham performing their original version of I'm Your Puppet. The vocals are beautiful, the instruments haunting, the melody and groove hypnotic. And I've never seen anyone pull off the overall and sport coat look.
You can buy a similar version of this track off itunes from the album Moments from this Theatre. Here's the Purify's version:
The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including the Box Tops, who you might be familiar with for their version of the song The Letter, also written by Dan Penn.
Alex Chilton was the leader of the Box Tops, and he went on to lead another band, Big Star, which has gained quite the cult following over the years. If you're not familiar with Big Star, then at least you've probably heard the intro song from That 70's Show, as done by Cheap Trick:
And here's Big Star with a live version:
But my favorite Big Star song has got to be The Ballad of El Goodo:
How'd we get here from there, and how do we get back to where we started? Fuck it. A few years back the Drive By Truckers toured with Spooner Oldham, and they performed I'm Your Puppet. So let's close things out with their version, with Kelly Hogan sitting in: