Jimmy Ruffin has died

Here’s the studio version of that song:

Here’s what might be a live vocal over a backing track:

And here’s an absolutely cracking version of the track, Joan Osborne live with the Funk Brothers (the original band on that first version).

As ever when posting that video I draw attention to that complete shit eating grin that Osborne has at 3.20 and following. Knowing that you’re in fine voice, in front of one of the finest bands in the world and absolutely nailing it.

Those of us who have played live music at some point know that that’s the point of it all. The nirvana to be reached. I was never in fine voice of course, and never played in front of one of the best bands of the world: wasn’t really very good myself in fact. But there was a gig at the Hurlingham Club 24 years ago when for some 10 to 15 minutes I was just nailing it. Still remember it, the almost out of body joy of the music just flowing through.

Different from sex, obviously, but in some ways better than.

8 thoughts on “Jimmy Ruffin has died”

  1. Another reminder of lost youth… And what a great song. I was never really a fan of Motown, being more of a Stones – Beatles follower, but there were some great Motown songs; the Reggae of Desmond Dekker for me. …….so that every mouth can beeeee fed, oh, oh, the Isa-raelites…

    Damn, now I’ve got an ear worm.

  2. Joan Osborne what a version. Also remember some Jam sessions at the Cy Laurie jazz club in Ham yard when the performers hit magic.

  3. When I start to sing the bathwater goes cold, so I can hardly claim to be a music critic.

    But yes, great song. I’d never heard of Joan Osborne. Must hear more.

  4. As a professional musician in a previous life (albeit working in a completely different genre to Jimmy Ruffin) I can confirm that athough it happens but once or twice in a career, when you’re ‘in the zone’ it is indeed better than sex. What performing artists experience is nothing less than a moment of transcendence, without the quid pro quo of dinner and cinema (and without the mess).

  5. “Still remember it, the almost out of body joy of the music just flowing through. Different from sex, obviously, but in some ways better than.”

    Also, what 123 says. I played guitar in bands for 20 years or so, cafes and festivals, loud and quiet, and that transcendence could happen unpredictably in either. I got it three times when soloing. Came close more times but in this clip Joan Osbourne is getting it, totally.

    Maybe sportspeople get it too, scoring a goal in football or rugby? Smashing a backhand return in tennis?

  6. “Maybe sportspeople get it too”

    Yes. Flushing a shot in golf.

    Confucius said, “There cannot be great joy without great sorrow.”

    Golfers struggle to learn to play well. Hitting a great shot is redemption for all the struggle.

    As an American kid who graduated high school in 1967, I was a great fan of Motown. I knew that Jimmy was the older brother of the better known (musically) David Ruffin, lead singer of the Temptations. I am very pleased that Jimmy’s death has brought broad attention, as his talent was special.

  7. Thanks Tim

    Didin’t know of Joan.

    She can get away with not dressing like Madonna ‘cos SHE has shitloads of voice.

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