Soul singer Irma Thomas recorded “Ruler of My Heart” with Allen Toussaint in 1963 for the New Orleans based Minit label. Otis Redding struck a hit with it two years later, renaming it “Pain in My Heart,” and it’s his version that gets most of the love. But the original cuts deep in its own right. It’s a more understated performance; Irma’s singing is restrained, while the instruments come through in a muted, yet affecting, arrangement. Piano flutters eerily, while the backing vocals hauntingly coo across the melody. It’s this subtly that gives the song an intangible sort of beauty – it resonates through its transience. words/ c depasquale

Irma Thomas :: Ruler of My Heart

4 Responses to “Irma Thomas :: Ruler of My Heart”

  1. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band brought Norah Jones in to cover this years ago too. Damn fine version.

  2. Keith Richards listed it as a favourite on his Uncut compilation a while back:

  3. Saturday Night Fish Fry

  4. Lovely!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>