Irma Thomas :: Ruler of My Heart

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 . . .

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