Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Underground Legends"

Doris Troy (January 6, 1937 - February 16, 2004)

"Mama Soul" may have been a one-hit wonder, but Doris Troy was a great one and recorded several other songs that should have been soul classics. Born Doris Higginson in the Bronx, she was the daughter of a minister and performed in his church's choir. Fortunately, the legendary James Brown discovered her. Doris began singing back-up for Cissy Houston, Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, Solomon Burke, and The Drifters. After signing with Atlantic Records, she recorded her first single "Just One Look," which became a Top-ten hit in 1963. Unlike other soul singers at the time, Troy wrote most of her songs, usually under the pseudonymn Doris Payne and had written for several other singers. During her recording career, she blended Gospel, girl-group sound, pop, rock and blues to create a special New York soul sound.

In the U.S., Troy was unable to have the same chart success as "Just One Look," but she did have some success in the UK and other countries in Europe. As her career peaked, Troy did back-up for and worked with several artists, including Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, George Harrison, Dusty Springfield, and Carly Simon. Doris continued to tour and record albums after she moved to Britain in the 70s. In the 1980s, Troy created a stage musical, called Mama I Want to Sing, which was based on her life. It was a success and she remained involved with the musical until 1988. Doris Troy did shows in Las Vegas before her death from emphysema in 2004.


1) Her song "Just One Look," has been covered by many artists, such as The Hollies, Harry Nilson, and Linda Ronstadt.

2) Mama, I Want to Sing was made into a movie, starring Ciara, Ne-yo, Bobby Valentino, Ralph Tresvant (New Edition) and Pattie Labelle. It is set for an early 2009 release.

Just One Look

Face Up to the Truth

What'Cha Gonna Do About It

He's Qualified

I'll Do Anything

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