January 6th. would have been Doris Troy’s 77th birthday….those of you who know me personally are aware of the impact she had on my early career, in so many ways, which I detail in my book ” Mersey Me!”, from her first tour in the U.K. with The Stones and The Hollies, where she wiped the floor with them every gig, to the glory years of the late sixties, when I served as her musical director and pianist.
She earned the title “Mama Soul”, or ” Mother Soul” in the U.K. , where she spent the most fruitful part of her career, after her classic association with Atlantic Records, which resulted in her string of self-written, much covered solo hits, but also her background vocal expertise on records by Solomon Burke and many others. It was well-earned….in the U.K., she was ground zero for the aspiring vocal talents who arrived from the States, and built a formidable Rolodex of savvy studio singers, who she shepherded masterfully through the sometimes stodgy world of British studio recording at that time.
She knew more than most of the producers did about BGV, ( vocal background recording), both as a leader and vocal arranger, and the list of recordings that she contributed to, either solo, or with her team, is quite dizzying. Try John Lennon and Pink Floyd, for starters, and look the rest up !
Larger than life, both in stature and attitude, she made a huge impact in the gradually expanding London recording scene….a queen bee in some ways; she was amazingly inclusive, at home working with Roger Waters or Zombies guru Chris White, Beatles, Stones and on and on.
She was godmother to my daughter Celeste, and always sent gifts at appropriate life landmarks. Celeste visited her in Vegas not long before Doris passed, and I treasure the phone call, which I taped, of that visit.
She lit up my life in so many ways, with her humor, bravery and great talent. It will always be my honor to have known her. Happy Birthday, Angel Face!