One of my pet peeves is when music journalists relate a Black musician's accomplishments to famous white musicians, as if åay this person is important because they influenced a white artist or recorded with a white artist. I realize it's done in an attempt make the person accessible to a "mainstream audience", but it communicates the message that this person's music is important only in how it relates to white people. It's an imperialist perspective and it happens ALL the time, especially in obits.
And yet, with Doris Troy (who was born on this day in 1937) it's hard to separate her from her connection to Brit rock. She is linked to the Beatles. Any time someone is linked to the Beatles, that link will not be broken in the eyes of rockaphiles. For example, most pieces written about Billy Preston, who had a long and successful solo career long before and after his association with the Beatles, will include a mention of him being the "5th Beatle".
So if you look up Doris Troy you will find a number of pieces about her with a storyline written from this perspective (from the Apple Records website):
Doris Troy (1937—2004) was known affectionately as Mama Soul to her legion of British fans, a nickname she acquired in the mid Sixties after she came to the UK following the success of her songs ‘Just One Look’ (as covered by The Hollies) and ‘Watcha Gonna Do About It’. Doris grew up in the Bronx area of New York, and at an early age was talent spotted by James Brown at the Apollo Theater. As well as her solo recordings for Atlantic Records, Doris became the backing vocalist of choice for artists as diverse as Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield and Carly Simon.
Doris signed to Apple Records in 1969, after impressing George Harrison with her backing vocals on Billy Preston’s first album for Apple, That’s The Way God Planned It.
Note: Other than the mention of "Just One Look" there is nothing in there about Doris' career in the U.S. and her importance within the soul scene here. Nothing about Doris being a member of "the group" who backed up most of the definitive soul records coming out of NYC in the early 1960s. Nothing about her songwriting skills or her unique sophisticated brand of early 1960s soul.
With all that said, due to my affection for the fusion of musical genres, ironically the song I've chosen for the Record of the Day is one she recorded with George Harrison at Apple in 1969. People who contributed to this LP include Billy Preston, Stephen Stills, Delaney & Bonnie, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann, Leon Russell, and Peter Frampton. The song "Give Me Back My Dynamite" (written by Doris and George) has long been included in many of my tributes to feminist soul. This fusion of Brit Rock, blues, and soul is a ripping declaration of the reclamation of personal power and independence. It's right up my alley and I hope you like it too.
DJ Action Slacks
I'm excited to highlight some of my favorite records in a variety of genres (soul, R&B, classic country, rockabilly, oldies, garage rock, etc). These won't all necessarily be "dance" records per se. They will all be records that I believe deserve a special listen. I simply love good music, rare or not. Hopefully you will spend some time here and love music right along with me! Lets give this a shot!