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Doris Troy

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Doris Troy (January 6, 1937 – February 16, 2004) was an American Rhythm & Blues singer, known to her many fans as “Mama Soul”.

She was born as Doris Elaine Higginsen, in The Bronx, the daughter of a Barbadian Pentecostal minister. She later took her grandmother’s name and grew up as Doris Payne. Her parents disapproved of “subversive” forms of music like rhythm & blues, so she cut her teeth singing in her father’s choir. She was working as an usherette at the Apollo where she was discovered by James Brown.

Troy worked with Solomon Burke, The Drifters, Cissy Houston, and Dionne Warwick, before she co-wrote and recorded “Just One Look”, which hit #10 in the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. The song has been covered by The Hollies, Linda Ronstadt, Bryan Ferry, Anne Murray, Klaus Nomi, and Harry Nilsson. Her only foray into the UK Singles Chart, “Whatcha Gonna Do About It”, peaked at #37 in December 1964.
As her solo career peaked, she sang back-up for the Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Kevin Ayers, Pink Floyd (on their album The Dark Side of the Moon), George Harrison, Johnny Hallyday, Vivian Stanshall, Dusty Springfield, Nick Drake, Junior Campbell and Carly Simon.
She was signed by The Beatles to their Apple Records label in 1969, and released the Doris Troy album the following year, co-produced by Troy and George Harrison. Troy worked in the UK throughout the 1970s, appearing at Ronnie Scott’s Club and recording a live album, The Rainbow Testament. Her People Records album, Stretching Out, was not a big seller.

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