Friday, 25 February 2011

“Doris Troy” by DORIS TROY (2010 Apple 'Expanded' CD Reissue/Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…Every Time I See You…You Keep On Coming On Strong…"

Released 25 October 2010 (along with 14 other CD titles on Apple) - Doris Troy’s self-titled album for The Beatles’ Apple label is a strange hybrid between 1970 Soul and Pop that works well on both fronts (if not a little awkwardly at times). 

"Doris Troy" by DORIS TROY on Apple 5099990824326 (Barcode 5099990824326) is an 'Expanded' CD Reissue/Remaster and breaks down as follows (65:07 minutes):

1. Ain’t That Cute
2. Special Care
3. Give Me Back My Dynamite 
4. You Tore Me Up Inside 
5. Games People Play 
6. Gonna Get My Baby Back
7. I’ve Got To Be Strong 
8. Hurry
9. So Far
10. Exactly Like You
11. You Give Me Joy Joy
12. Don’t Call Me No More 
13. Jacob’s ladder 
Tracks 1 to 13 are the LP "Doris Troy" released 4 September 1970 in the UK on Apple SAPCOR 13 (Stereo only) and on Apple ST-3371 in the USA. “Doris Troy” was her only solo album for The Beatles label but she also sang and co-wrote many songs on Billy Preston's two Apple albums - "That's The Way God Planned It" (1969) and "Encouraging Words" (1970) - see separate reviews.

Tracks 14 to 18 are the 5 bonus tracks on the 1992 reissue: 
"All That I've Got (I'm Gonna Give It To You)" (14) is co-written with Billy Preston. The song was his 3rd single on Apple in January 1970 (APPLE 21) - this is a different funkier take. 
"Get Back" (15) is a soulful cover of The Beatles classic. It turned up as the non-album B-side to Doris Troy's 2nd single "Jacob's Ladder" issued 28 August 1970 on APPLE 28 in the UK.
"Dearest Darling" and "What You Will Blues" (16 and 17) are Doris Troy originals - outtakes from the sessions first issued as bonuses on the 1992 reissue. "What You Will Blues" is essentially an instrumental version of "Give Me Back My Dynamite" with some extra wordless ad-lib vocals. 
"Vaya Con Dias" (18) is a mid-Fifties song first covered by Les Paul and Mary Ford, then Chuck Berry in the Sixties and others. It translates into "Go With God" and was the non-album B-side to her 1st single "Ain't That Cute" issued 13 February 1970 on APPLE 24 (co-produced be George Harrison). 

Track 19 is a new bonus for this 2010 issue - a previously unreleased 'Alternate Version' of "All That I've Got (I'm Gonna Give It To You)". 

Noted writer and music lover ANDY DAVIS does the new liner notes for the disappointingly weedy booklet (they all appear to be this generic length - 12 pages - EMI pushes the boat out again people). But with what little text he has been afforded, Davis does at least fill it with properly informative details - and it's peppered with some very tasty black and white photos of Doris, Stephen Stills and George all in the studio - with colour portraits of Doris solo and live with Billy Preston at the piano.  It's cute, but you do wish there was more...

Two are co-written with GEORGE HARRISON - "Ain't That Cute" and "Give Me Back My Dynamite" while "Gonna Get My Baby Back" and "You Give Me Joy Joy" are shared songwriting-credits with Harrison and two other famous fans of Doris - RINGO STARR and STEPHEN STILLS. Cover versions include "Special Care" (a Stephen Stills song from his Buffalo Springfield days), "Games People Play" (Joe South), "Exactly Like You" (a 1930's Jazz Standard written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields and brought to fame by The Ames Brothers) and "Jacob's Ladder" (a Traditional air arranged by George Harrison & Doris). "You Tore Me Up Inside" and "Don't Call Me No More" are co-written with New York blues guitarist RAY SCHINNERY and "I've Got To Be Strong" is with fellow label mate JACKIE LOMAX. The last two collaborations are "Hurry" with GREGORY CARROLL and "So Far" with bassist KLAUS VOORMAN (appeared on "Revolver"). Doris produced the whole album except "Ain't That Cute" which was done by George. Special mention should also go to Harrison’s aggressive guitar work on “Give Me Back My Dynamite” which you kind of wished was included on “All Things Must Pass” (it’s that good). 

Like so many of the sessions of the time, the recordings included some of The Beatles and many famous and talented friends - George played Guitar, Ringo on Drums, Klaus Voormann did the Bass with Stephen Stills, PETER FRAMPTON, ERIC CLAPTON and DELANEY BRAMLETT all on Guitar. BILLY PRESTON added keyboards - and although it doesn't say it - MADELINE BELL is probably on backing vocals too. 

Unlike some of the other Apple issues, there are no extra tracks via download. But the really big news is the SOUND...

The same team that handled the much-praised 09/09/09 Beatles remasters have done this - GUY MASSEY, STEVE ROOKES, PHIL HICKS and SIMON GIBSON. The audio quality is BEAUTIFUL - a massive improvement. It also makes you reassess a lot of the songs and especially the musicianship involved. 

The drums on "Give Me Back My Dynamite" (lyrics above) and the combined guitar licks on "You Tore Me Up Inside" (so Staple Singers on Stax) are nice and clear. The guitar and brass on "I've Got To Be Strong" are suddenly huge - great whack, but the strings on the orchestral "So Far" still seem too distant. Still, it's a lovely song and it features "you hurt me so" impassioned vocals.  It's probably the nicest song on here and easy to see Doris wanted to work with Voormann more - a killer combination of his melodic rock with her Diva Soul. It all ends in the 'praise the Lord' bombast of "Jacob's Ladder" complete with spoken studio dialogue after the song finishes...

Issued 4 September 1970 - a week before Billy Preston's equally brilliant "Encouraging Words" on the 11th - both albums can be mentioned in the same breath because they were very confident soulful affairs - and must have made fans think that these white English guys at Apple were catalysts supreme. Two crackers in the same month...

But you could say that the best is kept until last - the new 'Alternate Version' of "All That I've Got (I'm Gonna Give It To You)" is a gem. The version on Track 14 is a Piano led take (which is pretty), but this is a Funkier Guitar take and is a lot better for it. Like the previously unreleased from-the-vaults tunes on both Billy Preston CD reissues - this is that genuine rarity - a must-have bonus track. 

Niggles - the gatefold card sleeve is nice to look at for sure, but the booklet and overall packaging feel lightweight (what EMI could get away with). The CD should have one of those gauze inner bags to protect it - a problem that no record company seems to want to acknowledge (scuffing and damage). They're minor points I know, but worth making...

To sum up - like the two Preston albums she was involved with in 1969 and 1970 - I've loved rehearing this forgotten LP in hugely improved sound quality. Seventies Soul lovers 'need' to discover this record. A great reissue...

PS: see also my reviews for other releases in this October 2010 series:

"That's The Way God Planned It" (1969) and "Encouraging Words" (1970) by Billy Preston, "Doris Troy" (1970), "James Taylor" (1968), "Is This What You Want?" (1969) by Jackie Lomax, "Magic Christian Music" (1969), "No Dice" (1970), "Straight Up" (1972) and "Ass" (1973) by Badfinger

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