Tommy Dougherty Guinness Records from 1977.
Tommy Dougherty – The funk and soul Guinness Records release
The self-titled release Tommy Dougherty by Guinness Records, at the time a subsidiary of Prelude Records in NYC, came out in 1977 as a compilation of mostly funk and soul songs recorded before and after the Touch My Soul sessions.
When Tommy first started his artist deal in 1975 at Audio Media Studios in Nashville down on Music Row, he and the various musicians, Eddie Bayers, Dennis Burnside, Paul Worley and Jack Jackson were turning out non-country oriented recordings. Most fall in the category of funk and soul pop, while some have various leanings towards other styles as well. The Cherry Sisters and Don Sheffield on trumpet round out the musicians.
The standouts on Tommy Dougherty are the 1976 funk powerhouses Higher Power and Waydown Club, and even more so the elegant and majestic song Sail Away that transcends categorization.
As Tommy wasn’t involved in the production of the album or the choosing of material, it’s rather a hodgepodge of styles rather than a concerted effort to record a cohesive album. However, the other songs are extremely good as well, including the infectious Caribbean flavored Sweet Nature Woman, the slightly country leaning Bad News Morning, the strangely psychedelic Silent Love Is Blue and the funky tunes Crystal River and Sly Stone sounding Sad Song. The two songs not written by Tommy work well as orchestrated pop songs where he shows off his Ray Charles singing chops.
As Tommy and his fellow musicians recorded songs throughout the 1975/76 period, a large catalog developed. It’s currently unknown if the recordings not on Touch My Soul and Tommy Dougherty still exist.
After the release of Touch My Soul, producer Lou Lofredo and Odyssey Productions looked towards a pop recording deal out of New York or Los Angeles.
At the same time that disco was impeding any progress towards an artist deal with a major label, Odyssey Productions was going through its own issues. A&R man Lou Lofredo, who had pushed so hard for Tommy’s material, ended up leaving as the partnership ended up dissolving amid certain financial entanglements. Odyssey Products would continue to exist, but the focus led to other areas as it became a successful entity for K-Tel recordings, sound-alikes, and Disney Disco classics.
In 1977, Guinness Records released the record Tommy Dougherty in the midst of disco fever. Guinness was set up more as a tax haven than a typical label, and it failed to create any impact in sales with the release. However, today the album is a collector’s item and valued at $100. It’s also a testament to the singing and writing talents of Tommy Dougherty.
Please feel free to download and listen to these recordings.