She made you "Misty Blue". She made you ruminate on "Funny How Time Slips Away". She demanded "Let The Music Play" and you danced. She invited you to a "Special Occasion" and she always has her heart open "With Pen In Hand". Well, now she's asking her man (and bootleggers) "What You Doing With The Money?" Born in Jackson, Mississippi on October 13, 1946, Dorothy Moore is a usually remembered as the sweet voiced siren who sang "Misty Blue" but there's much more to this living legend. Moore started singing background at a local studio after high school while singing in clubs around Jackson. In 1966, she signed her first deal with Epic singing lead with a trio, the Poppies. The girl group was produced by Billy Sherrill and recorded for Epic Records, with "Lullaby of Love" becoming a regional hit. Three more singles and the album
"Lullaby Of Love" was released before the group folded. Moore continued as a solo act and kept the Mid-South Review rolling. She recorded two unsuccessful singles ("See How They've Done My Love" and "Same Old Feeling") for Avon Records, and then worked with a Malaco production distributed by the GSF label entitled "Cry Like A Baby" b/w "Just the One I've Been Looking For"; it stayed on the R&B chart for five weeks in 1973. A duet on Chimneyville Records with King Floyd called "Don't Let Go" received good airplay and set the stage for her calling card "Misty Blue" in 1976. The song was a #1 R&B and #3 pop single while another 1976 single, "Funny How Time Slips Away", reached #7 R&B. Moore continued on Malaco through the '80s, landing one more Top 10 Pop hit in 1977 with "I Believe You", which earned Dorothy Moore one of Record World’s Top Female Vocalists of the year. "I Believe You" was also a #1 R & B single, and went to number one in the UK.She signed with the reactivated Volt label in the late '80s and recorded two LPs for them before returning to Malaco for the rest of her '90s work. In September 2002, "Please Come Home for Christmas" on her own label, Farish Street Records of Mississippi. She released a single, "Dorothy Moore Sings the National Anthem." and has released two more discs on Farish Street as of 2005.
Blues Critic took the opportunity to interview Ms. Moore as she promotes her latest project "I'm Doing Alright".
BC = Blues Critic
DM = Dorothy Moore
BC: You began you're professional career with a girl group called The Poppies. How did you get involved with them?
DM: I started singing background at a studio in Clinton MS where I met and sang with Petsye McCune and Rosemary Taylor. We were background singers for other artists like Irma Thomas, Freddy Fender, Peggy Scott and Jojo Benson. The studio owner sent us to Epic in Nashville where Billy Sherrill, producer of country singer Tammy Wynette, produced The Poppies. Billy asked me to sing lead.
BC: Do you come from a musical family? Who first influenced you to be a singer?
DM: My mother once sang at a school program where the poet, Langston Hughes asked to meet the young girl who had such a beautiful voice. She sung lyric soprano but never sang professional. My father sang baritone with a gospel group. My greatest influence in my musical carrier was Minnie Mitchell, my great grandmother, who raised me. She was also my biggest fan.
BC: What prompted you to go solo?
DM: The Poppies group always had a new girl coming in to sing background. I could not depend on the girls to sing all the bookings we were getting so I went solo. At the end there were only two in the group so we sang some "Sam and Dave."
BC: What was your first hit record?
DM: "Lullaby of Love" from The Poppies LP was my first hit. That LP has long been out of print.
BC: You've had a long history with Malaco Records. How did you sign with them?
DM: I started at Malaco with background. Then they asked me to adlib on other recording artist's songs. It was not long until they offered me a record deal. I first signed with them in the mid 1970s.
BC: Of course in 1976 you scored a Top 5 hit on both Pop & R & B Charts with "Misty Blue". Did you know when you recorded that song it would be huge?
DM: No, but it was a one take. I did not know it would be so big. But I am so humble and thankful that people all over the world know "Misty Blue." Sometimes ask me about the hum in the beginning.
BC: Is having one particular song associated with you a blessing or do you wish people wouldn't know you as Dorothy "Misty Blue" Moore?
DM: I do not mind at all.
BC: Is that one of your favorite songs?
DM: No. My favorite song is "Funny How Time Slips Away "
BC: Were you more interested in being an R & B singer or a Pop singer?
DM: I'm more interested in being a singer. My reason, I like to sing it all.
BC: How would you define your style?
DM: I'm a singer with a blues heart.
BC: You seemed to have taken a recording hiatus after 1979's "Definitely Dorothy" album. What were you doing during that time?
DM: I did one more album with Malaco, "Talk to Me." After that I went to Nashville to record "Giving It Straight to You," a gospel album on Word label.
BC: After two records for Volt you made a triumphant return to Malaco in 1990. After a few albums you
went the independent route. How come?
DM: Shortly after I re-signed with Malaco in 1990, I found out that they were not honest with me since the mid-70s. I was terribly hurt then and now. To make a long story short, my attorney was able to get some of my back royalties. I started my label so that I would know if Dorothy Moore was selling.
BC: Your own label is called Farish Street Records. What does Farish Street mean to you?
DM: Farish Street is where I started my career. I sang at the Alamo Theater talent shows when I was a teen and won every Wednesday night. The street is now historic and being re-developed as an entertainment area. I wanted to lift up the street in my old neighborhood. By the way, I was honored with a granite marker of my likeness on the sidewalk in front of the Alamo Theater on Farish Street.
BC: What makes Dorothy Moore happy in life?
DM: Singing makes me happy. And, seeing my grandchildren.
BC: After one holiday album you released the live collection "Gittin' Down Live!". Is that a good portrait of a Dorothy Moore show?
DM: That cd is typical of my show. I sing mostly Dorothy Moore songs as you might notice.
BC: Do you like to perform live?
DM: When I'm on stage I come alive. Once, I had a hurt leg the day of my performance limping all over, but when they called me on stage the pain went away. The older I've gotten the more comfortable I am with my audience. I love to perform but only on stage.
BC: Your new album "I'm Doing Alright" is very eclectic with many style ranging from blues to Memphis soul to contemporary R & B, jazzy blues and even a gospel song. How did you choose the songs for this project?
DM: I choose these songs so my audience could hear some of the sounds that Dorothy Moore is made of musically. I believe that I have more to come. I sang this kind of work before I was discovered. The labels put me in a box. On my label, I'm out of the box! I know I'll always sing ballads.
BC: How do you feel this album rates with your past glories?
DM: I'll always give credit to my past work. I guess time will tell.
BC: We here at Blues Critic Radio have been playing "What You Doing With The Money" and George Jackson's "Must Be Another Woman Involved". What other songs have been getting the most intention?
DM: "I'm Doing Alright" and my gospel, "What Is This," has received good airplay. I hear that "My Man Is In Town", "Do Your Duty", and "What A Difference a Day Makes" get airplay too
BC: You recently did a Public Service Announcement against bootleggers. What motivated you to do that spot?
DM: Bootleggers are stealing from the artists and industry. I wanted to support the efforts of others to urge people not to buy on the street.
BC: Do you feel bootlegging is ruining the music business?
DM: The music business is having a hard time already. Bootlegging does hurt. Artists have told me that they want to get out of the recording business because of the bootleggers. I use the slip covers because they are more difficult to copy. Jewel case products are easy to copy.
BC: What are working on now and what can we expect next from Dorothy Moore? Your goals?
DM: I'm the artist, producer, promoter and the CEO of my label, so I stay busy. I hope to produce other artists down the line. I continue to perform. I just started selling digital on CD Baby. And I'm working on a children's book in the mean time.
"I'm Doing Alright" (Farish Street 2005)