Classic Singers 9 – Sally Doherty

The voice is an instrument in itself and some people use it just so much better than others. And every now and then you come across a singer that makes you take notice, somebody with a voice that just catches you. I remember this happening when I bought Plant Funk’s album Non Zero Sumness. Three of the songs had a voice that hypnotised me with its quality. It gave me goosebumps. That voice belonged to Sally Doherty.

There aren’t many singers who can hold my attention with their voice, but she is one. I can imagine that she would be able to sing unaccompanied and still entrance an audience. I regret that I have never seen her perform, but I live on the other side of the world. If I still lived in Stafford, I’d be making a point of hearing her sing live. Such is life.

However, some research led me to discover that Sally has been singing for a while and has collaborated with many different musicians along the way. There have been albums by Sally Doherty, Sally Doherty and Paul Kilvington, Sally Doherty and the Sumacs, the Sally Doherty Quartet, and in addition to this she has sung on albums by Planet Funk, Richard Hawley, and Donald Grant among others.

She sings in a variety of styles including Latin Jazz, pop, a bit of club music, and I’m sure her voice is versatile enough to sing in many more styles. Forgive me if I haven’t got more to say, but I don’t a lot more than that. I just love listening her voice.

So, onto the 5 songs. There are a limited number of songs featuring Sally Doherty on youtube, but I have found five to link to – all excellent and varied in their styles:

1. Under the Rain – This is from Non Zero Sumness, by Planet Funk. Sally Doherty wrote the melody and lyrics as well as singing. It’s an entrancing song that is like being taken on a relaxing train ride while at the same time trying to resist the urge to get up and dance. I don’t have a lot of this style of music, but  I still play this a lot on my iPod because as a song, it’s the complete package.

2. All Man’s Land – Another one from Non Zero Sumness. This is slower than Under the Rain, but almost hypnotic. It’s the verbal equivalent of having a massage. If I listen to this on a tense day at work, it brings me down to an equilibrium. I can feel my muscles de-stress.

3. Historia de a Amor­ – This is one in the latin jazz style and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand Spanish, but I believe that this song title translates as something like A Love Story…but don’t quote me on that. However, I don’t need to understand the language to appreciate the voice on this. Have a listen and you’ll see what I mean. A good voice like Sally’s conveys the emotion and the ‘vibe’. You don’t need to understand the words.

4. The Very Thought of You­ – Another jazzy song. Another great exhibition of singing. Another song I could listen to again and again. It’s very mellow. It’s lovely. I could go on, but I won’t.

5. Watching the Horses – This is a great combination of piano and voice, along with some strings (cello?) A slow track with rhythm is almost like a swell washing up on the shore. Not sure what style I’d call this, but it’s a little bit folky, perhaps?


If you want to find out more about Sally, her website is

One more Classic Singer to go, before I get into some albums. Who will it be?

About George Fripley
I am a writer who enjoys writing humour, satire, poetry and sometimes a bit of philosophy. I live in Perth, Western Australia and occasionally get a poem or article published. It's all good fun! I have two books available for unwary readers, Grudges, Rumours and Drama Queens- The Civil Servant's Manual (This contains all that anybody could ever want to know about why government runs so slowly) and More Gravy Please! - the Politician's Handbook. (available through Amazon). Real name Peter Tapsell...just started off writing under a pseudonym and kept going.

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