Washington, DC singer George Torrence started singing doo-wop with local groups, making his first recording with the Caribbeans, who came from New York, for the Galliant label in 1958. He fronted the Dippers who recorded the lovely soulful ballads “Go Away” for King in 1960 and “Such A Fool Was I” for Epic in 1961. His aching tenor was beautifully suited to this style of singing.
As the group harmony era gave way to soul Torrence continued in his musical career with the Dippers cutting a very fine 45 which was leased out to Duo Disc on the West Coast. The Latin Boogaloo of “Fine Foxy Frame” was the flip to the excellent deep soul cut Together At Last. This great cut has so many fine things going for it like George’s subtlety of phrasing, and a much grittier tone than he’d shown hitherto and an arrangement that featured some very Otis Redding style horns. Note also the writer credit to that stalwart of the DC music scene Dicky Williams who no doubt played the fine piano part on the track.
Torrence’s final release took him even further from his doo wop youth with the tough James Brown influenced funk of “Lickin’ Stick” which I like a lot. The only concession to his musical heritage was the excellent harmony background vocals from the Naturals.
UPDATE ~ My great friend Greg Burgess writes to say that George's first release was as lead of the Five Pearls on Aladdin on their release 'Real Humdinger' from 1954. As ever I'm grateful to Greg for his research.
NEW UPDATE ~ I'm delighted to report that I've been contacted by George Torrence himself! He is now Pastor George Nowlin in Duncan, OK where he leads the congregation in a church he founded in 1992. George is still singing I'm pleased to say, gospel music of course, and has recorded several CDs. You can find one here - although there are others called "Joy", "Glorify"and "God Is Here". He is currently working on a new set entitled "Fresh Water". George very kindly sent the wonderful pictures you can see on the page - I'm very grateful to him for this and wish him all the best with his CDs.
As GEORGE TORRANCE & THE CARIBBEANS
Too soon / Sweet little thing ~ GALLIANT 1003 (1958)
As GEORGE TORRENCE & THE DIPPERS
Go away / So good to me ~ KING 5376 (1960)
Together at last / Fine foxey frame ~ DUO DISC 117 (1965)
As GEORGIE TORRENCE & THE DIPPERS
Such a fool was I / Way over yonder ~ EPIC 9453 (1961)
As GEORGE TORRENCE & THE NATURALS
Lickin’ stick / So long goodbye ~ SHOUT 224 (1967)