1969, Music

Dusty in Memphis (1969) by Dusty Sprinfield

I don’t know anything about Dusty Springfield. I do know a little bit of the legend of this record, but that really doesn’t help me much, because I don’t know what she did before this. If I had heard that music, maybe the legend of the record would resonate more, maybe the music would resonate more.

The songs are covers, running a fairly wide gamut, from Blood, Sweat and Tears covers (seriously!) to Randy Newman to Brill Building songwriters to a movie title song. So they’re fairly varied. Of the songs I’m familiar with, I can say that her versions are relatively faithful but unique enough that you can tell they’re different, but I’m not sure any of them are definitive, save perhaps the most famous song here, “Son of a Preacher Man.”

Legend has it that Springfield was brought to Memphis to Staxify (or otherwise grit) her sound. I don’t know what she sounded like before, but I don’t always here the southern soul grit. Certainly on “Son of a Preacher Man” we have it, but it’s far from consistent. I get that this is all relative but I am coming to this from Stax, not from whatever music she was making in the UK. So, to me, this sounds, at times, a little too polished.

At the end of the day, the best thing here is the song we all already know. I’m not sure there’s enough here among the rest of the material to point this out as one of the great soul records of its time. Too much pop, not enough soul for me.

6/10

  1. “Just a Little Lovin'” (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) – 2:18
  2. “So Much Love” (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 3:31
  3. “Son of a Preacher Man” (John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins) – 2:29
  4. “I Don’t Want to Hear It Anymore” (Randy Newman) – 3:11
  5. “Don’t Forget About Me” (Goffin, King) – 2:52
  6. “Breakfast in Bed” (Eddie Hinton, Donnie Fritts) – 2:57
  7. “Just One Smile” (Newman) – 2:42
  8. “The Windmills of Your Mind” (Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Michel Legrand) – 3:51
  9. “In the Land of Make Believe” (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) – 2:32
  10. “No Easy Way Down” (Goffin, King) – 3:11
  11. “I Can’t Make It Alone” (Goffin, King) – 3:57
  • Dusty Springfield – vocals
  • Arif Mardin – producer, arranger, strings arranger, horns arranger
  • Tom Dowd – producer, arranger, horns arranger, engineer
  • Jerry Wexler – producer
  • Gene Orloff – conductor, arranger
  • The Sweet Inspirations – backing vocals
  • Reggie Young – guitar, sitar
  • Tommy Cogbill – bass guitar, guitar
  • Bobby Emmons – Hammond organ, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, Congas
  • Bobby Wood – piano
  • Gene Chrisman – drums
  • Mike Leech – congas

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