ARTIST: Dusty Springfield
TITLE: Dusty in Memphis
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #99
SINGLES: Son of a Preacher Man (#10 US, #9 UK), Don’t Forget About Me (#64 US), The Windmills of Your Mind (#31 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I doubt it.
LINEUP: Dusty Springfield. Reggie Young, Tommy Cogbill, Bobby Emmons, Bobby Wood, Gene Chrisman, The Sweet Inspirations.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Springfield goes to Memphis to boost her career, and while the commercial results weren’t there, the arrangements and production by Jerry Wexler, Arif Martin, and Tom Dowd, along with Springfield’s sublime vocals, made for a classic.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s hard for an artist to realize that they need to move in another direction to kick-start a career, but Springfield took a chance by signing with Atlantic Records and recording this album in the same place where so many Atlantic soul hits were recorded.
This is string heavy vocal pop with a soul music underpinning. Springfield’s delivery fits right in with the backing from the Sweet Inspirations and the crack session musicians, and the string arrangements add the right amount of depth without going to schmaltz.
The material is from A-listers as well (Goffin / King, Mann / Weil, Randy Newman, Bacharach / David among others). From material to production to performance, this is aces all the way.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Springfield was nervous about recording in Memphis with these players, and her nerves made for a difficult session. Her vocals were ultimately recorded in NY.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, packed with B-sides, singles, and other unreleased tracks from Springfield’s Atlantic era, including the fantabulous “Live Here with You”
GRADE: A+: I was skeptical about giving this my highest grade, since it’s been such a hyped record by critics, but in breaking it down, it’s pert near perfect for any listener.