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Michael Jefferson
6.18.09, 9:53 AM
http://rcm-images.amazon.com/images/P/B00000HZEQ.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/B00000HZEQ/w3pgcoffeeroomss)
Dusty In Memphis
Original recording remastered (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/B00000HZEQ/w3pgcoffeeroomss)
4.5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for Coffeerooms by Mike Jefferson

In the 60s and early 70s there were a number of striking female vocalists who didn't make great L.P.s but piled up the hits on 45s, including the effervescent Petula Clark, sassy Nancy Sinatra, wholesome Karen Carpenter, hippie queen Melanie, and "Lady Soul," Aretha Franklin. My favs were Christine McVie (of Fleetwood Mac), Bobbie Gentry, Julie Driscoll, and Mary O'Brien, aka Dusty Springfield, the English songbird with the beehive hair, raccoon eye make up and glittering evening gowns.

McVie's whisper was a warm refuge for romantics; Gentry had a suggestive southern sensuality, a husky hum of a voice that could charm a hoodoo; and despite her detached demeanor and mod model looks, Driscoll was sheer power and soul, England's version of Aretha. Then there was Dusty Springfield - classy and hypnotic with an effortless smoldering sigh that made men's loins melt. (Yeah, I know. In later years Dusty confessed she liked girls more than boys. Just because you don't have a shot, that doesn't stop you from being attracted to someone!)

Dusty began her career as a member of The Springfields with her brother, Tom. The folk combo scored a hit with "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" in 1962 before Dusty struck out on her own, scoring hits with "I Only Want to be With You" (1963), "Wishin' and Hopin' (1964), "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" (1966) and "The Look of Love" (1967). Dusty's albums, however, mirrored the era - they were an uneven combination of hits, covers, embarrassing show tunes and smaltzy standards. Thanks to the emergence of FM radio (and primarily the popularity of The Beatles) the sales of long playing records became as important as single recordings, giving artists a 10-12 song platform for their personal thoughts. By 1969, it had been two years since Dusty's last transatlantic hit. Her career needed a boost, and she was yearning to make an album that reflected her love of rhythm and blues.

Atlantic Records sent Dusty to Memphis to record with their crack production team of Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin, and Tom Dowd. The Memphis Cats, who'd backed Elvis, Wilson Pickett, and King Curtis on their records (guitarist Reggie Young, keyboard player Bobby Emmons, drummer Gene Chrisman, and bassist Tommy Cogbill), made up her well versed back up band.



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