Sunday, August 4, 2013

"Dusty In Memphis" by Dusty Springfield (March, 1969)

Dad's Take:

This is the album where Dusty Springfield switches from Phil Spector-ish productions to a more soulful sound, Memphis style.

After heavy albums like "S.F. Sorrow," this feels a little light, but it's a good album, full of good songwriting by people like Bacharach and David, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Randy Newman, and Barry Mann. Dusty is no Aretha, but she handles herself well on these tunes, providing a pleasant listening experience. 

The standout is, of course, the major hit "Son Of A Preacher Man," but it's not the only worthy track here. I also really like "So Much Love," "Don't Forget About Me," "Breakfast In Bed," "Just One Smile," and the minor hit "The Windmill Of Your Mind." There's not a dud in the set.

This album is, for the most part, a gentle version of R&B, but it's a great album for those mellow or romantic times. Much of side two feels more like light jazz than soul, actually. Dusty's legendary insistence on perfection comes through loud and clear on these eleven impeccably produced and performed songs. The songs flow well together, so the record holds up as a complete album, and not just a collection of songs. This is one of the softer albums on our list, but it's enjoyable and pretty darn close to flawless.

Brad's Take: 

I liked this album. I wouldn't go as far as saying that I loved it, but it was a pleasant change of pace from the last few on our list. Easy listening jazzy R&B/soul is always nice to listen to. It makes me want to sit back in a comfy couch sipping a glass of wine in the dark.

"Son Of A Preacher Man" and "Don't Forget About Me" were a couple of my favorites on first listen. While listening, I read a little bit about Dusty Springfield and the making of this album. It's interesting that she was such a perfectionist. She knew she'd be compared to all the soul greats at the time, like Aretha Franklin, but Dust succeeded. Her voice may not be as huge and powerful as Aretha's, but Dusty doesn't miss a note. I actually enjoyed the mellowness of her vocals.

Especially for the time, I can totally see why this album would be considered a classic and be on our list. At this point, I'd probably put it in the lower half of the top 20 albums we've listen to so far.

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