Saturday, 27 April 2013
Top 102 Albums⁺ No 15. Dusty in Memphis
Top 102 Albums⁺ No 15.
Dusty in Memphis - Dusty Springfield
There is no such thing as perfection, of course, but there are moments when you feel yourself to be in its wake. Some of those moments are on this album, where Mary O'Brien, with the emotional nakedness of someone who is familiar with trouble, bares her soul in phrase after phrase of sophisticated simplicity.
The highlights are the extraordinary Son of a Preacher Man, Breakfast in Bed, No Easy Way Down, Just a Little Lovin'.... The album was recorded in what was holy ground for a soul music fan, and by some of its most hallowed priests. American Studios had seen one of Dusty's idols Aretha Franklin, was where Elvis had recovered his muse on the great Elvis in Memphis sessions, where Alex Chilton had recorded The Letter with The Box Tops... Producer Jerry Wexler and engineer Tom Dowd were regarded as having discovered some secret alchemy of sound and the feted backing band, The Memphis Boys, had played on many notable tracks. Dusty had long been a fan of soul and was apparently almost paralysed by the fear that she wouldn't match previous performers and indeed ended up recording her final vocals in New York.
Whatever way they finally made their way to vinyl, Dusty's vocals are simply magnificent and the music matches them. Maybe she had to feel out of place to operate at her best. After all, as a lesbian in an Irish catholic family in Britain she was hardly well versed in the comfort of belonging.
Songwriter credits include (Goffin, King) 4 times, (Mann, Weil), (Newman) and (Bacharach, David), some of the most exciting conjunctions of names ever printed in brackets. I don't think this album needs any more of an introduction. Let it speak for itself.