Thursday, January 16, 2014

dusty in memphis

Dusty Springfield was takin' time to make time and had so much love for the soul music of Memphis that she was too intimidated to sing there for this sultry pop serenade.  Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien got her start in folk pop trio The Springfields with her brother Dionysius P. A. O'Brien and  Tim Feild.  Mary and Dion took on the stage names of Dusty and Tim Springfield and had a million selling worldwide hit with "Silver Threads and Golden Needles".   Dusty went solo in 1963 and found success in Britain and the US with a series of classic singles like "I Only Want to Be with You""Wishin' and Hopin'""You Don't Have to Say You Love Me"and "The Look of Love".  

She hosted a UK television special 'The Sound of Motown' for 'Ready Steady Go!', which helped to introduce American soul music to Great Britain, and had her own music talk show 'Dusty'.  In 1968, she signed to Atlantic Records in hopes of revitalizing her career, which had declined in the era of psychedelia.  Working with the hit-making trio of producers Arif Mardin, Tom Dowd, and Jerry Wexler at American Sound Studios in Memphis, Springfield had trouble picking songs and singing in the same place as her musical heroes.    The sessions featured  the Sweet Inspirations (Cissy Houston, Sylvia Shemwell, Myrna Smith and Estelle Brown) on backing vocals; and American Sound Studios house band the Memphis Cats band:   Reggie Young on guitar and sitar; Tommy Cogbill on guitar and bass guitar; Bobby Emmons on organ, piano, electric piano, and conga; Bobby Wood on piano; Gene Chrisman on drums; Mike Leach on congas; and Ed Kollis on harmonica.  Arif Mardin was producer, arranger, strings arranger, and horns arranger; Tom Dowd was producer, arranger, horns arranger, and engineer; Jerry Wexler was producer; and Gene Orloff was conductor and arranger.  Springfield was so overwhelmed by her surroundings that she had to re-record her vocals in New York.  She would express:   "Sometimes you have to let people down in order to get on, particularly in showbusiness...A lot of people say I'm bent, and I've heard it so many times that I've almost learned to accept it...Somehow I took whatever criticism there was very much to heart."

'Dusty in Memphis' only charted at number ninety-nine in the US; but it has gone on to become a cherished classic with her nuanced delivery and understated smolder.

"Son of a Preacher Man" was an international smash hit, going to number ten in the US,nine in the UK, six in Australia, and four in the Netherlands.  

'Dusty in Memphis'
full album:

Side one
"Just a Little Lovin'" (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) – 2:18
"So Much Love" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 3:31
"Son of a Preacher Man" (John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins) – 2:29
"I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore" (Randy Newman) – 3:11
"Don't Forget About Me" (Goffin, King) – 2:52
"Breakfast in Bed" (Eddie Hinton, Donnie Fritts) – 2:57
Side two
"Just One Smile" (Randy Newman) – 2:42
"The Windmills of Your Mind" (Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Michel Legrand) – 3:51
"In the Land of Make Believe" (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) – 2:32
"No Easy Way Down" (Goffin, King) – 3:11
"I Can't Make It Alone" (Goffin, King) – 3:57

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