Friday, January 18, 2019

50 years ago: Dusty Springfield released Dusty in Memphis

First posted 4/8/2008; updated 12/1/2020.

Dusty in Memphis

Dusty Springfield

Released: January 18, 1969

Charted: March 15, 1969

Peak: 99 US

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: blue-eyed soul


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Just a Little Lovin’ (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) [2:19]
  2. So Much Love (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) [3:33]
  3. Son of a Preacher Man (John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins) [2:28] (11/30/68, 10 US, 9 UK)
  4. I Don’t Want to Hear It Anymore (Randy Newman) [3:12]
  5. Don’t Forget about Me (Goffin, King) [2:54] (3/1/69, 64 US)
  6. Breakfast in Bed (Eddie Hinton, Donnie Fritts) [2:59] (4/12/69, 91 US)
  7. Just One Smile (Newman) [2:44]
  8. The Windmills of Your Mind (Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Michel Legrand) [3:54] (5/3/69, 31 US, 3 AC)
  9. In the Land of Make Believe (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) [2:34] (10/4/69, 27 AC)
  10. No Easy Way Down (Goffin, King) [3:11]
  11. I Can’t Make It Alone (Goffin, King) [4:01]

Total Running Time: 33:31


3.807 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)

Quotable: “The All-time rock-era torch record” – Robert Christgau

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“The idea of taking England’s reigning female soul queen to the home of the music she had mastered was an inspired one.” RW That “home” was specifically the American Sound Studio in Memphis where Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and others had recorded. Although she’d self-produced her earlier albums, she went with outside producers this time around using Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, and Arif Mardin to create what critic Robert Christgau called “the perfect instance of how a production team should work.” WK

Springfield had “very real anxiety about being compared with the soul greatest who had recorded in the same studios.” WK She had recorded R&B songs before, but this was the first time she committed to an entire album’s worth. WK The “production and engineering team picked mostly perfect songs, and those that weren’t so great were salvaged by Springfield’s marvelous delivery and technique.” RW

She was backed by the house band, the Memphis Cats, who had worked with Elvis Presley, Wilson Pickett, and King Curtis. She covered songs written by the famed writing teams of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David. “This set has definitive numbers in So Much Love, Son of a Preacher Man, Breakfast in Bed, Just One Smile, I Don't Want to Hear About It Anymore, and Just a Little Lovin'.” RW

The album didn’t perform well initially, peaking at #99 in the US and failing to reach the UK top 40. Music journalist Peter Robinson said the album stalled Springfield’s career, but eventually became “a popcultural milestone [and] timeless emotional reference point.” WK Entertainment Weekly’s Tony Scherman called it “one of the greatest pop records ever recorded.” WK Christgau called it “the all-time rock-era torch record.” WK “It’s truly a disc deserving of its classic status.” RW

Notes: A reissue added three bonus tracks including a cover of Willie and Laura Mae Jones’ That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho) and an unreleased version of What Do You Do When Love Dies from the original Memphis sessions.

A 25-song Rhino reissue included those three songs as well as “songs left over from sessions for the unfairly underrated Gamble- and Huff-produced Brand New Me album, and the unissued 1971 Jeff Barry-produced sides for a never-released third Atlantic album.” BE Also featured are “covers of David Gates' Make It with You and Carole King’s You’ve Got a Friend, the gospel-flavored Love Shine Down, and the hard-rocking Natchez Trace.” BE

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