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Dusty in Memphis

Dusty in Memphis is a white soul album by Dusty Springfield, released in 1969. It was produced by Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin and engineered by Tom Dowd. "So Much Love", "Son of a Preacher Man", "Breakfast in Bed", "Just One Smile", "I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore", and "Just a Little Lovin'" are some of the album's songs.

Background

Hoping to reinvigorate her career and boost her credibility, Dusty Springfield turned to the roots of soul music. She signed with Atlantic Records, home label of one of her soul music idols, Aretha Franklin. Although she had sung R&B songs before, she had never released an entire album solely of R&B songs. She began recording an album in Memphis, Tennessee, where some notable blues musicians had grown up. The Memphis sessions at the American Studios were recorded by the A team of Atlantic Records. It included producers Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin, the back-up singers Sweet Inspirations and the instrumental band Memphis Cats, led by guitarist Reggie Young and bassist Tommy Cogbill. The Memphis Cats had previously backed Wilson Pickett, King Curtis and Elvis Presley. Terry Manning (also a recording engineer, but in this case) a writer for the New Musical Express attended the recording sessions, and ended up assisting Tom Dowd. The songs were written by, among others, Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Randy Newman, and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.

Recording

The recording was a challenge for Wexler. He was not used to working with an artist who was in such habitual pursuit of perfection. In his book Rhythm and the Blues, Wexler wrote that out of all the songs that were initially recorded for the album, "she approved exactly zero." For her, he continued, "to say yes to one song was seen as a lifetime commitment." Springfield disputes this, saying she did choose two: "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Just a Little Lovin'". He was surprised, given Dusty's talent, by her apparent insecurity. Dusty Springfield later attributed her initial unease to a very real anxiety about being compared with the soul greats who had recorded in the same studios. Eventually Dusty's final vocals were recorded in New York. Additionally, Springfield stated that she had never before worked with just a rhythm track and the first time she had worked with outside producers, having self-produced her previous recordings (although she never took credit for that).

During the Memphis sessions in November 1968, Dusty suggested to the heads of Atlantic Records to sign the newly-formed Led Zeppelin. She knew the band's bass player John Paul Jones, who had backed her in concerts before. Without having ever seen them and largely on Dustys advice, the record company signed a deal of $200,000 with them. For the time being, that was the biggest deal of its kind for a new band.

"Son of a Preacher Man"

The standout track of the album is "Son of a Preacher Man". Released as a single, it reached #10 in the United Kingdom, United States and internationally. The Billboard year end chart placed the single at #96. It was placed #77 among The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 Years by the writers of the Rolling Stone magazine in 1987, and #43 of the Greatest Singles of All Time by the writers of New Musical Express in 2002. "Son of a Preacher Man" encapsulates an irony of Dusty Springfield's career and her self-perception. The song had originally been turned down by Aretha Franklin. When Franklin recorded it a year later, Dusty felt Franklin's version as superior and thereafter adopted some of Franklin's phrasing.

A sample from "Son of a Preacher Man" was used on Cypress Hill's cult-classic stoner-culture song "Hits from the Bong" on their album Black Sunday (1993). A year later the song was featured in a scene of the film Pulp Fiction. In the movie, the song was a background for Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) talking over an intercom. The soundtrack reached No. 21 on the Billboard 200, and at the time, went platinum (1,000,000 units) in Canada alone. "Son of a Preacher Man" helped to sell over 2 million units of the album and to reach #6 on the charts according to SoundScan.

Reviews

  • Rolling Stone (1969): "Most white female singers in today's music are still searching for music they can call their own. Dusty is not searching—she just shows up, and she, and we, are better for it."
  • Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.146): Ranked #89 in Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" "...the result was blazing soul and sexual honesty...that transcended both race and geography."
  • Rolling Stone (4/11/02, p.106): Ranked #9 in Rolling Stone's "50 Coolest Records". "...London's fabbest pop starlet takes her big voice and fire-hazard bouffant to Memphis and becomes a born-again soul diva..."
  • Rolling Stone (10/31/02, p.135): Ranked #3 in Rolling Stone's "Women In Rock: The 50 Essential Albums" "...[A] British soul masterpiece..."
  • VH1: Ranked #58 in VH1's "100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll": "...Not only is this Dusty's finest work, it is unanimously acknowledged as one of the great soul albums...a faultless record on which we have, thankfully, now recognized she was far too ahead of her time for her own good..."
  • Entertainment Weekly (3/12/99, p.71): "...It's her shining moment and just might be one of the all-time great pop albums." - Rating: A
  • New Musical Express (10/2/93, p.29): Ranked #54 in its list of the "Greatest Albums Of All Time."
  • Dusty In Memphis was ranked 87th in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time.
  • The album appears in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Track listing

Side A

  1. "Just a Little Lovin'" (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) – 2:18
  2. "So Much Love" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 3:31
  3. "Son of a Preacher Man" (John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins) – 2:29
  4. "I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore" (Randy Newman) – 3:11
  5. "Don't Forget About Me" (Goffin, King) – 2:52
  6. "Breakfast in Bed" (Eddie Hinton, Donnie Fritts) – 2:57

Side B

  1. "Just One Smile" (Randy Newman) – 2:42
  2. "The Windmills of Your Mind" (Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Michel Legrand) – 3:51
  3. "In the Land of Make Believe" (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) – 2:32
  4. "No Easy Way Down" (Goffin, King) – 3:11
  5. "I Can't Make It Alone" (Goffin, King) – 3:57

CD re-issues

Dusty in Memphis was first tranferred from vinyl to CD by Philips Records/PolyGram and re-released in the UK/Europe in 1988. The first digitally remastered re-issue was released by Warner Music's sublabel Rhino Entertainment in the US in 1992, then including three bonus tracks. A Deluxe Edition with no less than fourteen bonus tracks, again released by Rhino, followed in 1999. A fourth 24-bit digitally remastered CD edition with a third set of bonus tracks was issued by Mercury Records/Universal Music in the UK/Europe in 2002.

Among the additional materials featured on these re-releases are recordings from the Atlantic Records archives; outtakes and alternate mixes from the Dusty in Memphis sessions, two tracks from a cancelled second album with Jerry Wexler recorded in 1969, tracks from a shelved second album with Gamble & Huff recorded in 1970 (following A Brand New Me/From Dusty...With Love) and the intended Faithful album produced by Jeff Barry in 1971, which came to be Springfield's final recordings for the Atlantic label. The completed Faithful album was however left unreleased when its pilot singles "Haunted" and "I Believe In You" failed to perform. With the exception of a mono mix of the title track "I'll Be Faithful" all master tapes for this album were later destroyed in a fire - along with Springfield's unreleased recording of The Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" from the follow-up sessions with Wexler - but Barry had kept reference copies of the intended final mixes and these were digitally remastered and first released as part of Rhino's Deluxe Edition of Dusty in Memphis in 1999.

Bonus tracks 1992 re-issue, Rhino Records US

  1. "What Do You Do When Love Dies" (without orchestral overdubs) (Mary Unobsky, Donna Weiss) - 2:43
    • Outtake from the Dusty in Memphis sessions. Recording date: September 1968. First release (with orchestral overdubs): US Atlantic single #2771 (B-side of "What Good Is I Love You?", 12 January 1971. First UK release: album Dusty in Memphis Plus, 1980.
  2. "Willie & Laura Mae Jones" (Tony Joe White) - 2:45
    • From cancelled second album with Jerry Wexler. First release: US Atlantic single #2647 (A-side), 5 June 1969. First UK release: album See All Her Faces, 1972.
  3. "That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho)" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) - 2:55
    • From cancelled second album with Jerry Wexler. First release: US Atlantic single #2647 (B-side of "Willie & Laura Mae Jones"). First UK release: album See All Her Faces, 1972.
  4. Track 13: recorded at American Studio, Memphis. Dusty Springfield's final vocals recorded in New York. Producers: Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd & Arif Mardin.
  5. Tracks 14 & 15: recorded at Groove Sound Studio, New York, May 1969. Producers: Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd & Arif Mardin.

Bonus tracks 1999 Deluxe Edition, Rhino Records US

  1. "What Do You Do When Love Dies" (with orchestral overdubs) (Mary Unobsky, Donna Weiss) – 2:42
  2. "Willie & Laura Mae Jones" (Tony Joe White) – 2:49
  3. "That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho)" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 2:59
  4. "Cherished" (Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff) – 2:38
  5. "Goodbye" (Roland Chambers, Leonard Pakula) – 2:33
    • First UK release: compilation Classics And Collectables, 2007
  6. "Make It With You" (David Gates) – 3:12
    • First UK release: 4 CD boxed set Simply Dusty, 2000
  7. "Love Shine Down" (not credited) – 2:22
    • First UK release: compilation Classics And Collectables, 2007
  8. "Live Here With You" (Gilbert Slavin, Michael F. Soles) – 2:44
    • First UK release: 4 CD boxed set Simply Dusty, 2000
  9. "Natchez Trace" (Neil Brian Goldberg, Gilbert Slavin) – 2:58
    • First UK release: compilation Classics And Collectables, 2007
  10. "All the King's Horses" (not credited) – 3:10
  11. "I'll Be Faithful" (Stereo) (Steven Soles) – 3:01
    • First release (mono): Rhino's 1992 re-issue of A Brand New Me. First UK release: compilation Classics And Collectables, 2007
  12. "Have a Good Life Baby" (not credited) – 3:09
  13. "You've Got a Friend" (Carole King) – 5:28
    • First UK release: 4 CD boxed set Simply Dusty, 2000
  14. "I Found My Way" a.k.a. "I Found My Way Through The Darkness" (Gilbert Slavin, Michael F. Soles) – 3:12
    • First UK release: compilation Classics And Collectables, 2007
  15. Tracks 15-16: originally unissued. Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, February 1970. Producers: Gamble-Huff Productions. Arranged by Thom Bell.
  16. Tracks 17-25: originally unissued. Recorded at Century Sound Studio, New York, January-June 1971. Producer: Jeff Barry.

Bonus tracks 2002 re-issue, Mercury Records UK

  1. "Son of a Preacher Man" (Hurley, Wilkins) - 2:29
  2. "Just a Little Lovin'" (Mann, Weil) - 2:18
  3. "Don't Forget About Me" (Goffin, King) - 2:50
  4. "Breakfast in Bed" (Fritts, Hinton) - 2:56
  5. "I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore" (Newman) - 3:10
  6. "The Windmills of Your Mind" (Bergman, Bergman, Legrand) - 3:52
  7. "In the Land of Make Believe" (Bacharach, David) - 2:31
  8. "So Much Love" (Goffin, King) - 3:32
  9. All tracks: original mono mixes.

Personnel and production

1992 Reissue

  • Dan Hersch - remastering
  • Bill Inglot - remastering
  • Jim Feldman - liner notes
  • Haig Adishian - cover design
  • Deborah Frost - project assistant

1999 Reissue

  • Jeff Barry - producer (relates to bonus materials)
  • Thom Bell - arranger (relates to bonus materials)
  • Jim Pierson - compilation producer, liner notes
  • Dan Hersch - remastering
  • Jim Feldman - liner notes
  • Haig Adishian - design
  • Rachel Gutek - reissue design

2002 re-issue

  • Gary Moore - liner notes, digital remastering
  • Stanley Booth - liner notes
  • Elvis Costello - liner notes
  • Jerry Wexler - liner notes
  • Tom Dowd - liner notes
  • Arif Mardin - liner notes
  • Paul Howes - liner notes

Charts

Album - Billboard (North America)
Year Chart Position
1969 Pop Albums 99

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1968 "Son-Of-A Preacher Man Pop Singles 10
1969 "Breakfast in Bed" (B-side) Pop Singles 91
1969 "Don't Forget About Me" Pop Singles 64
1969 "Willie & Laura Mae Jones" Pop Singles 78
1969 "The Windmills of Your Mind" Adult Contemporary 3
1969 "The Windmills of Your Mind" Pop Singles 31

References

Sources

  • Howes, Paul (2001). The Complete Dusty Springfield. London: Reynolds & Hearn Ltd. ISBN 1 903111 24 2.

External links

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