.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/fe/missingCoverArtPlaceholder.jpg Dusty In Memphis

Dusty Springfield

Dusty In Memphis

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
January 4, 1999

These days you might hear Dusty Springfield's 1964 "I Only Want to Be With You" as the theme song for Arliss, Robert Wuhl's HBO sports-agent comedy. But in 1969 she plowed a furrow you can still find: As a white English pop singer, she went south, and with the A team of Atlantic Records — producers Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin — and a five-man Memphis band led by guitarist Reggie Young and bassist Tommy Cogbill, she cut a real soul album. A real drifting, cool, smart, sexually distracted soul album by a singer who got grease all over her hands with one song and primly wiped them off before heading into the next one.

The record still sounds uniquely classy and knowing, but today Springfield's all but total dependence on the quality of her material — by songwriters ranging from the then little-known Randy Newman ("I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore," "Just One Smile") to schlock merchants Alan and Marilyn Bergman ("The Windmills of Your Mind") — is also evident. Tune by tune, the album rises up, then dies, then comes back to life again. Springfield comes off the evaporating Burt Bacharach-Hal David number "In the Land of Make Believe" as if she's never heard of Memphis, let alone already made the place over with "Son of a Preacher Man" — and then the first, saddening steps of Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "No Easy Way Down" are taken and you know this woman is up to the toughest song anyone in town can throw at her. It was the cream puffs that knocked her down.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com