Dusty in Memphis

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Dusty in Memphis
Studio album by Dusty Springfield
Released 31 March 1969 (1969-03-31)
Recorded September 1968 at American Sound Studios, Memphis. Dusty Springfield's final vocals recorded in New York.
Genre Soul, Rhythm & Blues, pop
Length 33:31

SD 8214 (US)

Philips Records
SBL 7889 (UK)
Producer Jerry Wexler
Arif Mardin
Tom Dowd
Dusty Springfield chronology
Dusty... Definitely
Dusty in Memphis
A Brand New Me
Alternative cover
UK edition

Dusty in Memphis is the fifth studio album by English singer Dusty Springfield, released in 1969. The album features one of the singer's top 10 UK hits, Son of a Preacher Man. Although it did not garner significant commercial success upon its original release, and remained out of print for many years, Dusty in Memphis is now frequently included in lists of the greatest albums of all time.


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 Sound 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.[1] 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.[2]


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."[3] Springfield disputed this, saying she did choose two: "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Just a Little Lovin'".[4] He was surprised, given Dusty's talent, by her apparent insecurity. 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.[5] Additionally, Springfield stated that she had never before worked with just a rhythm track, and that it was the first time she had worked with outside producers, having self-produced her previous recordings (something for which she never took credit).[4]

During the Memphis sessions in November 1968, Springfield suggested to the heads of Atlantic Records that they should sign the newly formed Led Zeppelin group. 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 Dusty's advice,[6] the record company signed a deal of $200,000 with them. At the time, that was the biggest deal of its kind for a new band.[7]

"Son of a Preacher Man"[edit]

The standout track of the album is "Son of a Preacher Man". Released as a single, it reached No. 9 in the United Kingdom,[8] No. 10 in the United States and charted internationally. The Billboard year end chart placed the single at #96.[9] It was placed No. 77 among The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 Years by the writers of the Rolling Stone magazine in 1987, and No. 43 of the Greatest Singles of All Time by the writers of New Musical Express in 2002. The song had originally been turned down by Aretha Franklin.[4] When Franklin recorded it a year later, Dusty felt Franklin's version was superior and thereafter adopted some of Franklin's phrasing.[citation needed]

Samples from "Son of a Preacher Man" were used on Cypress Hill's cult-classic stoner-culture song "Hits from the Bong" on their album Black Sunday in 1993 and on Adil Omar's "Known to Kick It" in 2008. In 1994 the song was featured prominently in a scene of the film Pulp Fiction. The soundtrack reached No. 21 on the Billboard 200, and at the time, went platinum in Canada (1,000,000 units).[10] "Son of a Preacher Man" helped to sell over 2 million units of the album[11] and to reach No. 6 of the world chart according to Nielsen SoundScan.[12]

Reviews and rankings[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[14]
  • 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."[4]
  • Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p. 146): Ranked No. 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 No. 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 No. 3 in Rolling Stone's "Women in Rock: The 50 Essential Albums" "...[A] British soul masterpiece..."
  • VH1: Ranked No. 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 recognised 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 No. 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.
  • Mojo (1995): Ranked No. 92 in Mojo's 100 Greatest Albums of All Time.
  • The album appears in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
  • Music critic Robert Christgau listed Dusty in Memphis as one of his 75 fundamental records of the 1960s.[15]

Track listing[edit]

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[edit]

Dusty in Memphis was first released on 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, and included 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 Gibb 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.
  • Track 12: recorded at American Studio, Memphis. Dusty Springfield's final vocals recorded in New York. Producers: Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd & Arif Mardin.
  • Tracks 13 & 14: 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" (without 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" (Neil Brian Goldberg, Gilbert Slavin [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" (Neil Brian Goldberg, Joe Renzetti [not credited]) – 3:10
  11. "I'll Be Faithful" (Stereo) (Ned W. Albright, Michael F. Soles, 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" (Neil Brian Goldberg, Joe Renzetti [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
  • Tracks 15–16: originally unissued. Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, February 1970. Producers: Gamble-Huff Productions. Arranged by Thom Bell.
  • 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
  • All tracks: original mono mixes.

Personnel and production[edit]

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


AlbumBillboard (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 "I Don't Want to Hear it Anymore" (B-Side) Pop Singles 105
1969 "In the Land of Make Believe" Pop Singles 113


  1. ^ "Dusty in Memphis. The Rolling Stone magazine". 
  2. ^ "Greil Marcus. Dusty in Memphis. The Rolling Stone magazine site". 
  3. ^ Chin, Brian (1999). The Best of Dusty Springfield (The Millennium Collection) (Inset). Dusty Springfield. USA: Mercury Records. 314,538,851-2. 
  4. ^ a b c d Feldman, Jim (1992). Dusty in Memphis (Inset). Dusty Springfield. USA: Rhino Entertainment. R2 75580. 
  5. ^ 89) Dusty in Memphis Rolling Stone site
  6. ^ Welch, Chris (1994) Led Zeppelin, London: Orion Books. ISBN 1-85797-930-3, p. 31.
  7. ^ Mick Wall (2005). "No Way Out". p. 83. 
  8. ^ "DUSTY SPRINGFIELD : Artist : Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Chareborneranger presents the Billboard Top 100 for 1969
  10. ^ Billboard; 1/28/95, Vol. 107 Issue 4, p62, 1/2p
  11. ^ Billboard, 00062510, 4/20/96, Vol. 108, Issue 16
  12. ^ Christian Science Monitor, 08827729, 9/8/97, Vol. 89, Issue 198
  13. ^ Dusty in Memphis at AllMusic
  14. ^ Greil Marcus (1999). "Dusty Springfield: Dusty In Memphis : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Robert Christgau. "A Basic Record Library: The Fifties and Sixties". Retrieved 24 August 2013. 


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

External links[edit]