Dusty in Memphis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dusty in Memphis
Studio album by Dusty Springfield
Released 31 March 1969 (1969-03-31)
Recorded September 1968
Studio American Sound Studios in Memphis; Dusty Springfield's final vocals recorded in New York
Genre Pop, soul, R&B, blue-eyed soul
Length 33:31
Label Atlantic
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. She recorded the album at American Sound Studio in Memphis with a team of musicians and producers that included Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin, Tom Dowd, conductor Gene Orloff, backing vocalists The Sweet Inspirations, bassist Tommy Cogbill, and guitarist Reggie Young. It featured one of her top-10 UK hits, "Son of a Preacher Man". Although Dusty in Memphis sold poorly when it was first released by Atlantic Records in 1969, the album has since been acclaimed by critics as one of the greatest records of all-time and Springfield's best work.


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]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[9]
Entertainment Weekly A[10]
MusicHound 4/5[11]
Q 3/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[14]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5[15]

Dusty in Memphis was released by Atlantic Records on 31 March 1969 in the United States and 18 April in the United Kingdom.[16] The album was a commercial failure in both countries, only reaching number 99 on the American album charts and failing to chart altogether on the British Top 40. According to music journalist Peter Robinson, its failure stalled Springfield's career rather than revived it, although the record eventually became "a popcultural milestone [and] timeless emotional reference point" for listeners who discovered it in second-hand shops or purchased one of its several reissues years later.[17] Robert Christgau called it "a pop standard and classic", predicting in his 1973 column for Newsday it would be "the kind of record that will sell for years because its admirers need replacement copies, and it is the perfect instance of how a production team should work."[18] Greil Marcus was less enthusiastic in Rolling Stone, deeming some of the songwriting inconsistent on what was "a real drifting, cool, smart, sexually distracted soul album".[13]

Dusty in Memphis has frequently been named one of the greatest albums of all-time; according to Acclaimed Music, it is the 104th most ranked record on critics' all-time lists.[19] NME named it the 54th greatest album ever in their 1993 list,[20] and in 2003, Rolling Stone ranked the record 89th on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[21] Richie Unterberger wrote in AllMusic that the album's reputation has improved significantly over time and felt it was "deserving of its classic status".[8] Tony Scherman from Entertainment Weekly said Dusty in Memphis was a "pure gem", Springfield's greatest work, and perhaps one of the greatest pop records ever recorded,[10] Q took note of its balance between "R&B and sensitive pop dramas",[12] while Spin critic Chuck Eddy viewed it as one of the all-important blue-eyed soul records.[22] In The A.V. Club, Keith Phipps wrote that Springfield and her team of musicians and producers for Dusty in Memphis developed an elegant and distinct fusion of pop and R&B that predated the Philadelphia soul sound of the 1970s.[23] According to Eric Klinger from PopMatters, its sophisticated style of music influenced the sound of 1990s trip hop artists who sampled songs from the album and became a blueprint for British female singers of the 2000s, including Adele, Rumer, and Duffy.[16]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
  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 two
  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.



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 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. ^ a b Dusty in Memphis at AllMusic
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 3074. ISBN 0857125958. 
  10. ^ a b Scherman, Tony (12 March 1999). "Dusty in Memphis". Entertainment Weekly (New York). Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  11. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel, eds. (1999). "Dusty Springfield". MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  12. ^ a b Q (London): 119. March 1995. 
  13. ^ a b Marcus, Greil (4 January 1999). "Dusty In Memphis". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  14. ^ Evans, Paul (2004). "Dusty Springfield". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 770. ISBN 0743201698. 
  15. ^ "Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis User Opinions". Sputnikmusic. Scroll down to 4.5 superb Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Mendelsohn, Jason; Klinger, Eric (19 October 2012). "Counterbalance No. 103: Dusty Springfield's 'Dusty in Memphis'". PopMatters. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  17. ^ Robinson, Peter (20 June 2004). "Dusty, In Memphis". The Observer (London). Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (11 February 1973). "The Boys Won't Leave That Girl Alone". Newsday (New York). Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  19. ^ "Dusty Springfield". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  20. ^ "Greatest Albums of All Time". NME (London): 29. 2 October 1993. 
  21. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone (New York): 146. 11 December 2003. 
  22. ^ Eddy, Chuck (March 2010). "Essentials: Crossing racial borders, blue-eyed soul sets off sweet-sounding alarms". Spin (SpinMedia) 26 (3): 84. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 26 September 2015. 
  23. ^ Phipps, Keith (29 March 2002). "Dusty Springfield: Dusty In Memphis". The A.V. Club (Chicago). Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  • Howes, Paul (2001). The Complete Dusty Springfield. London: Reynolds & Hearn Ltd. ISBN 1-903111-24-2.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]