Featuring most of the magisterial Dusty in Memphis and its lesser follow-up A Brand New Me, plus a bevy of related tracks, this new collection captures one of pop’s most fascinating personalities in her second act.
In 1968, Dusty Springfield was already an international superstar with 15 hits under her belt for the Philips label when she decided it was time for a change. The extraordinary run of singles recorded between 1963 and 1967, from “I Only Want to Be With You” to “The Look of Love” means appreciating Springfield’s combination of winsomeness and submersion; unlike Dionne Warwick, another beneficiary of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s compositions, Springfield wasn’t detached, as her performance of the 1966 Pino Donaggio and Vito Pallavicini composition “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” rewritten in English, testifies. But Springfield, who wrote a song here and there and exerted more production control than credits would suggest, had grown restless
What followed was one of the most legendary and momentous label moves in pop music history:. Signing with Atlantic and relocating to Memphis that year looked like a smart move, resulting in a body of work as substantial as Aretha Franklin’s own Atlantic recordings. She insisted on working with the redoubtable producer Jerry Wexler. The eight songs he brought to what became Dusty in Memphis represented the best of the so-called Brill Building songwriters: Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Randy Newman and Michel Legrand chipped in too.