I was just listening to `Welcome Home' from Dusty Springfield's `Where am I Going' album. It's a lovely soulful song and you can tell from sides like this, and even the album title, that she had to leave the UK to sing soul (which was all she wanted to do by 1967-8) and try to crack the USA market where she belonged. She was going to Memphis and New York where she recorded this great album while wracked with self-doubt, knowing she was risking her career to do what she loved. It didn't work. `Dusty in Memphis' bombed and helped ruin her confidence. The album was deleted and unavailable for a long time; it became a hard to get connoisseur's classic.
Listen to Dusty laying her heart on the line. Listen to those breathtaking notes, the great music, recording quality and the fantastic Sweet Inspirations. This is a master-class. The first 6 tracks and 10-11 are amazing and sublime. The rest is gorgeous icing. This album should always be available. Whatever you pay, it's an absolute steal for this totally classic album.
Dusty sounds like she's not earthbound any more like Memphis has released her soul and its floating free at last. Dusty totally lives the lyrics and exposes a deeply intelligent, sensual sensibility. She reaches into a deep sadness and vulnerability too. You get a little of this on some of her other albums but its totally realized on 'Memphis'. There's a raw, yet controlled, emotional quality that astonishes at every listen. Listen at night with the lights turned down, relax, just give in and make contact. Everything will disappear and it will just be you, ethereal Dusty, and your emotions in free fall.
On`So Much Love' she takes my breath away every time she sings `You show your love in so many ways, I'm gonna love you for the rest of my days...' I just don't know how she gets those notes; they come from another world. I can just about remember Dusty on TV singing 'Preacher Man'. This is such a groovy song but I sometimes skip this to get to the amazing ' I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore'. `Just a Little Lovin' is so great too. So is `Breakfast in Bed' (with that slow wink at 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me'). `Don't Forget About Me' (an ultimate favourite of mine). `No Easy Way Down' (oh Wow), `I Can't Make It Alone' (brilliant) and like the alchemist she was she takes `Windmills of Your Mind' and `Just One Smile' and turns them from silver plate into spun gold.
This is the only time musical craftsmanship was truly up to Dusty's high mark of musical artistry, intelligence and ambition and good enough in its own right to push Dusty beyond the safe zone to produce a brave, coherent, consistent, matchless album. It must have cost a lot of money to make because everything here is the absolute best. Other UK artists went to Memphis to get this `sound' but most only exposed their limitations. There wasn't a Memphis `sound'; there were just great artists that were up to Atlantic Records highest production standards (epitomized in Aretha Franklin). I'm hard pressed to think of any other album of any genre that has knocked me out so much and which I can still play today just like the first time. Maybe one track or another can compete but not a whole album.
I've never been without this album since I bought it on vinyl in the early 1980s. The Rhino version is a great package but this version is fine. I don't have any gripes with the quality of the transfer. It's just a shame `Memphis' never came out on SACD or DVD-Audio when those super hi-fi formats were in vogue. There's something in my own soul that leads me back to `Memphis'. I don't know what that is but this album is a perfect response. It just makes me feel good.