Without a shadow of a doubt Dusty Springfield was the best British female singer ever. Many listeners (like me) can't remember her at her peak of fame in the 60's, but it only highlights her pure brilliance that Dusty has such a following across the age spectrum.
Beautiful Soul is essentially 2 albums in one; Cameo released in 1973 and Longing that was recorded in 1974, but never released in full...until now.
Cameo was not a commercial success, which is a disgrace as, in my opinion, it contains some of Dusty's best songs. Who Gets Your Love is angst written and could easily be from Dusty In Memphis. Easy Evil is a slinky, funky cut and is actually about heroin addiction. Coming And Going is 70's radio friendly and jolly good it is to. Normally I can't stand Van Morrison, but I have to say Tupelo Honey is first class (or at least Dusty makes it so). OH THAT VOICE!
The second half of the album is the aborted Longing. Some of these tracks such as Exclusivly For Me and In The Winter have surfaced on box sets, but now we have it in full. On some of these tracks, you can hear Dusty's personal problems embodied in her voice, but for me, it makes it all the more special.
The most interesting song on the whole album is Beautiful Soul ,a love song sung by a woman to another woman. It is one of the few times that Dusty made any reference to her sexuality. A beautiful and touching song.
All in all Beautiful Soul is an excellent album and any Dusty fans worth their salt should own it.
I've just reviewed the `Cameo' tracks under the Cameo CD release. This review is about the tracks for an unfinished album that might have been called `Elements' or 'Longing'. I was in the USA a few years back and, by chance, happened to be in the town (Nyack) where Dusty recorded (or rehearsed) these tracks at the house of Brooks Arthur. I had to sit down quietly in a crowd, think about Dusty and tip my invisible hat. This album was released after Dusty had gone up to Soulville and it was quite emotional to listen to these tracks for the first time on top of the long lost Cameo album and realise again what we'd lost.
For this album Dusty chose thoughtful well crafted songs that she could relate to and the album is very adult and interesting for that. Given that this album is unfinished, the vocal performances vary in quality but there are some fantastic performances here. The quite radical change in song type and production from the previous smooth soul records to this adult oriented pop makes the album refreshing. `Exclusively for Me', 'Turn Me Around' In the Winter', `Home to Myself' are stunning. Dusty is in fine voice here and, of course, interprets the songs with great depth and intelligence. `I Am Your Child' (early Barry Manilow) is my favourite track. The arrangement, strings and vocals are sublime; it reaches into your heart and makes you stop still. Unfortunately the loud `A Love Like Yours' comes straight after and brings the listener back to ground with a bump! `Angels' is almost gospel. Dusty sings everything with great soul and has, as usual, great soulful backing vocals; the production is very good too. The strings are beautiful.
`Make the Man Love Me' (but I really like this poppy track and it's a decent recording) and to a further extent `A Love Like Yours' (she's still a soul girl) are rough cuts and you can hear that Dusty is not in great condition but she still sings these songs with soul and feeling. Dusty would never have released these tracks (especially A Love Like Yours) as they are here but I'm very happy to have them.
`Beautiful Soul' is a song to a troubled woman. Dusty sings it beautifully. Why did Dusty choose it? I think this is Dusty singing to herself probably unconsciously. It fits Dusty very well. But it could also be an acknowledgment of her sexuality too. It was probably both. I wonder if she would have released this track on the finished album. Anyhow it's a greatest hit in my book because like `I Am Your Child' it is poignant and exquisite. Even at the high price here for this CD it's worth buying because you're getting two very rare albums of great material. These together with 'It Begins Again' are her definitive`70's albums in terms of her personal and professional journeys.
This collection frome two of the best but underrated albums by Dusty Springfield is much than worth the consideration.
The first selection is CAMEO, an album released in 1973 which is almost as good as the "Dusty in Memphis" album which is to say a masterpiece. With songs like Learn to say goodbye, Tupelo Honey,I just wanna be there... The second selection is the Longing album, unreleased at the time (1974), partly unfinished. Once again, the songs are top Dusty's, even the first takes. The singing is a blast, intimate and powerful at the same time. Try Home to myself, In the winter, or Beautiful soul.
The whole album may well sit among the albums one should absolutely have.
Dusty Springfield has to be the finest female singer that Britain produced in the 1960s, and the only one to really stand side-by-side with her American counterparts. Once she left the Springfields to pursue her solo ambitions, her run of albums and singles were top notch - and showed her ability to master all genres, particularly those of R&B and the dramatic ballad. The fact that she masterminded these recordings, pretty much self-producing and material selecting made her a true pioneer. In the late 1960s, she surprised everybody by signing with Atlantic Records in the States and produced Dusty In Memphis, which rightly continues to be the measuring stick for any blue-eyed soul record. She followed that with Brand New Me, a pairing with the up and coming Philly Soul architects, Gamble and Huff. Relocating to the States led to working with Jeff Barry on the aborted Faithful album (recently finally released). This then led to a parting of the ways with Atlantic and a joining with ABC/Dunhill. For most, this is the least known part of Dusty's career - her famous wilderness years - yet this collection rightfully shows that it actually produced some fantastic music that any true Dusty fan will love.
This CD starts with 1973s Cameo album, a wonderful pairing with Lambert and Potter who were currently hot producers achieving success with the Four Tops. For Dusty, the album is superb - smooth, creamy, Philly-inspired soul, with some adult contemporary ballads blended into the mix. How they failed to score several major hits from the project is a mystery, and it really is a hidden gem. The opener, "Who Get's Your Love" is a laid-back, slinky groove, but the next track, "Breaking Up A Happy Home" has hit written all over it. As many have said, the closer "Learn To Say Goodbye" also sounds like a smash ballad, but the quality really runs deep - try Alan O'Day's "Evil Evil" and Van Morrison's gorgeous "Tupelo Honey".
By 1974, Dusty was really imploding personally, and the rest of the tracks are drawn from the sessions for the aborted "Longing" album. This was a courageous choice - she recruited Brooks Arthur to produce more adult-contemporary, singer-songwriter material. The sessions were never completed, so we don't get final recordings, but the quality of what is here shows that the album had the seeds of greatness within. As many have said, Dusty's recording of Janis Ian's "In The Winter" is heartbreakingly definitive; Margie Adam's "Beautiful Soul" is tender, vulnerable and, yes, beautiful. Some songs were revisited as a part of 1978s "It Begins Again", but these original, stripped back versions really shine, and Dusty sounds wonderfully open and intimate. The closer, "A Love Like Yours" was a UK single in its later incarnation, but this slightly slower, gritty version really grooves and would have been a great lead single from the set. This collection is really top notch, and no Springfield fan should be without these tracks. A real window into this period in Ms. Springfield's life and an indicator of really what could have been had she had the support and marketing that she deserved in this troubled period of her life. Glorious!
Dusty's US album Cameo and the previously unreleased tracks from the aborted Longing album are here released as a majestic tribute to the Diva. Each of the tracks is a jewel - especially the heartachingly beautiful In the Winter. Unutterably breathtaking - Dusty's best album to date! A true icon.
As a fan of Dusty since she was in the Springfields Iwas totally thrilled with this double album.I consider her to be the greatest interpretator of a song singing with emotion andfeeling Iam happy to add this album to my extensive collection of her work.Keep up the good work finding any other such jewells.Beautiful Soul lives up its title.
The music on this collection was affectively 2 albums worth, only 1 was released. This is a glimpse of Dusty's music in the 70's. The voice is still beautiful. Delivery was top notch and quick, cheers!