Dusty Springfield - A Girl Called Dusty - Review
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critics' view

With this LP, Dusty broke free of the shackles that came with being a singer with the Springfields; her solo debut was built around the music that was in her heart, and her soulful pop vision was laid out very nicely here on this set. She was still a Springfield by name, but the front cover was clear with the statement that she was now “A Girl Called Dusty”.

The album kicks-off with a version of the Shirelles’ “Mama Said” and, although it’s not a patch on the original, it’s decent enough. Straight away I’m thinking she’s got taste. First thrills are found on track 4, as Dusty does a great job on “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes”, which had given the Supremes their first Top 40 success Stateside at the tail end of ’63. Had she been Michigan based, Berry Gordy would have signed her in an instant… she's terrific at this kind of song. Not so good is a version of Kander & Ebbs “My Colouring Book” – step away from the songbook I’m silently pleading. The bounce back is immediate as she tackles Inez and Charlie Foxx’s “Mockingbird” – dare I say it, it’s better than the original.

Flipping the album over, “Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa” proves to be a real show stopper. I’ve always loved Gene Pitney’s song, but Dusty elevates it to another place; she sure could read a song. Taking on Bacharach & David’s “Anyone Who Had A Heart” is a bit of a square undertaking that could never work but, again, redemption is immediate in my eyes as the Shirelles get another big-up courtesy of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”. The album closes with a snazzy version of Ray Charles’s “Don’t You Know”, as Dusty builds up a performance which ends with a whole load of hollering and screaming, as if a preacher possessed. It sums up the album nicely – she's making the music she wants to make and she’s having a wail of a time : – )

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