Monday, 4 March 2013

Albums for Life: 42: Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis

Back in 1968, insecure and hoping for some kudos from her peers, Dusty had signed to Atlantic, the label of her heroine Aretha Franklin.
Recordings started in Memphis Tennessee with top session band The Memphis Cats, quality control guaranteed in the knowledge that it was produced by Jerry Wexler with Arif Mardin and engineered by Tom Dowd.
Apparently the sessions were difficult as Dusty was a renowned perfectionist. In his book 'Rhythm and Blues' Wexler noted that, out of the songs originally recorded for the session, "she approved exactly zero. To say yes to a song was a lifetime commitment." 
The vocals were later completed in New York City.
The Memphis Sessions were also notable for Dusty advising the heads of Atlantic to sign Led Zeppelin. She was mates with bass player John Paul Jones who had previously backed her.
Zep's advance of $200,000 was the largest ever paid at the time.
Back to this recording, I love the sound of this album, hear the subtlety of the playing, just listen to the weight of the snare in 'Son of a Preacher Man'.
He tickles the thing...
A lot more subtle than Dusty's miming here, not to mention the beehive...


  1. I came to this very very late (only bought it a couple of years ago). It is a fantastic lp and you are right, everyone goes on about the voice but the backing sound is perfection

  2. Mary O'Brien is coming up in my list as well. A cracking album.

  3. Son of A Preacher Man was one of my first singles, so Dusty always has a place in the ipod of my heart.