Dusty Sings Soul.

Label: Ace Records.

Format: CD.

Dusty Springfield’s love of soul and R&B was apparent from the very start of a solo career that spanned three decades. Between 1964 and 1995 she released fifteen studio albums. However, she was at the peak of her powers when signed to Philips Records. Especially on the ten albums she released for the label between 1964 and 1969. 

On a number of these albums Dusty Springfield recorded some of her favourite American soul songs.  Some had been a hit for some of the biggest names in soul. However, this wasn’t a case of jumping on the bandwagon and quickly releasing a cover version to cash-in on the success of the original. 

Instead, Dusty Springfield waited until the single dropped out of the charts and recorded her version. Some became singles while others featured on EPs or albums. These tracks were very different to the covers of show tunes and pop songs that she recorded and was known for. They’re a reminder that Dusty Springfield was one of the greatest British soul singers of her generation.

Proof of that can be found on Dusty Sings Soul, a new compilation that was recently released by Ace Records. It features twenty-four tracks that were released on EPs and albums between 1964 and 1969.

The earliest track on Dusty Sings Soul is Every Day I Have To Cry. It was written by Arthur Alexander and is a tantalising taste of the soulful side of Dusty Springfield. Originally, Phillips thought about releasing the song as a single. However, they decided to release I Only Want To Be With You and the song featured on  the 1964 EP I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself. It reached number eight in the UK EP charts.

Later in 1964, the Dusty EP was released and featured an impassioned versions of Can I Get A Witness, and a hurt filled interpretation of All Cried Out. The EP reached number three in the UK EP charts and the Dusty Springfield success story continued.

In 1964, she released two albums. This included A Girl Called Dusty which featured Do Re Mi which was penned by Earl Johnson and gave Lee Dorsey a hit. A highlight of the album was Nothing which is best described as a vivacious interpretation that’s a mixture of joy and power. Given the quality of songs on the album, it was no surprise that it reached number six in the UK in April 1964.

Just two months later, in June 1964, Dusty Springfield released Stay Awhile/I Only Want To Be With You which was her debut album in America. The album opener was her 1962 debut single I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself. It features an outpouring of emotion and nowadays, is considered by many as a classic. 

1965 was another busy year for Dusty Springfield. She released her third EP Dusty In New York. It featured I Wanna Make You Happy which was penned by Cynthia Weil and Russ Titelman, with Shelby Singleton taking charge of production. It’s a needy and soulful version that’s one of the highlights of the EP. It reached number thirteen in the UK.

On October 1965, Ev’rything’s Coming Up Dusty was released in the UK, and reached number six. It was the second album from the twenty-six year old and featured the soulful side of Dusty Springfield. This includes on Bacharach and David’s Long After Tonight Is All Over, an almost needy take on Won’t Be Long and a melancholy version of That’s How Heartaches Are Made which was originally recorded by Baby Washington. They were joined by an emotive reading of It Was Easier To Hurt Him and Oh No Not My Baby where the hurt is almost palpable. There was also a heartfelt version of I Had A Talk With My Man which was originally recorded by Mitty Collier, and was by then a favourite of UK soul fans.

In 1965, during the sessions for Ev’rything’s Coming Up Dusty, the Goffin and King composition Some Of Your Lovin’ was recorded.  Adding backing vocals were Madeline Bell, Lesley Duncan and Kiki Dee. They play an important part in the sound, and later, success of this much-loved song. However, the song was left off the album and instead, released as a single. It reached number eight in the UK thanks to a vocal that’s full of longing.

For what was meant to be her fifth EP, recorded Every Ounce Of Strength which was written by Isaac Hayes, David Porter and Steve Cropper. However, the EP was cancelled and the song eventually featured on the B-Side of You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me which became Dusty Springfield’s most successful single. Tucked away on the B-Side is this hidden gem with its coquettish vocal.

The following year, 1967, Dusty Springfield recorded What’s It Gonna Be which was released as a single on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s regarded by many as her most soulful song. Despite that, it released just fifty-two in the UK and seventy-six in the US Billboard 100.

Later that year, on the ‘27th’ of October 1967 Where Am I Going? was released in the UK. This was Dusty Springfield’s third album, and most eclectic to date. However, despite being well received by critics it stalled at a lowly number forty in the UK, which was hugely disappointing. However, there’s a number of soulful cuts on the album. This includes an impassioned rendition of Bring Him Back, a gorgeous take on the Chip Taylor penned Welcome Home and a soul-baring version of I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face. They’re joined by Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream which was originally recorded by Aretha Franklin. This homage to the Queen of Soul is much more hopeful and delivered with confidence.

When Dusty… Definitely was released on the ‘22nd’ November 1968 it stalled at number thirty in the UK. This was the fourth album that Dusty Springfield had released in the UK. However, just like Where Am I Going? it failed to replicate the success of her first two albums. Despite this, it was anther eclectic album with some soulful sides. This included Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart which stays true to Erma Franklin’s original.  It’s joined by wistful reading of Ain’t No Sun Since You’ve Been Gone, and Love Power which features a powerhouse of a vocal that’s joined by gospel-tinged harmonies. It was one of the highlights of the album.

Having recorded her classic album Dusty In Memphis, the singer returned to the studio and recorded the single Am I The Same Girl. It was released later in 1969 and features a sweet and soulful vocal, on what’s the most recent track on Dusty Sings Soul.

Although there’s many Dusty Springfield compilations available, Dusty’s Got Soul stands head and shoulders above the competition. Compiler Tony Rounce has dug deeper into her Phillips back-catalogue and chosen a mixture of singles, a B-Side and tracks from EPs and albums. He eschews many of the predictable tracks that feature on the lesser compilations and instead, chooses deep cuts. 

Especially the album tracks which featured Dusty Springfield at her most soulful. Many of these tracks will be well known amongst the soul and R&B fans who are familiar with the originals. However, for other music fans this will be the first time that they’ve heard these tracks. Dusty Springfield’s readings of them are incredibly soulful as she unleashes a wide range of emotions as she lives the lyrics. It’s no wonder that Dusty Springfield is regarded as one of the greatest British soul singers of her generation. The twenty-one tracks on Dusty’s Got Soul is proof of this, if any were needed.

Dusty’s Got Soul.

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