Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis
Dusty in Memphis, Dusty Springfield's beautiful and bizarre magnum opus, remains as fine a hybrid of pop and rhythm and blues as has ever been made. In this remarkable book, Warren Zanes explores his own love affair with the record. He digs deep into the album's Memphis roots and talks to several of the key characters who were involved in its creation; many of whom were - like Zanes - outsiders drawn to the American South and mesmerized by its hold over the imagination.
The love that is the subject of 'Dusty in Memphis' is different from the love of her earlier songs: it is a love that is all at once diffuse, dark, unpredictable, ecstatic, and a terrible deal. It is a love too big for the lyrical (and for that matter musical) framework of Dusty's earlier pop productions, no matter the breadth of that work. Like Memphis itself, the love that is the subject of 'Dusty in Memphis' is indeed bursting with the contrary: it happens not simply when you yearn for it, as in some adolescent dream, but when you're not prepared for it; it reveals itself not simply under the star-filled skies where a moon hangs low--in fact, as the first and last tracks on side one attest, it might be at its best when the sun's just arriving at work.