Even during her 1960s heyday, Dusty Springfield released a number of fine albums that were seriously undervalued and failed to realise their chart potential. Chief among these, of course, is the timeless Dusty In Memphis, now universally regarded as a classic LP which astoundingly, to this day, has still never appeared on the UK charts. But this time, we’re focusing on another somewhat hidden gem in her catalogue.
Immediately before Springfield went to Memphis, she released a fourth studio album which was significant for several reasons, not least that it was the first to be co-produced by the singer herself. Dusty…Definitely listed Dusty alongside her longtime collaborator, and made its UK chart debut on 21 December 1968.
Dusty had by now signed a new US deal with Atlantic, under which Dusty In Memphis would be the first release, but she remained on Philips back in the UK, where she’d been in the singles top ten that August with the great ‘I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten.’
Dusty…Definitely featured a typically interesting selection of superior interpretations, to her usual high specification. Some reflected her soul leanings, such as the Bert Berns/Jerry Ragovoy favourite ‘Piece Of My Heart’ and Ashford & Simpson’s ‘I Can’t Give Back The Love I Feel For You,’ first recorded by Syreeta Wright, when she was still called Rita.
Springfield also turned again to the work of Bacharach & David for both ‘Another Night’ and the timeless ‘This Girl’s In Love With You.’ The album also included her outstanding reading of Randy Newman’s ‘I Think It’s Going To Rain Today’ and classy adult contemporary outings on Charles Aznavour and Herbert Kretzmer’s ‘Who (Will Take My Place)’ and Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen’s ‘Second Time Around.’
As the album made its chart bow, Dusty was also climbing the singles countdown with the peerless ‘Son Of A Preacher Man,’ but that wasn’t included on Dusty…Definitely, being saved instead for Dusty In Memphis. The earlier LP entered at No. 38 and climbed to No. 30 over Christmas and new year 1969, but, perhaps hampered by the lack of a hit single of its own, failed to climb any higher. But it’s an entry in her album output that repays listening all these decades later.
The expanded version of Dusty…Definitely can be bought here.
Follow the official Dusty Springfield Best Of playlist.