By common consent dear Dusty Springfield is the finest female soul singer the UK has ever produced. Proof lies in everything she recorded as a solo star and if you want more evidence then consider the esteem that the US soul contingent held her in. In short, they believed (quite accurately) that “she was one of theirs”.
Thankfully, her back catalogue has been skilfully curated by the copyright owners and her estate and almost all of her recordings are easily accessible. Some archive music, though, has slipped through the net – like the 17 tracks on this new Real Gone/Atlantic/Rhino collection named for the Antonio Carlos Jobim/Norma Tanega song that takes centre stage here.
The provenance of the music on ‘Come For A Dream’ is complex. Between 1968 and 1971 Dusty was pacted to Atlantic in the USA but in the UK she was still contracted to Phillips and between recording in the States she continued recording in the UK. However because of the high profile of the American sessions (‘Dusty In Memphis’ etc…) little of the contemporary UK output was released, certainly in the States. Ten of the tracks did actually form the basis of Dusty’s 1972 long player ‘See All Her Faces’ but that one never won official US release.
I did say “complex” didn’t I? In essence, though, that doesn’t matter. Where the music came from or where it’s been is of little import given the soulful beauty of what’s on offer here… be thankful that it’s accessible again.
There’s so much that’s good here, it’s hard to know where to start with a track review. The aforementioned ‘Come For A Dream’ is a beauty. A lazy, languid bossa nova, Dusty simply caresses the Norma Tanega lyrics in the sweetest way. Goffin/King’s ‘Wasn’t Born To Follow’ is another highlight along with the more dramatic ‘Yesterday When I was Young’ and ‘What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life’. Two songs just made for the Dusty Springfield treatment.
Classic soul? Dusty here offers fab versions of the Stairsteps’ ‘Ooh Child’, Betty Wright’s ‘Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do’ and the Glass House’s ‘Crumbs Off The Table’ and add to those Dusty’s takes on Jim Webb’s ‘Mixed Up Girl’, the Young Rascals’ ‘How Can I be sure’ and you have an unmissable album. Dusty even pours more soul into Spike Milligan’s ‘Goodbye’ than the one time Goon could have ever imagined!