Dusty: The Essentials

2.26.2008

By Aaron Hicklin

Dusty in Memphis
Unequivocally a masterpiece, this oft-reissued album is the definition of white soul, offering Dusty the best of the American music biz, like songsmiths Gerry Goffin and Carole King ('No Easy Way Down') and lounge king Burt Bacharach ('In the Land of Make Believe'). Throw in the great producer Jerry Wexler and Aretha Franklin's rhythm section and you have not just any great album but one of the greatest, period. The 1999 Rhino deluxe reissue includes an additional 14 tracks, including Springfield's sublime version of 'Willie & Laura Mae Jones.'

'Spooky'
Initially released as the B-side to her 1970 single 'How Can I Be Sure,' 'Spooky' was given new life after being included on the soundtrack to the 1998 British movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

'I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself'
One of Dusty's best-known songs (and a hit in the U.K. in 1964), this Bacharach standard found new life in 2003 as a White Stripes single, complete with a Sofia Coppola'directed video of Kate Moss pole-dancing.

'What Have I Done to Deserve This?'
Dusty's 1987 collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys rose to number 2 on both sides of the Atlantic, making it the biggest U.S. hit of her career. In a 2006 interview Neil Tennant recalled that Dusty had hit rock bottom when they met her -- 'living in a pay-per-day motel in West Hollywood and cutting herself' -- but Messrs. Tennant and Lowe gloriously reestablished her in the pantheon.

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