Britian’s Mary O’Brein, nicknamed Dusty, grew up with a great love for a variety of music including, but not limited to, American jazz, classical and soul music and especially the stylings of Peggy Lee. As soon as she completed her schooling she became part of a pop trio The Lana Sisters. After they disbanded she became part of the The Springfields folk trio in 1960. But by 1963 she left the successful Springfields to make her own way as a solo act and succeed she did!
Between 1964 and 1970 Dusty had top charting hits in both the U.K. and USA: In the USA she had 18 singles on the Billboard Top 100. But 1969′s “Dusty in Memphis” was to become the classic set among her fans (But I also very much like her work from 1970 too). Wikipedia explains the making of this album in detail as follows:
Memphis sessions (1968–69)
In 1968, Carole King, one of Springfield’s songwriters, embarked on a singing career of her own, while the chart-busting Bacharach-David partnership was foundering. Springfield’s status in the music industry was further complicated by the progressive music revolution and the uncomfortable split between what was underground and fashionable, and what was pop and unfashionable. In addition, her performing career was becoming bogged down on the UK touring circuit, which at that time largely consisted of working men’s clubs and the hotel and cabaret circuit. Hoping to reinvigorate her career and boost her credibility, Springfield signed with Atlantic Records, home label of an idol of hers, Aretha Franklin. The Memphis sessions at the American Sound Studios were recorded by the A team of Atlantic Records: producers Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, Arif Mardin, the back-up vocal band Sweet Inspirations and the instrumental band Memphis Cats, led by guitarist Reggie Young and bass player Tommy Coghill. The producers were the first people to recognize that Springfield’s natural soul voice should be placed at the fore, rather than competing with full string arrangements. Due to Springfield’s pursuit of perfection and what Jerry Wexler called, a ‘gigantic inferiority complex’, her vocals were recorded later in New York.
The LP Dusty in Memphis was a real drifting, cool, smart soul album. It was reviewed by the Rolling Stone magazine as a piece of:
“ …blazing soul and sexual honesty…that transcended both race and geography. ”
The LP fell short of the UK Top 40, and peaked at #99 on the Billboard Top 200. Dusty in Memphis received the Grammy Hall of Fame award in 2001. The album was listed among the 100 Greatest Albums of All Time by a panels of artists from Rolling Stone and VH1, readers of New Musical Express, and viewers of Channel 4. The standout track of the album, “Son of a Preacher Man”, reached #10 on UK, U.S. and international charts. The song was the 96th most popular song of 1969 in the United States. In 1994, the song was revived by Quentin Tarantino on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, which sold over three million copies. (SOURCE)
Song Trivia: ‘SOAPM” was originally offered to Aretha Franklin, who turned it down. It was only upon hearing Springfield’s version that Franklin reconsidered and recorded the song herself. By that time, however, Springfield’s version had already become a hit; thus, Franklin’s version, included on her 1970 album, This Girl’s In Love With You, charted only as a tag-along b-side of the single, “Call Me” . (SOURCE)
Dusty Springfield died of breast cancer in 1999 on the day she was to receive her OBE from the Queen of England and two weeks before she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame posthumously.
Composed by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins, the incestuous “Son of A Preacherman” is being performed live by Dusty in this vintage clip found on YouTube.
Please enjoy the music and I thank you for stopping by.