By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Dusty Springfield's continued influence on country/soul is as warranted as it is overused. Dusty in Memphis, Springfield's acknowledged magnum opus from 1969, is another one of those records that, despite commercial disappointment, remains a critical favorite. Ironically, the biggest hit from that record, "Son of a Preacher Man," was thought by Springfield to be inferior to a version cut by Aretha Franklin just months later. Perhaps the brouhaha is a bit misplaced, but don't tell that to the dozens, maybe even hundreds, of female singers who worship at the altar of all things Dusty.
Add country chanteuse Shelby Lynne to that ever-growing list. Lynne's recent effort, Just a Little Lovin', is supposedly inspired by the career of the late British singer as it gathers together various songs Springfield performed throughout her career. Interestingly, "Son of a Preacher Man" is not included. Instead, about the only recognizable number is Burt Bacharach's "The Look of Love." Wisely, Lynne and her producers have unearthed several fascinating obscurities to showcase both the influence of Springfield's phrasing and Lynne's tough-girl persona. Nowhere is this marriage more apparent than on the Randy Newman-penned "I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore."
Just a Little Lovin' might not be the serious artistic statement it was intended to be, but it is a collection of good songs well-sung without pretense, a near impossibility in the confines of contemporary country.
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