Well it's seventy years since Dusty Springfield was born, which is as good an excuse as any record company needs to punt out another Best Of album. Or as Universal Music TV would have it, "a commemorative collectors classic". Now the world isn't exactly short of Dusty Springfield compilations, as a cursory glance on Amazon.com will tell you, so why should you buy this one?
Well, I'm not exactly sure. Now there is no doubt that Dusty Springfield was one of the best white soul singers of all time, which is why you should really skip over the early UK hits. Despite what people tell you, they were fairly standard, saccharine pop songs of their day. And the latter day Pet Shop Boys resurrection was just plain rubbish. The songs were dreadful and Dusty had lost a lot of her vocal ability, but sandwiched in between are some of the best songs of all time.
You can't actually go wrong with songs like "Goin' Back", "Son Of A Preacher Man", "Breakfast In Bed", "I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten", and "Some Of Your Lovin", just to grab a handful at random. Her distinctive voice is always a joy to listen to, even when the pain and hurt is there for all to hear. And when that's combined with a great song and arrangements that are sensitive to her voice, then it makes for some peerless performances. However, when the combination isn't in place, you're left wishing that she had spent more time with people who knew what they were doing. But that was a rare event back in the sixties when it was all about getting the next single in the shops as quickly as possible.
It's actually quite hard to listen to some of her performances now that we know so much about her personal trials and tribulations. As is often the case, her career withered, only for belated adulation to come far too late, with her death prompting her placement as the first British female solo artist to be inducted into the UK Music Hall Of Fame, rather than her life.
There are at least ten bona fide classics on this twenty six track compilation, but there's nothing here that isn't available elsewhere. However, if you're looking for your first Dusty compilation, this is as good as any, although my personal liking for chronological compilations had me wearing out the programme button.