Dusty Springfield: Come for a Dream – The U.K. Sessions 1970-1971

DustySpringfield_ComeForADreamDusty Springfield’s little-known 1970-71 UK sessions

It takes a star of nearly unparalleled stature to hold separate recording contracts for the U.S. and the rest of the world, each on its own label, and each producing its own sessions and releases. But that’s just how Dusty Springfield was situated when her stateside contract with Philips expired in 1968, and a new U.S.-only contract was struck with Atlantic. Philips retained the right to record and release Springfield’s records outside the U.S., as well as gaining access to material recorded by Atlantic. Atlantic gained a reciprocal right to Philips-recorded material, but opted to stick with their own sessions, leaving a period of Springfield’s UK late-60s and early-70s work unfamiliar to American ears. The intervening decades have seen most of this material released on U.S. compilations, but not always in collections that reflect the original sessions or artistic intent.

Earlier this year, Real Gone expanded Springfield’s early-70s catalog with the lost Atlantic album Faithful, and they now hop the pond to collect  material from UK sessions that formed the core of the 1972 Philips-released See All Her Faces. Philips combined nine tracks from UK sessions with a handful of Atlantic singles and B-sides to create an album with numerous high points, but neither a great deal of consistency, nor a full-telling of Springfield’s London session work. Rhino collected much of the UK material on 1999’s Dusty in London, but by zeroing in on 1970-71, and adding three tracks left off the Rhino collection (“Goodbye,” “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do,” “Go My Love”) and a rehearsal construction of “O-o-h Child,” Real Gone has fashioned a disc that tells a more coherent story than either Philips’ 1972 album or Rhino’s later compilation.

Springfield was always soulful, even as her material stretched across sambas, film themes and pop, and her style was so unique as to possess even well-known material like Leon Russell’s “A Song For You,” Goffin and King’s “Wasn’t Born to Follow” and the Young Rascals’ “How Can I Be Sure.” The smokiness of her voice was an obvious fit for soul songs “Crumbs Off the Table” and “Girls it Ain’t Easy,” but also perfectly suited to sambas by Antonio Carlos Jobim (“Come For a Dream”) and Spike Milligan (“Goodbye”), film themes (“I Start Counting”) and sophisticated pop (Jimmy Webb’s “Mixed Up Girl” and Charles Aznavour’s “Yesterday When I Was Young”). The album’s orchestrations (variously by Jimmy Horowitz, Peter Knight, Keith Mansfield, Derek Wadsworth and Wally Stott) include strings and horns that provide a perfect pocket for Springfield’s voice.

Springfield temporarily abandoned the 1970 album project after initial July sessions, shifting to the U.S. to record with Jeff Barry, and not returning until late 1971 to finish “Sweet Inspiration” and record “A Song For You” and a rehearsal of “O-o-h Child.” The material from the 1970-71 UK sessions was smartly selected from a wide spectrum of styles and sources, and if not entirely consistent as an album, the individual performances show off the stylistic flexibility of Springfield’s voice and her broad artistic reach. Joe Marchese’s liner notes provide career context, session-by-session and song-by-song notes, and the keen observation that pulling these orphaned sessions together finally gives them a proper home. This is a great set for Springfield fans that haven’t already assembled the tracks from multiple other releases. [©2015 Hyperbolium]

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.