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Dusty Springfield: Classics & Collectibles

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Album Review

As much good music as this two-CD, 51-song compilation contains, and as well packaged as it is, it suffers from a certain lack of direction. It's not a conventional best-of, although it has most of Dusty Springfield's hits; it's not a rarities compilation, although it has a good number of rare or at least obscure cuts. Instead, it's neither one nor the other. All but the most affluent and forgiving of Springfield fans are not apt to be pleased at the prospect of shelling out for a few peripheral rarities they may not have, surrounded by quite a bit of stuff they likely already have several times over. And really, the rarities aren't all that mind-blowing, consisting primarily of some previously unissued remixes; the stereo soundtrack version of "The Sweet Ride"; the mono version of "Nothing," which has an alternate vocal; the "first-time mono release" of "Standing in the Need of Love"; the full-length version of "Heartbeat," previously issued in the U.K. only in edited form; a mono version of "If Wishes Could Be Kisses," again with an alternate vocal; "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" with a different vocal; and a mono mix of "I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face" with additional background vocals. All this noted, the Dusty Springfield fan who wants the hits plus some stuff that's relatively unfamiliar will like this, though American listeners will miss "Wishin' and Hopin'," presumably not included on this U.K. release because it was not a hit in Britain, though it was a big 1964 smash in the States. Besides most of the hits, there are a lot of good to great LP cuts and B-sides, mostly though not exclusively from the 1960s and early '70s. Some of the off the beaten track items, like "Summer Is Over," are among the finer things she did; others, like her cover of Gloria Jones' soul stormer "Heartbeat" and the theme for the film The Corrupt Ones, manage to be obscure, good, and unusual all at once. It's well sequenced and covers most of the important bases of her style, though it's not quite something that can be recommended as the first or second Dusty Springfield release that belongs in your collection.


Born: 16 April 1939 in Hampstead, London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Britain's greatest pop diva, Dusty Springfield was also the finest white soul singer of her era, a performer of remarkable emotional resonance whose body of work spans the decades and their attendant musical transformations with a consistency and purity unmatched by any of her contemporaries; though a camp icon of glamorous excess in her towering beehive hairdo and panda-eye black mascara, the sultry intimacy and heartbreaking urgency of Springfield's voice transcended image and fashion, embracing...
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