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The Sounds Of America: ‘Dusty In Memphis’

"Dusty In Memphis" came out in 1969.
"Dusty In Memphis" came out in 1969.

The Library of Congress hosts over 160 million books, manuscripts and photographs.

And every year,  the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress selects 25 pieces of sound, from its collection and beyond, that showcase America’s sound-rich heritage. The archive contains iconic clips of music, news, theater and sports.  

In this edition of “The Sounds Of America,” we hear one of this year’s selections: Dusty Springfield’s “Dusty In Memphis.”

Here’s a piece of the 1969 Rolling Stone review of the album:

There are three hits on this LP, and they are representative of the rest of it. “Son of a Preacher Man” is as down-home as Dusty gets; it has an intro that’s funky, a vocal that’s  almost dirty. The bass gives the song presence and Dusty doesn’t have to strain to carry it off. No one has topped her version of this yet and no one’s likely to. “Don’t Forget About Me” is to my ears the best cut here — it opens with a counterpoint between bass and vibrating guitar that’s tremendously exciting, and then Dusty enters, her voice almost like another instrument. The song picks up Gene Chrisman’s woodblock and the Sweet Inspirations and it’s a fast race home. Piano cues Reggie Young’s sizzling guitar (and it’s a crime that Atlantic mixed Young down from the version used on the single) toward the end, and it’s his show from then on. Better musicianship is not to be found, and I include Dusty as one of those musicians.

This series is produced by Ben Manilla and Jennie Cataldo for BMP Audio in association with the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. 

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