Dusty Springfield was one of those artists who could sing the phone book and make it listenable. She released over a dozen solo albums during the course of her career, which led to her induction in both the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and the U.K. Music Hall Of Fame.
The height of her creativity probably occurred during her time with the Atlantic Label during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Dusty In Memphis (1969) and A Brand New Day (1970) are the epitome of blue-eyed soul and rank among the best releases of their era.
A third album was planned for the label but due to the failure of two singles and tensions with the Atlantic hierarchy, it was never released. Now Real Gone Music has raided the Atlantic vaults and assembled the music that was supposed to have been issued 44 years ago under the title Faithful.
The use of producer Jeff Barry and label staff writers take the album in more of a pop direction than her previous two releases for the label. Two Bobby Bloom compositions lead the way. “Haunted” is a passionate love song after the fact and “Nothing Is Forever” is a classic ballad.
The one soul-oriented song that would have been right at home on her other releases is “I’ll Be Faithful,” which is a piano based southern R&B piece. “Love Shine Down” was a rare excursion into the world of gospel. Even rarer is “Natchez Trace,” which is an all-out rocker with a gritty vocal.
Two hits of the day receive very different treatments. “You’ve Got A Friend,” one of 14 Carole King compositions recorded by Springfield, is given a simple and traditional treatment. On the other hand, Bread’s “Make It With You” is reinvented as a walk on the sensual side.
Four decades after its recording, Faithful takes its rightful place in the Dusty Springfield pantheon of albums. One of the tragedies of her life was her death at the age of 59, just two weeks before her induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Faithful is a belated testament to one of the better singers of her generation.