Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Dusty Springfield: Dusty Springfield's Greatest Hits [Mercury, 1984]
I find it hard to be objective about the woman who in 1969 joined Jerry Wexler to make one of my favorite--hell, one of the greatest albums of all time: Dusty in Memphis, pop with strings on top, good old boys below, and the most exquisite material of a class act's career in between. Springfield's only rival was and is Dionne Warwick, but Warwick has Bacharach-David in her karass while Dust was stuck with Ivor Raymonde. This mid-60's hits compilation could be a lot better: it predates the definitive "The Look of Love" and bypasses inspired filler like "Mama Said" and "Do Re Mi" for the hideously orchestrated schlock she spent her biggest years transcending. Yet though she never belted like she crooned, she put so much heart, soul, and mind into her big ballads that most of the time you can ignore the kettle drums. I only wish I could hear what Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin--and Dusty--would have made of "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me." B+