Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Dusty Springfield: It Begins Again [United Artists, 1978]
Roy Thomas Baker has encouraged Dusty's breathiness and then had the good manners not to suffocate it in the orchestral mix, and I'm grateful; I could listen to her sing tracking charts when she exhales that way. But the sad truth is that Baker has given her only a couple of strong ballads, the fluky treasures from Chi Coltrane and Barry Manilow that open each side, and so the fast numbers, never her forte, sound like filler. Next time, Baker should look beyond the pop pros for material like, say, "Small Town Talk," "Makin' Love Don't Always Make Love Grow," "I Can't Stand the Rain." And he should make sure there's a next time. B