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Dusty Springfield: The Dusty Springfield Anthology

Album: The Dusty Springfield Anthology
Label: Mercury

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The strange odyssey of Dusty Springfield—from folk combo member, to Spector-inspired girl singer, to England's finest soul export, to forgotten diva, to Pet Shop Boys' favorite resurrected icon—receives its first full-fledged American retrospective with this three-disc collection. Though a superstar in England, Springfield is best known here for a handful of inescapable hit singles ("I Only Want To Be With You," "Wishin' And Hopin'") and a highly acclaimed, cultishly popular album (Dusty In Memphis). With a unique but often mishandled voice, Springfield carved out an identity for herself despite riding the tides of musical taste throughout her career. The bulk of her success—and the bulk of the material covered on this collection—came in the '60s, and the strength of the forgotten singles, album tracks, and U.K. sides is revealing. They also make overplayed hits sound fresh in context: Bookended by the impressive Goffin & King covers "Goin' Back" and "Little By Little," "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" never sounded so good. The lukewarm third disc may provide more Dusty Springfield than anyone needs, but its '70s and '80s material completes things historically, and the Pet Shop Boys-produced singles suggest that she could have been, and may still be, a better fit in the contemporary music scene than suspected. A strong collection, The Dusty Springfield Anthology should satisfy multiple generations of fans.