Material and voice make an exquisite pairing in Shelby Lynne's visitation to the work of Dusty Springfield. Backed by bare-boned yet ample instrumentation, Lynne opts to play soul diva as Springfield did on the classic "Dusty in Memphis."

Material and voice make an exquisite pairing in Shelby Lynne’s visitation to the work of Dusty Springfield. Backed by bare-boned yet ample instrumentation, Lynne opts to play soul diva as Springfield did on the classic “Dusty in Memphis.” Hers is a grittier effort than its predecessor from four decades ago: Both singers reduced their ample range to squeeze their voices within the lyrics, yet clearly there’s a difference between a country-trained singer and a British pop star reveling in them same material

Changing times and mores equally affect the songs, penned by the likes of Bacharach & David, Randy Newman, Tony Joe White and the leaders of the Rascals. “Breakfast in Bed” and the title track, in particular, no longer possess the nudge-nudge wink sexuality that Springfield imbued them with. Lynne dives in with a sense of craving and exhaustion; her mornings follow nights of intense passion and her willingness to express desire only helps expand between-the-lines readings of these songs.

After a few listens the mind stops trying to find the strings and background singers of the originals and accepts these versions on their own. Album closes on a tender reading of “How Can I Be Sure,” the Rascals hit that Springfield gave a Vegas-via-Paris feel in 1970, rendered here with just Dean Parks’ acoustic guitar gently trailing Lynne’s supple vocals.

It’s a cohesive effort emboldened by one original, “Pretend,” a folk-infused plea for a lover’s attention. And in an era when sonic detail is given the short shrift, Phil Ramone and Al Schmitt have created a gem of a recording, its brilliance evident on the home stereo, in the car and on MP3.

Shelby Lynne - 'Just a Little Lovin''

Lost Highway
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